Damian Arsenis takes a quick look back over the European and Asian basketball action over the past week and provides coverage on the Australians in action.
Australia is well represented in the European and Asian leagues this season and there have been some great highs but also some lows so far in what is relaly early days. However nobody has epitomized this more than Nathan Jawai.
Jawai was riding a high with Turkish powerhouse club Galatasaray; he had just scored a game-high 22 points in nearly single-handedly dragging his team to a Euroleague win over Greek giants Olympiacos. Many pundits regarded his performance as arguably his best in Europe to date. Not long after the game he found himself in hospital with a neck injury following a knock he sustained during the game. Whilst he is thankfully out of serious danger, he is however now facing up to 6 months on the sidelines. It is a devastating blow to the imposing center that has battled injury and fitness issues throughout his career. One can only hope that he can find a will and a way to come back fit and healthy to realise the talent and utilise the gifts that he has been provided.
Here is a brief summary on some of the European and Asian action over the past week involving the Aussie contingent.
In Euroleague action, Joe Ingles and Maccabi Tel-Aviv went on the road and inflicted a first defeat on Aleks Maric and Lokomotiv Kuban. Ingles was the standout performer in the game with a sublime all-round display as he racked up his first ever Euroleague double-double. He was at his efficient best, scoring 14 points on 4/7 shooting (1/4 3PT, 5/5 FT) to go with 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 steal in 37 minutes, guiding his team to a 73-58 win. Maric who started for the host team, managed to record 7 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks before fouling out in 23 minutes. The win catapults Maccabi into first place in Group D but with the same record as Lokomotiv and two other teams.
David Barlow is experiencing his first season in Euroleague competition with Polish champions Stelmet Zielona Gora, and last week he celebrated his club’s first ever Euroleague win. Barlow helped his team to a 73-65 triumph over Italian side Montepaschi Siena, scoring 7 points in 23 minutes off the bench. His team now moves to a 1-2 record and maintains their slim hopes of progressing to the next stage.
In Israel, Ingles backed up his fine Euroleague form by leading Maccabi Tel-Aviv to 85-74 win over Gilboa/Galil Elion. Ingles went close to another double-double, this time scoring 11 points but racking up 8 assists and 4 rebounds. Ingles has been in great form as he relishes more responsibility at his new club, and currently leads his team in scoring with 12.3 points per game.
Whilst Ingles has had a great start to the season, arguably nobody is hotter than Daniel Kickert right now. Kickert is currently averaging 20 points per game in Ukraine for Azovmash but also 14 points a game in the VTB United League. He recently scorched DniproAzot on his way to a game-high 19 points to go with 9 rebounds in a 69-60 victory in Ukraine. He also had a team-benchmark of 16 points with 7 rebounds in their VTB United League win over BC Astana. Anatoly Bose (Kalesnikov) who is on the BC Astana roster recorded 5 points and 3 rebounds in their loss.
Brad Newley must be loving his Spanish adventures right now, playing an integral role in helping Gran Canaria to a perfect 4-0 start to the national league competition in averaging 8.3 points per game. Their most recent encounter was a 79-61 victory over CB Canarias in which Newley had 7 points despite shooting poorly. He still managed 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals to contribute as a starter and ensure his team is rubbing shoulders with Spanish superpowers FC Barcelona and Real Madrid at the top of the Spanish ACB table.
European rookie Brock Motum started in 2 games over the past week for Italian club Virtus Bologna and has beeing experiencing the highs and lows of being a professional. He scored just 1 point in 15 minutes in a 65-89 crushing loss to Euroleague club Montepaschi Siena. However he bounced back in fine fashion in scoring 15 points on 6/9 shooting alongside 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in a 96-73 win over lowly Montegranaro. His team is in equal first place in the Italian Serie A and Motum is averaging a respectable 9.5 points per game over 4 games to start the season.
Fellow rookie professional Ryan Broekhoff stepped out for 15 minutes of action in Turkey for Besiktas in their loss to Karsiyaka, with the small forward scoring 7 points alongside 4 rebounds and an assist. Broekhoff has seen little court time in the Turkish league up until this outing, but he has been seeing more time on the hardwood in the EuroCup where he is averaging 6.3 points per game and shooting 44% from beyond the arc. ?This was evidenced through his efficient 8 points to go with 4 rebounds in Besiktas’ nail-biting 61-60 win over Nilan Bisons in their EuroCup win in the past week.
Who was your Aussie player of the past week? Was it Ingles or Kickert? For mine, the chocolates go to Joe Ingles who did his business at the highest level in Europe, with Kickert a close second.