It was a mixed yet exciting week for the Aussie men in Europe, with players struggling to find their form from deep. Whilst one Aussie was named an All-Star in Turkey, another recorded a triple-double to lead his team to a win.
It was a big week for Ryan Broekhoff, with the Besiktas Integral Forex sharpshooter being voted into the European team for the Turkish Basketball League All-Star game. Broekhoff was recognised by the fans for his superb domestic season to date; in 15 games he is averaging 10.5 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game whilst shooting 47.3% from the field and a staggering 45.3% from 3-point range.
In the All-Star game it was Broekhoff’s Team Europe that was victorious over Team Asia 138-130 in an entertaining game. Broekhoff scored 5 points with 2 rebounds and 2 assists in the match and will look to build on the momentum created by being recognised as one of the league’s best players.
The resumption of the Romanian league in 2015 saw Daniel Dillon produce one of his best performances for the season. The former NBL player filled up the box score, recording a rare triple-double with an impressive line of 14 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists. It could not have been more timely, as his outstanding display came against rival and second ranked team Ploiesti.
Dillon lifted CSM Oradea to a 101-100 victory in a tense encounter. He set up his teammates throughout the game with great success and looked to get to the rim and draw the foul. Dillon was rewarded and went a perfect 8/8 at the line, although at times in the match, he pushed too hard on offense and it showed as he ended up with 5 turnovers. This was a theme for CSM Oradea with the team turning the rock over 21 times compared to 5 turnovers for Ploiesti. However CSM Oradea made up for it on the glass as they dominated Ploiesti, outrebounding the hosts 43-19. The win moved CSM Oradea into 4th place and with a strong 9-5 record.
In France it was a tough day for ASVEL Lyon Villeurbanne, going down 76-65 on the road to second ranked JSF Nanterre. Yet again, the role of David Andersen was limited, with the Boomer playing just 20 minutes and contributing 9 point and 5 rebounds. ASVEL struggled to keep up a consistent effort and intensity on both ends of the court. Whilst their best was very good, their worst was also very bad. The consistency is missing in their game from play to play and this reflects their standing in the league, sitting down in 11th position with an 8-9 record.
In the Spanish ACB, CAI Zaragoza came out on top 76-61 in their match against 14th ranked Gipuzkoa. It was not Chris Goulding’s night, with the guard scoring 2 points and collecting 2 rebounds in 23 minutes.
Goulding went 1/4 from the field and struggled to impact the play against weak opposition. However Zaragoza as whole had a very solid shooting night as they shot 51% from the field whilst restricting their opposition to 37% from the floor. The defensive pressure of Zaragoza forced Gipuzkoa into many sporadic and poor decisions. Zaragoza have now moved into 8th position on the back of their strong performance and tied with three other teams on 10 wins. On another positive note, Zaragoza have now qualified for the Copa Del Ray and will join Brad Newley’s Herbalife Gran Canaria who are hosts of the tournament.
AJ Ogilvy has finally returned from injury and was back in action for Spanish side La Bruixa D’or Manresa. In his return outing, Ogilvy was serviceable with 9 points, 3 rebounds and 1 block in 18 minutes. He showed a little rust, however the former Sydney Kings center showed signs that he will be back to full form in no time.
Despite Ogilvy’s return, it was not all good news with Manresa going down to the formidable Real Madrid 66-83. Both teams shot poorly from distance and it was Real Madrid’s quality of play in the paint that was the difference. Real Madrid scored 58 points in the paint compared to just 34 for Manresa and that combined with Madrid’s superior rebounding was too much to handle for the hosts. The result was not a surprise as both teams are at opposite ends of the table and Manresa now sits in second last position with just 4 wins and 13 losses.
Still in Spain, Brad Newley experienced an increasingly rare cold shooting night for Herbalife Gran Canaria. The Boomer shot 3/10 from the field and 1/6 from behind the arc. However he still managed to compile 11 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists in 25 minutes as Gran Canaria ran out victors 79-63 on the road against Estudiantes.
Gran Canaria were superior in shooting and moving the ball for the majority of the game, however it was not until the fourth quarter that Newley’s team really asserted their dominance. This can also be put down to the lack of effort in the first half, as the players acknowledged how flat they were on defence in the first half, yet they managed to pick up their intensity greatly in the second half. Though Newley had a poor shooting night, his Gran Canaria teammates shot a combined 50% from downtown. If Gran Canaria can put together a full match, they will surely challenge second placed Real Madrid in their next game at home.
Rounding out the Aussies in Spain for the week was Nate Jawai whose Morabanc Andorra was defeated 56-71 by perennial powerhouse FC Barcelona. Jawai contributed 5 points and 4 rebounds in 15 minutes in the loss.
Jawai will certainly need to be more assertive on the court in the coming matches so as to press his claims for increased minutes. Andorra was sloppy with the ball and turned it over 17 times. This combined with Andorra shooting an abysmal 4/25 from 3-point range led to an easy victory for the talented Barcelona. With 5 wins and 12 losses, there is a lot of work to be done for Andorra and the season will be a tough battle from here on.
In Slovenia, Majok Majok got the start for KK Helios Domzale in a thrilling two point loss to Tajfun Sentjur. Domzale went down 75-77 to the undefeated Tajfun Sentjur and displayed flashes of brilliance as they kept the league leaders honest throughout the match. Were it not for their final quarter slump, Domzale would have been the victors.
The league leaders however found a way to grind out a valuable win even when playing well below their best basketball. Majok performed well against quality opposition with 8 points, 9 rebounds and 1 block in just 26 minutes. This is the level of play expected of Majok and should he continue to grab rebounds and score within the offense, he will be a valuable asset for Domzale as the season progresses.
Rounding out this week’s update, Daniel Johnson has parted ways with Stelmet Zielona Gora after both parties came to a mutual agreement. Johnson was struggling for minutes under a new coach and new playing style. In his final match, Johnson played 8 minutes and contributed just 1 assist in an 84-76 victory over Wikana Start. He is expected back in Australia and speculation is mounting that he is likely to sign with the Adelaide 36ers in the NBL.