Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Strawberry, Milbourne, and Osby Playing on Eurocup Teams

Last week, I covered the three Terps playing for Euroleague teams. Today, let's talk about the Euroleague's little brother, the Eurocup.

The Eurocup is similar to the Euroleague, but it serves as sort of an NIT to the Euroleague's big dance. The Eurocup invites up-and-coming pro teams from across Europe; teams that aren't elite enough to play in the Euroleague, but that had success in the previous year. It follows nearly the same format as the Euroleague: an opening round "regular season" round-robin, followed by a Top 16 round-robin, followed by home-and-home cumulative score series for the quarter and semifinals, and then a final championship game in April. The Eurocup champion wins an automatic qualification for the following season's Euroleague, so there's a lot on the line for the mid-majors of Europe.

This season, I found three former Terps on Eurocup teams, though none made it to the Top 16 round which begins next week:

DJ Strawberry (2003-07) is playing for KK Cibona of Zagreb, Croatia. Strawberry is a starter for the team, and averaged 10.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in the six games of the opening round. Unfortunately, the team went 0-6 in Group G and was eliminated from the tournament. Because of their participation in the Eurocup, Cibona is not competing in the overlapping Croatian A1 league this year, but they are playing in the larger Adriatic League, where they are currently 6-9 and in 10th place.

Landon Milbourne (2006-10) is playing for Panionios BC of Athens, Greece. Milbourne played in 5 out of Panionios's opening six games, starting all five, and averaged 11 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 1.6 assists. However, the team went 2-4 and finished in last place in Group F. Still, they're 8-2 and in a tie for second place in the highly competitive Greek A1 League. Playing for a high-level team like Panionios is a huge step up for Milbourne, who played in the French ProB league the past two years.

Finally, Bambale Osby (2006-08) played for Orleans Loriet Basket of Orleans, France. Osby played in three games, averaging 9 points and 2.3 rebounds off the bench. Osby parted ways with Orleans in early December (none of the news sources give details), and Orleans went 2-4 to finish at the bottom of Group H. Osby had also scored 8.4 points and 2.7 rebounds per game in seven French ProA League games prior to his departure. He is currently a free agent.

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