Thursday, 12 August 2010

Introducing MVP

You love your daily fix of basketball news and gossip, all the latest inside scoops from the BBL, Team GB and hoops from around the world.

You want more?

Your favourite Britball Blog content is moving to a new home.

Introducing MVP – the new magazine and website that puts UK basketball first, with the best news, interviews, video and pictures online – plus a quarterly publication packed with exclusives from the biggest names, on and off the court.

So where can you find us online, and subscribe to the hottest hoops mag around?

Or add MVP on Twitter @MVP_247 or on Facebook.

Check out the Most Valuable Publication around – it’s the Ultimate Basketball.


Dan Clark fires GB to 3-0 start with win in Bosnia

23 points from Estudiantes forward Dan Clark led Great Britain to an 84-80 win over Bosnia in Sarajevo last night which sent the side top of their European Championship qualifying group.

Chris Finch’s men now head for Birmingham on Saturday to face Ukraine, who defeated Hungary 80-71, and although they were forced to battle right to the finish, a third victory from three ties puts them in pole position to reach next year’s finals in Lithuania.

“This was a tough game,” said Clark. “Bosnia were coming off of a loss on the road and they played well in the first half. We played tough down the stretch."

GB made life difficult for themselves when they fell 11 behind in the opening quarter. With in-form Clark converting his first eight shots, they fought back but Bosnia responded to grab a 48-41 lead at half-time.

A flurry from Nate Reinking and Clark drew the visitors level early in the third and after Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng opened up a three-point lead, their rivals quickly responded to send the tie into the fourth period deadlocked at 64-64.

However in a tight finale, Clark sank two late free throws to put GB ahead for good with a minute left and Reinking, who had 21, hit the clinching scores in the dying seconds to give GB captain Drew Sullivan a victory to go with his record-breaking 50th cap.

“It’s a heck of an achievement,” said Finch. ”Drew and Nate have been here since day one. He’s been an inspirational captain and a great leader and if you’re going to build a team, it’s around guys like him.”

Deng and Pops Mensah-Bonsu each finished with 16 points, with the latter pulling down 13 rebounds.

Ratko Varda led the Bosnians with 20 points, while Kenan Bajramovic had 16 and Henry Domercant 14.


Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Drew Sullivan wants to mark Great Britain caps record with victory in Bosnia

Great Britain captain Drew Sullivan has insisted that he wants to mark his record 50th cap with a win against Bosnia tonight in Sarajevo.

The Newcastle forward, who has been in sparkling form, is set to overtake Bill McInnes’ long-standing mark for the most GB appearances in the European Championship qualifier in Sarajevo.

However after remaining unbeaten in their opening two ties against Hungary and Macedonia, Sullivan – who is just one cap in front of Nate Reinking - claims a victory would put Chris Finch’s men firmly on track to reach next summer’s finals in Lithuania.

“It’s a great honour,” he said. “Nate’s only one behind me but it’s pretty special to get the record. The main thing is that we beat Bosnia and go 3-0. It would put us in control of the group. But we when you see the teams ahead of us, we know everyone’s competitive so we have to continue to push right to the end of the qualifiers. We’re looking to finish up 8-0 or 7-1.”

Finch concedes he is looking for a greater contribution from his reserves, with Kieron Achara responding to criticism from the GB coach by hitting a critical three-pointer in Sunday’s overtime victory over Macedonia.

“It was a confidence booster,” said the Scot. “It’s something I know I can do but that I haven’t been doing. If the shot’s there, I’ll take it and I’m confident I’m going to make it. I just have to concentrate on doing the little things I need to do to help the team win.”


Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Cheshire Jets sign” American forward Chris Commons

Cheshire Jets have signed 6’9” American forward Chris Commons. The 25 year-old Commons played most recently in Germany, and also previously in Bahrain, after a college career USC Aiken.

Jets coach Paul Smith feels he has found exactly what he is looking for in his new signing:

“He’s perfect for what we want in terms of size and youth, he’s been out of college - with a great record - for about a year, he was a Division 2 All-American, and consensus All-American. He’s tall, shoots the three, puts the ball on the floor, rebounds, passes, and does it all. He has the potential to be a star in this league.”

Commons is relishing the prospect of coming over to play for the Jets.

“I’m very excited,” he said. “I feel it’s a very good decision and I’m grateful to the coach for this opportunity. One of the reasons why I wanted to sign was down to how straight-forward, honest and passionate the coach is to win. I want to just do my best, work hard and hope to do the same.”


Glasgow Rocks agree new one-year deal with American forward Mike Copeland

Glasgow Rocks coach Sterling Davis has challenged Mike Copeland to become a BBL All Star after agreeing a new one-year deal with the American forward.

