An Unnecessarily Exhaustive Guide To The Euroleague Final Eight
March 24th, 2011

In terms of the calibre of non-international competitive basketball, the Euroleague is second in the world only to the NBA. That is to say, of all the leagues in the world not to excessively overuse snippets of Busta Rhymes songs, or turn nightly to the tortured genius of Kiss Cam, the Euroleague is the best. If you love basketball, you’ll love watching the Euroleague. If you love basketball and yet have never watched the Euroleague, you haven’t tried hard enough. The first two group stages have been complete, and now the eight strongest teams enter a playoff-style format or head-to-head series. Ergo, continuing a series of posts that take fleeting glances at every worthwhile current player in the world today – the loose theme of which is ‘Why spend all that time watching it all just to never write about any of it?’ – there follows a look at the compelling protagonists of the final eight teams in this Euroleague season. Teams list in no order other than alphabetical. Juan Carlos’s time in Memphis wasn’t all this happy. Barcelona As ever, Barcelona are absolutely stacked. They have three options at every position, populated almost exclusively with players who will be, who were, who could be, or who could have been, NBA players. To put that into some context, they have seven former NBA draft picks on the team, and two more players who played in it as undrafted free agents. That list doesn’t even include Jaka Lakovic, a high quality European guard, or Joe Ingles, a man who almost got drafted as recently as 18 months ago. There’s just reams of talent at every position, and the talent assault is relentless. The starting backcourt consistently consists of Ricky Rubio and Juan Carlos Navarro. Navarro has lost nothing; his assault of […]

Posted by at 8:31 AM

Mike Hall Wants You To Know That Things Are Different In Europe
February 3rd, 2011

Do a Google image search for “mike hall.” The third and fourteenth results are hilarious. Former George Washington forward Mike Hall has played the majority of his professional career in Italy. After going undrafted in 2006, Hall caught on with the Washington Wizards for training camp, and joined the D-League upon being released, angling for a midseason call-up. The strategy worked; the Wizards called up Hall to a ten day contract in late February 2007, retained him for a second one, and then signed him for the remainder of the season. This eventually became an 8 month stay; the team extended Hall a qualifying offer the following summer, which he accepted, and was eventually the team’s last cut in 2007 preseason. Hall played only 2 games and 13 minutes with the Wizards, and has not returned to the NBA since that time, yet his lengthy try-out showed him one side of the coin. In the four years hence, Hall has been witnessing the other. After spending the whole 2007-08 season in the D-League, angling for another call-up that never came, Hall left for Italy in the summer of 2008, and spent two full seasons with perennial Serie A contender and Euroleague team AJ Milano. Hall left Milano this summer, but stayed in Italy and moved a few hundred miles south to Teramo, where he joined a rebuilding Banca Tercas team. He was released in December, however, and returned to American shores to play for the D-League’s Dakota Wizards. This week, Hall left the D-League to return to Europe, joining struggling Turkish team Erdemir as a replacement for former UNLV forward Dalron Johnson, who moved to Israeli side Maccabi Ashdod. His brief American recrudescence gave way to the need and/or desire for better paid work; the relative comforts and security of […]

Posted by at 5:40 PM