UConn in Europe: Jerome Dyson and Marcus Williams

euroleague.net

euroleague.net

Marcus Williams

Club: Crvena Zvezda Telekom

Location: Belgrade, Serbia

Leagues: Adriactic League, EuroLeague

Marcus Williams is enjoying a great year taking over for DeMarcus Nelson (Duke) as point guard for Crvena Zvezda, a Serbian team competing in both the Adriatic League (ABA) and Euroleague (top level in Europe). The ABA is a regional professional league that features clubs from the former Yugoslavia including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia as well as Israel and Hungary. The league was founded in the years after the Yugoslav Wars and has featured American players such as Adam Morrison (Gonzaga), Jordan Farmar (UCLA) and Scoonie Penn (Ohio State). Williams has partnered this season with 2011 Golden State Warrior’s draft pick Charles Jenkins to lead Zvezda to a perfect 8-0 record, good for first in the ABA. Always a pass first point guard, Williams’ 6.8 APG are good for fourth in the league. Here’s a look at his complete stat line:

ADRIATIC G MIN FG-FGA FG% 3PM-A 3P% REB AS PTS EFF
M. Williams 8 22.5 13-39 33% 16-36 44% 2.4 6.8 10.5 10.8

As one of the premier clubs in European basketball, Zvezda also competes in Group D of the Euroleague, which, as I mentioned earlier, is the equivalent to the European NBA. The Euroleague regular season runs from October 16th to December 19th, with 24 teams divided into 4 groups (A, B, C, D). Each team plays 10 games within the group, in a round robin format, with the top four teams from each group advancing to the Top 16. The Top 16 divides clubs into two additional 8 club groups (E, F), where teams play a 14 game round robin season spanning December 30th, 2014 to April 10th, 2015. The top 4 teams from Groups E and F then advance to a best-of-five series with the series winners advancing to the Final Four. The 2015 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four will be held in Madrid, Spain from May 15th to 17th on a single elimination basis. Also competing in the Euroleague for UConn this season is Jerome Dyson (Banco di Sardegna, Italy, Group A) and Niels Giffey (ALBA Berlin, Germany, Group B).

Currently, Zvezda sits at #2 in Group D with a record of 3-3. Williams has put together an impressive season thus far, setting a Euroleague record with 17 assists in his last outing. Overall, his 8.0 APG lead the league through six games. Here is a complete statline below:

EURO G MIN FG-FGA FG% 3PM-A 3P% REB AS PTS EFF
M. Williams 6 30 13-38 34% 13-43 30% 4.2 8.0 13.5 14.7

Euroleague Assist of the Night:

Marcus Williams Zvezda Highlights:

 

Jerome Dyson

Club: Dinamo Banco Di Sardegna Sassari

Location: Sardinia, Italy

Leagues: Lega Basket A, EuroLeague

euroleague.net

euroleague.net

 

Jerome Dyson comes to Sassari after one year with Enel Brindisi of the Italian National League (Lega Basket A) and has made an immediate impact. Dyson was named MVP of the Italian SuperCup, a yearly preseason competition that takes place between winners of the Italian Championship and Italian Cup from the previous year. It comes as no surprise Sassari is a great fit for Dyson- the team’s offensive philosophy is similar to Coach Calhoun’s at UConn, a run and gun that emphasizes getting out in transition and pushing the tempo. Dyson, along with Edgar Sosa (Louisville), Rakim Sanders (BC/Fairfield) and Jeff Brooks (Penn State) have led Sassari to a 5-1 record, good for second in a league widely considered one of the best in Europe. A quick search through the rosters seems to support this claim as former Big East stars Austin Freeman (Georgetown), Allan Ray (Villanova), Samardo Samuels (Louisville), Sam Young (Pittsburgh), MarShon Brooks (Providence) and Darius Johnson-Odom (Marquette) all participate. True to his UConn days, Dyson is first in the league with 2.7 steals per game. Here is a complete stat line below:

ITALY A G MIN FG-FGA FG% 3PM-A 3P% REB AS ST PTS EFF
J. Dyson 6 28.7 14-32 44% 11-33 33% 3.2 4.8 2.7 14.7 16.8

Following a 2013-14 campaign that saw Sassari win the coveted Italian Cup, the club earned a chance to compete in the Euroleague. The adjustment has been difficult as Sassari currently sits in last place in Group A with a record of 1-5, a group that includes European powerhouse Real Madrid. The team struggles have not  stopped Dyson’s individual performance however, as he continues to fill up the box score on a nightly basis. Here is a complete Euroleague statline:

EURO G MIN FG-FGA FG% 3PM-A 3P% REB AS ST PTS EFF
J. Dyson 5 29 15-37 41% 12-29 41% 3.0 3.8 2.0 14.4 9.0

Dyson interview on Euroleague Media Day:

Highlights from 2013/14 season (low quality):

CHECK BACK NEXT WEEK FOR AN UPDATE ON NIELS GIFFEY / ENOSCH WOLF…

 

 

 

RIP BIG EAST AS WE KNOW IT

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Madison Square Garden. 33rd and 7th. New York, New York. The World’s Most Famous Arena. The Mecca. The Garden. Home to the Big East Tournament featuring perennial powers: Creighton, Butler, and Xavier. No, that is not a typo and yes, this is what it has come to. I couldn’t help feeling angry and even a little ripped off last night watching the Georgetown-DePaul first round game while UCONN waits 1,000 miles away in Memphis. Coinciding with my March 10th birthday it’s no surprise that tickets to the Big East Tournament topped my birthday list each year. Beginning in 2003 with a quarterfinals matchup against Seton Hall and ending in the magic that was “5 Games in 5 Days”, this is what nine straight years of Big East Basketball at Madison Square Garden meant to me:

You step off 7th Ave, out of the concrete jungle into a different type of jungle. In this jungle, the Husky is at the top of the food chain. You are greeted by chants of marching bands and cheerleaders leading their respective fight songs in unison. If you time it right, you walk in just as the UCONN fight song begins, making quite the entrance.
You pray your scalped ticket scans and start brainstorming backstories if it doesn’t. It scans, you’re in. Spiraling upward you take escalator after escalator passing Boston College, St. John’s and even a few Seton Hall fans- not caring who they are, just knowing you don’t like them. You catch a glimpse of orange in your peripheral and immediately cringe, hoping its a carrot. It’s not. It’s an orange. Any other time of year you like oranges. Oranges are sweet and juicy, but not March oranges. March oranges are sour. Sour from defeat you assume but you can’t be sure.
You take your seat. Rutgers scarlet to your left, Virginia Tech maroon to your right. You breathe a sigh of relief, they won’t give you much hassle. They CAN’T give you much hassle. You are UCONN, they are afraid and they should be. You briefly consider hassling them but quickly drop the notion, besides, you are with your family. The national anthem plays, the game has begun. You want to cheer as loud as possible after another turnover vs West Virginia, however, as a seasoned vet you know to save your voice for the inevitable date with Pittsburgh. Rival fans tire at another Taliek assist, Gordon three, Okafor block or Kemba step back but you do not, in fact, you could watch six overtimes worth.
The buzzer sounds. You live another day. As you take the escalator down you see fans of all colors. Losers avert your glare but tomorrows opponent meets your stare with a similar confidence. Not for long, you think. You exit the turnstiles into the City that Never Sleeps and a new challenge: waking up for tomorrows game.
On this night, the city is yours.