The Euroleague is an annual basketball event in Europe, in which the top pro teams from across the continent are invited to play in a huge tournament in addition to their regular national league schedules.
Here's the format of the competition: The season starts off with 24 teams, divided into four groups (Groups A-D), which play a home-and-home round robin with the top 4 teams in each group advancing. The next stage, the most exciting (or at least, the stage where I wake up and start paying attention), is the Top 16. This year, the top 16 teams are divided into two pools of 8 teams (Groups E-F), and will play a home-and-home round robin with the top 4 teams in each group advancing to the quarterfinals. (If you've been reading this blog for a long time, you may remember that in past years, the Top 16 round was 4 groups of 4 teams; this year they are trying a new format.) It all culminates with a Final Four, which will be held in London, May 10-12, this year.
The Top 16 stage starts today. There are always former Terps spread out among the Euroleague teams, and this year is no different.
Nik Caner-Medley (2002-06) is playing for Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv, which has been the dominant team in Israel for decades. In the ten game regular season (the opening round robin), Nik averaged 2.8 points and 1.5 rebounds per game. Maccabi went 8-2 and finished atop Group B to advance to Group F of the Top 16. Unfortunately, Caner-Medley will miss the next month of play with a thigh muscle injury.
Sarunas Jasikevicius (1994-98) is playing for Spanish powerhouse FC Barcelona Regal. Sarunas averaged 2.7 points and 1.5 assists in the first 10 games. FCB went 9-1 to finish in first in Group D and now also advances to Group F.
James Gist (2004-08) played the opening regular season round with Spanish team Unicaja Malaga, where he averaged 8.6 points and 4.8 rebounds to help Unicaja go 8-2 and finish in second place in Group B (surrendering first place to Maccabi on a tie-breaker). But, as I posted yesterday, prior to the start of the Top 16, Gist was traded to Panathinaikos Athens. PAO finished 6-4 and in third place in Group A, and will now advance to Group E in the Top 16 round.
Additionally, Drew Nicholas (1999-2003) played four games of the Euroleague season with CSKA Moscow, but left the team in November and will not compete in the Top 16, even though CSKA advanced to the Top 16 after going 9-1 finishing in second place in group D (losing the first place tie breaker to FCB Regal). Nicholas scored only 2 points in four games and saw his minutes decline sharply. Nicholas is currently a free agent.
The Top 16 round got underway today, and as in past years, I will keep you updated every few weeks about how our Terps are progressing.