The basketball news rounded up in one article. From the big news in the NBA, to the Euroleague, the goings-on domestically and even the unusual happenings, we got you covered.
KOBE COULD FEATURE THIS FRIDAY
So those rumours that Kobe Bryant would make his first appearance of the season when the Los Angeles Lakers face the world, sorry NBA champions the Miami Heat on Christmas Day might not be true now.
Seems that Kobe wants to warm up for LeBron and company a little early.
Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com reports that Kobe’s return could come as early as Friday when the Lakers travel the Sacramento to face the Kings. Coach Mike D’Antoni has also said that it is possible.
“I don’t want to anticipate anything,” D’Antoni said after practice Saturday. “Those are days that he can work and see, re-evaluate how he feels after the three days and then make a decision going forward.
“That doesn’t mean he will play Friday, doesn’t mean he won’t. But that’s the time you just evaluate, and I can’t tell you what type of evaluation that will be.”
Bryant has been out with a torn Achilles tendon since April 12 and already questions are being said that this could be too soon for him to return.
But as we already know, nobody knows Kobe Bryant like … Kobe Bryant.
WE’LL GIVE YOU WHAT YOU WANT
It’s doing the rounds so we’ll add it to this weekly feature. Currently doing the rounds and racking up the YouTube hits: Russell Westbrook’s game-winner against the Golden State Warriors. You’re welcome.
A VERBAL ALTERCATION IN PARADISE
In the NCAA now and UTEP coach Tim Floyd and USC coach Andy Enfield were involved in a verbal altercation pre-tournament reception at the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas, according to ESPN.
Enfield said that he was reaching out to Floyd, who had previously coached USC from 2005 to 2009. Things didn’t work out that way though.
On Thursday night, Floyd appeared unlikely to accept any apology but said he was moving on.
“I don’t see any reason why we’d talk [in the future],” he said. “It’s over with, that’s for sure.”
How did this all come about? The feud began in April; with Floyd calling Enfield because he thought USC was tampering with UTEP recruit Isaac Hamilton. This all escalated further when Enfield criticised Floyd in a Men’s Journal article that was released last week.
“Tim Floyd shows up every day at work and realizes he lives in El Paso, Texas,” Enfield told the publication.
“And he’s pissed off that he didn’t get the USC job two months ago. I told him, ‘Tim, if I could have all this power to somehow convince a family to do this, why the heck didn’t the kid come last spring, when I first got the job?’ “
Floyd then responded on Thursday by saying: “I damned sure didn’t appreciate the comments that he made last week publicly about the city of El Paso, Texas, where my grandparents were born and raised, where my father was born and raised and played at Texas Western, and where I lived 22 years of my life,” Floyd said Thursday. It’s a fabulous city, and my reaction yesterday was more about the city of El Paso than the previous part.
“As far as him saying he was just trying to apologize yesterday, it would’ve been really nice if he had apologized three weeks ago when that magazine article came out. His timing wasn’t very good.”
Enfield has since apologised and wants to move on from the incident.
SPANOULIS WINS ANOTHER AWARD
Olympiacos guard and reigning Euroleague MVP plus the Final Four MVP Vassilis Spanoulis has another award to stick on his mantle in Athens.
Spanoulis was honoured before Olympiacos’ Euroleague game with Galatasaray with the ‘Giuseppe Sciacca Award’, an international prize which recognizes people between 18 and 35 years old who, in their lives or in their fields of activity, have distinguished themselves as commendable role models in society and provide an example for future generations.
This year’s was the 12th edition of the awards, which recognise honorees in nine different disciplines, in addition to two special awards. The awards are sponsored by the Vatican, where a ceremony was held earlier this week that Spanoulis attended by video-conference.
The award was presented to Spanoulis by Greek film director Giannis Smaragdis and General Secretary of the awards Vicky Bafaki.
“This is a special night for me because of the award I have been honored with,” Spanoulis said. “I feel thrilled for the trophy and the good words I heard about myself, but I am also very proud for the principles I got from my family. I am following this path in my personal life and in my professional career in basketball. This award represents Olympiacos and the whole country.”
GIVE ZDOVC TIME
New Gaziantep coach Jure Zdovc’s first game in charge ended with a 79-69 loss to Galatasaray and already he has asked for more time.
He said: “We faced a team which is coming after a Euroleague loss. Even though they have some injuries, Galatasaray is a strong team. This is a tough loss for us. I wanted my players to come here, and grab a win. Unfortunately, we couldn’t manage it. I don’t know exactly what to expect from my team, I just don’t know my players very well.”
Slovenia is still hopeful he’ll make a comeback to the national team, right?
EUROBASKET WOMEN QUALIFYING DRAW ANNOUNCED
The draw for the Eurobasket Women Qualifiers were made on Sunday.
The road to Eurobasket Women 2015, to be staged in Hungary and Romania will begin when the qualifiers begin in June with the game dates on the 8th, 11th, 15th, 18th, 22nd and 25th June.
Group A: Poland, Slovenia, Luxembourg and Slovak Republic
Group B: Great Britain, Belgium, Lithuania and FYR of Macedonia
Group C: Italy, Latvia, Estonia and Portugal
Group D: Montenegro, Ukraine, Germany and Finland
Group E: Sweden, Russia and Netherlands
Group F: Croatia, Bulgaria and Israel
The top two qualify from each group with the Eurobasket Women taking place in 2015.
PASHUTIN TAKES CHARGE OF RUSSIA
The Russian Basketball Federation have announced that Lokomotiv Kuban coach Evgeny Pashutin will take the reigns of the national team.
Pashutin, who led CSKA Moscow to a Euroleague Final Four in 2010, will take over from Vasiliy Karasev who took charge of Russia at the last minute for Eurobasket last summer in Slovenia following the departure of Fotis Katsikaris.
“Becoming the head coach of Russia is a huge honour,” Pashutin said at a press conference in Moscow on Friday.
“This job is not entirely new to me, after all I have coached the youth national teams and was an assistant coach on the senior team.
“[This post] of course means increased responsibility compared to those roles, but that does not bother me, on the contrary it provides a huge incentive to work.”
Karasev will retain his post as head coach of the Russian national second team.
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