Copeland spent four years at the University of North Carolina, of the Atlantic Coast Conference, but his career there was hampered with injuries preventing him from really breaking into the rotation.

Despite these setbacks, the rookie posted an average of 13.1 points per game and 6.2 rebounds per game in his debut BBL campaign. But Davis wants even more out of him second time around.

“We are very excited about getting Mike back,” he said. “He established himself as not only a very good player but also a fan favourite here at the rocks. He is a very approachable guy that everyone instantly took a liking to. It’s always good to have guys around who can show recognition to the fans just as they do week after week for us on the court.”


Monday, 9 August 2010

New Jersey Nets-Toronto Raptors confirmed for London

NBA Commissioner David Stern has confirmed that the Toronto Raptors will face the New Jersey Nets at London’s 02 Arena on March 4 and 5.

The pair of regular season games are the first time the league has taken competitive fixtures to Europe after over 20 years of friendlies. And although he is making no absolute guarantee that it will become an annual event, it fulfils Stern's promise to bring a regular season game to the UK before the 2012 Olympic Games.

"We'll need to assess how we do in March," Stern said. "It would not surprise me if this becomes an annual event. But I don't want to make a commitment on it."

The NBA has been criticised for pushing its own product at the expense of British domestic basketball, which has been damned by comparison in the chase to attract both fans and paying sponsors. Stern, understandably, is looking for a profit from the trans-Atlantic diversion but he is hoping for longer-lasting spin-offs in the lead-up to the 2012 Olympics and beyond.

“It’s always about the games themselves and the activities around the games,” he said. “Last year with our friendly in October, we did community service, we did clinics, we did court dedications. You can expect there will be a dramatic build-up towards March, that we begin to demonstrate to people that basketball – in particular NBA basketball but we hope all of basketball – has drawing power, especially for kids.

“It’s a very inclusive sport. When you have rosters that demonstrate the impact of globalisation in the NBA, that together with the focus that LOCOG will be putting basketball, it is going to be a very catalytic series of events that will keep basketball in the public eye.”

This game will be the Raptors' first visit to the United Kingdom. Toronto faced the Boston Celtics and Lottomatica Roma in Rome, Italy and Real Madrid in Madrid, Spain in pre-season games in 2007.

"The entire Raptors organisation is pleased to be representing the NBA in these historic regular season games in Europe," added Raptors President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo.

NBA regular season games have previously been played in Mexico and Japan but the league has previously resisted calls to bring a competitive game to Europe.

However, the National Football League has staged an annual regular season game in London for each of the last three seasons and the National Hockey League has also held in-season games in London before.

Stern admits it is unlikely other cities in Europe could host a similar fixture at present, with the 02 Arena's facilities, capacity and price policies making business sense. And having franchises across the Atlantic, on a full-time basis, remains unlikely in the short-term.

"I think one franchise doesn't work. It needs to be multiple franchises," Stern said. "We need buildings, we need owners, we need a better economy. It's certainly something that I and my successors will be considering."

Tickets will go on sale on September 1.


Sunday, 8 August 2010

Pops Mensah-Bonsu joins Caja Laboral Tau, signs 2-year deal

Pops Mensah-Bonsu has signed a two-year with Spanish play-off winners, Tau Baskonia, after the Great Britain centre rejected a move to Maccabi Tel Aviv.

The Londoner, who left CSKA Moscow at the end of last season, is understood to have a NBA release clause next summer. But he admitted that he is relishing a second spell in the ACB.

“This is as a good as it gets,” he said. “Especially in the ACB, you couldn’t ask for more. I wouldn’t have gone if it wasn’t an ideal situation. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s going on. It’s a great league, second only to the NBA. It suits the way I play. I’m looking forward to it.”

The former Toronto and Dallas reserve concedes he still harbours ambitions to return to the NBA, despite his failure to solidify his place in spells with four different teams in the league.

“I’m still young,” he said. “I’m not chasing it. If they want me, they can come find me. I’m someone who holds the NBA in high regard. I feel I’m a NBA player. But I have no problem coming to Europe. The quality of basketball is high. But if they want me they’ll come get me and I’ll keep playing as hard as I can.”

He joins a Caja Laboral side that is fresh off shocking FC Barcelona in the end-of-year play-offs but that has lost its long-time star, the Brazilian centre Tiago Splitter, to the San Antonio Spurs. But he believes he can maintain their status at the top of the Spanish game.

"They still have some great players,” he said. “There is pressure on them because they won the ACB play-offs last season. Hopefully we can repeat and get to the Euroleague Final Four.”