Around the League

Can’t wait to see what’s in store for New York’s newly anointed Brooklyn Nets. Barclays Center will officially open on Friday, September 28th when Jay-Z performs the first of his eight sold-out concerts. And on November 1st the Nets will play their season opener against their cross-borough rival Knicks at the recently-christened, billion-dollar arena. Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov supplied the resources to retain superstar point guard Deron Williams and surround him with talented players. This should be an exciting year for Nets fans, both old and new.


Mike Looks Back

Ukraine and The Czar

Next summer 24 of Europe’s top teams will collide in EuroBasket 2013 in Slovenia, including the host country. With only a couple months to practice and train for the EuroBasket 2013 Qualification Tournament, our coaching staff did an incredible job preparing our young players to compete against a formidable group of opponents. In addition to Ukraine, 15 teams earned berths in the qualifying round: Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Israel, Latvia, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Sweden and Turkey. Previously France, Great Britain, Lithuania, Russia and Spain secured their places through participation at the 2012 Olympics, while Greece and Macedonia grabbed two spots at the FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament in July.

Photo courtesy of Anatolii Riabukha.

Ukraine and The Czar

Ukraine beat Cyprus 69-51 in our final game of the EuroBasket Qualification Round in Yuzhne. We led 28-27 at halftime, went up by 4 points in the third quarter and fished strong in the fourth. Steve Burtt and Maxym Korniyenko led our offensive charge with 13 points and 12 points respectively. Kyryl Natyazhko attacked the glass and grabbed 13 rebounds. Ukraine finished with a 6-2 record, good for second place in Group C. Special thanks to my incredible staff: Bob Hill, Joe Wolf, Jay Larranaga, Rich Dalatri, Zach Guthrie and Jack Nolan along with Ukraine native and outstanding coach Denis Zhuravlev.

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Photos courtesy of Anatolii Riabukha.

Ukraine and The Czar

Photo courtesy of Anatolii RiabukhaUkraine fought hard in Game 7, but fell to undefeated Croatia 84-80.

We were down 13 at halftime, but kept battling back. Steve Burtt’s six threes and 22 points helped us stay within striking distance. And Oleksiy Pecherov nailed a 3-pointer to close the gap to four with 13 seconds remaining.

But Croatia made big shots when they needed to, had some huge offensive rebounds and ultimately held on for the win. Their second unit outscored ours 55 to 17.

Croatia must be commended for having a terrific tournament. Their record stands at 6-0, and they have clinched first place in Group C.

Ukraine is 5-2 heading into our final game of the EuroBasket Qualification Round against Cyprus on Saturday. We look to end our successful run with a strong performance at home in Yuzhne.