Monday, March 31, 2008

Ekene Ibekwe Signs in France

Ekene Ibekwe (2003-07) has signed with Besancon Basket Comte Doubs of the French Pro-B league. Here is Besancon's press release about the signing (translation). Excerpted from their story:
Sylvain LautiƩ wanted to quickly find a player to replace Adam Waleskowski, who will be out with an injury for at least 8 weeks; he has done that with the arrival of Nigerian Ekene Ibekwe (2.06m, 100 kg, 22 years). This young Nigerian international player out of the American University of Maryland previously played in Israel for Gilboa (11 games, 18 min, 61% shooting, 5.3 rbds, against 1.1 and 11.3 pts). He is an athletic player, and he presents an interior and defensive profile similar to Waleskowski. Ibekwe left hurriedly from Israel following an incident with residents of Gliboa who allegedly threatened him.

So that's an interesting nugget at the end about Ekene leaving Israel due to threats from area residents. I can't find much more about the details of this. The Besancon press release's reference link takes you to Eurobasket, which only notes:
(Market News, Feb. 12, 2008) - Nigerian forward Ekene Ibekwe (206-F-85, college: Maryland) decided to leave Gilboa/Afula without notice after an off-court incident with locals which scared him, and made him leave the country immediately.

The Besancon team site also links to this video of Ibekwe playing for the Nigerian national team and dunking on Dirk Nowitzki during the 2006 FIBA world championships:

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Terrence Morris Advances in Euroleague Tournament

Good news for all of you who had Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv in your Euroleague brackets: Terence Morris's (1997-2001) team has moved on to the quarterfinal round.

Maccabi Elite qualified to move on last week, beating Real Madrid. Morris was the star of the game with this fantastic box score line: 23 points (including 4-for-5 on 3-pointers), 13 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 blocks.

Terence appears in this video of the Top 10 Plays from week 5. He's the #4 play, at 1:40 in. And even though they're not Maryland players, be sure to watch the #3 and #1 plays in the video too... unbelievable shots:

Maccabi Elite secured first place in Group F with a big win against Zalgiris in week 6. Terence had 11 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 blocks. He's at #9 in this video of week 6 Top 10 plays (starting at 0:15):

(Updated 3/31: Maccabi Elite will play AXA FC Barcelona in a best-of-three quarterfinal series beginning April 1.)

In Group D, Sarunas Jasikevicius's (1994-98) run in the tournament is over, as his team, Panathinaikos, lost their final game to Partizen Igokea, despite 20 points from Sarunas. They had won in week 5, edging group winner Montepaschi Siena (Sarunas: 12 points, 5 assists). Panathinaikos, who was the defending champion of this tournament, finished in 3rd place (2-4) in their group.

On a bright note for Sarunas, he was named as one of Europe's Top 50 Contributers in the past 50 years, as part of the 50th anniversary of European Club basketball. Here is the write-up about him.

Ryan Randle Wins FIBA Europe Dunk Contest

Ryan Randle (2001-03) won the slam dunk contest at the FIBA Europe All-Star Game:
Ryan Randle made a cameo appearance at the 2007 All Star Game to win the slam dunk contest. [...]

Although not an experienced dunk contest competitor, Randle was happy for the chance to be involved in the All Star experience.

"This is the second dunk contest I have participated in. They asked me if I wanted to participate in the All Star game and I said sure, I get a free jersey so I’m cool."

The picture is from the FIBA Europe main page.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Chris Wilcox Can Dunk

This post has no news. Unless you consider it news that Chris Wilcox (2000-02) performed the following dunk last week:

Thank you for your attention.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Euroleauge Tournament Continues

The Euroleague Championships are rolling on without Drew Nicholas (1999-2003). Nicholas's former team, Efes Pilsen, lost its rematch with Sarunas Jasikevicius's (1994-98) Panathinaikos, though Sarunas only had 3 points and 3 assists. Sarunas scored 16 points in last week's loss, so he and Panathinaikos are now 2-2 with 2 games to go in this round.

Terence Morris (1997-2001) and Maccabi Elite won a big game against previously undefeated Real Madrid last week. Morris had 16 points, 15 rebounds, and 2 blocks. But his team followed up the big win with a shocking loss at home (Morris: 15 points, 10 rebounds), so they are still stuck in the middle of the pack at 2-2 in their group.

Terence Morris was the co-MVP of Week 3 (when his team upset Real Madrid). His highlights start around 30 seconds into this video:

Lastly, the Frederick News-Post has a short article about Terence's success in Israel this week.

Drew Nicholas Released by Turkish Club

As mentioned in a post here last week, Drew Nicholas (1999-2003) had, along with three other American players, refused to travel to Serbia for a Euroleague Top 16 game in Belgrade, due to security warnings from the American Embassy. This week, Efes Pilsen responded by releasing Nicholas. Here is most of the Euroleague press release (linked above), explaining the situation:
Efes Pilsen of Istanbul, Turkey has de-registered two players from its Euroleague roster and released both following their refusal to travel with the team to Top 16, Game 3 in Belgrade, Serbia a week ago. Efes on Wednesday officially de-registered the team's top scorer, shooting guard Drew Nicholas, and backup playmaker Rashad Wright. A third player, center Loren Woods, is expected to follow suit shortly. A fourth who also skipped the game in Belgrade, power forward Andre Hutson, was reinstated by the team over the weekend. All four players cited personal security concerns last week for not traveling to Serbia after communication they received from the United States embassy there contradicted guarantees of security from the Turkish embassy in Belgrade as well as city authorities and the host club, Partizan Belgrade. Three other United States citizens with Efes, guard Scoonie Penn, forward Kenny Gregory and head coach David Blatt, made the trip and participated in the game, which was held without incident. Nicholas has averaged 16.5 points and 2.9 assists in 14 Euroleague Basketball games this season.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Travis Garrison Goes to Venezuela

Travis Garrison (2002-06), who started the season in South Korea, then moved to Spain, has now returned to the western hemisphere to play for Gaiteros de Zulia of Venezuela (translation). If you scroll down to the news on the Gaiteros web page (there's no direct link), it looks like their season just started last week and Garrison is already leading the team, getting 23 points and 11 rebounds in their most recent game.

(Updated 3/5: OK, so technically, it turns out that most of Spain is actually in the western hemisphere. A good joke ruined by geography.)