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.
I wrote a piece back in September on Australian stretch-four David Andersen, and delved into where he may eventually land. Well the season is now more than a month old and he is still nowhere to be seen. His Twitter account has been inactive, his website no longer exists and there have been no rumours and no news. One may think that he has simply disappeared off the face of the Earth.
Yes he is 33 and is now in the twilight of his career but he was fit, healthy and one would argue that the 6'11" big man with the sweet stroke has still got plenty to offer. He has been one of the most successful big men in Europe over the past decade, and more recently played really well with the Australian national team in their FIBA Oceania series win over New Zealand. Surely a player of his calibre with a long history of winning can find a team? Love to receive some reader feedback as to where in the world is David Andersen?
Here is a brief summary on some of the European and Asian action over the past week involving the Aussie contingent.
Once again leading the way in the top-league in Europe was Joe Ingles. Ingles played an important role in helping guide Maccabi Tel-Aviv to their third straight win, and this time on the road against Lietuvos Rytas. The contest went right down to the wire, with the Israeli's nudging ahead with less than 4 seconds to go before holding on for a 76-74 win. Displaying his all-round game, Ingles scored 8 points to go along with 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 1 steal in 36 minutes. Maccabi Tel-Aviv now improve to 3-1 on the season in equal first place in Group D, and next take on Panathinaikos.
Lokomotiv Kuban travelled to Greece to take on Panathinaikos, however Aleks Maric never had a chance to suit up against his old team. Despite this, the Russians earned a thrilling 72-69 win, with Simon nailing a triple at the buzzer. Maric apears to be injured as he also did not suit up in Lokomotiv Kuban's 53-66 loss to Unics Kazan in the VTB United League.
David Barlow and Stelmet Zielona Gora took on Galatasaray minus the out of action Nathan Jawai in Istanbul and came up agonizingly short 75-78. Barlow however never really had a chance to shine, and saw little action in going scoreless in 6 minutes. Stelmet Zielona Gora have just 1 win from three games and next face undefeated Olympiacos, whilst Galatasaray have a 2-2 record and are now mid-table in Group C ahead of their clash with Laboral Kutxa.
Kickert was once again the star as he led Azovmash to an 80-73 win over Cherkasy in Ukraine. The big forward scored a game-high 18 points on a hot 7/9 shooting which included a perfect 2/2 from long-range. For good measure, he also added 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals as Azovmash improve to 4-1 in the national league with their prized Australian 4th in the league in scoring with 19.2 points per game.
Unfortunately for Azovmash and Kickert they did drop their VTB United League game to Tsmoki-Minsk 67-74. The Belarusians did their homework and shut down Kickert, limiting him to just 3 points and just 4 shots for the game. He did however manage to pull down 3 rebounds and dish out 5 assists, but he demonstrated his frustration through giving away 6 turnovers. To date this is his only blemish on what had up until then been a remarkable season.
Sticking with the VTB United League, Anatoly Bose (Kolesnikov) was given an opportunity in a big 88-103 loss to Krasny Oktyabr. Bose made the most of his 15 minutes on court by posting 10 points in on 3/3 shooting (4/5 FT) alongside 2 rebounds and 1 steal. His Kazakhstani team now moves to a 2-3 record and is in the lower half of the table.
It is a different story his the Kazakhstan national league however, with BC Astana thrashing Kaspiy Aktau 100-57 and 83-65 in back-to-back games. In doing so they extended their unbeaten run to 6-0. Bose had 9 and 12 points respectively in those two big wins.
Moving onto what is arguably the strongest national league in Europe, Brad Newley's Gran Canaria continued its unbeaten start to the Spanish ACB season by accounting for lowly Estudiantes 75-63. Newley again played an important role coming off the bench by scoring 12 points on 5/7 shooting in 20 minutes. He is averaging 9 points and 1.4 steals per game over their first 5 games whilst shooting 50% from the field but only 25% from beyond the arc. This coming weekend in a battle of undefeated teams, Gran Canaria take on the might of Real Madrid and should be one to look out for.
Brock Motum continued his great start to his professional career by scoring 8 points in 30 minutes in Virtus Bologna's 79-71 win over Milan. The Aussie sharp-shooting forward has now cemented a starting role and maintained his 9.2 points per game scoring average as his team sits in equal first position in the Italian Serie A with a 4-1 record.
Besiktas managed to record a solid 87-69 win over Trabzonspor in the Turkish national league. European rookie Ryan Broekhoff saw little action, scoring 2 points in 6 minutes off the bench to boost their record to 2-3 and move into the middle of the table ahead of their next game against Usak.
Besiktas also has played two EuroCup games this past week, earning wins over Greek side Panionios (71-57) and Radnicki Kragujevac (77-70). Against the Greek's, Broekhoff saw 17 minutes but went scoreless on a single field goal attempt but had 3 rebounds. However against the Serbian's, Broekhoff broke out for 12 points on 3/5 shooting including 1/3 from beyond the arc and a perfect 5/5 from the line. He also racked up 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks in 26 minutes. The Turkish side now moves into clear first position ion Group H with a 4-1 record with high expectations for progressing even further.
In Israel, Joe Ingles played the distributor in a close 78-75 win over Bnei Hertzeliyya. Whilst he only scored 4 points, he did manage to rack up 2 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals in just 24 minutes. In earning the win, Maccabi Tel-Aviv improved to 3-2 on the season and move ahead of Bnei in the standings.
Over in Poland, Stelmet Zielona Gora took care of business in defeating Rosa Radom 87-57. David Barlow did not see any action in this game.
So who was my player of the week? Well it was a tough call as Kickert had a blinder but also a near bagel. Ingles was solid without being spectacular in his two wins, whilst Newley and even Motum warrant some discussion for their solid performances. I'm sitting on the fence this week and calling it too even to pick a standout. Who was your Aussie player of the past week?