Ukraine and The Czar

After Falling to Croatia in the quarterfinals 84-72 on Thursday, Ukraine bounced back to beat Italy 66-58 on Friday and earn an automatic bid to the FIBA World Championship for the first time ever!  Today we played a competitive game against Slovenia for fifth place in front of their spirited home crowd, but unfortunately we came up short 69-63. I couldn’t be prouder of our team’s effort in this tournament and our historic run to the Elite 8. Now our players will return to their respective teams to get ready for the start of the regular season. Look forward to regrouping in Spain next summer to compete in the 2014 FIBA World Cup!

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Photos courtesy of FIBA Europe’s official EuroBasket 2013 website.

Ukraine and The Czar

For the first time in the national basketball team’s history, Ukraine is among the eight teams that advanced to the EuroBasket 2013 Quarterfinals. We’ll play Croatia, the top seed in our group of four, for a shot at the semis.  Rooted in a rich basketball tradition, Croatia is tall, long, athletic and very skilled, so we’ll have our hands full. CRO vs. UKR tips off Thursday, Sept. 19 at 11:45AM ET at Stozice Arena in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

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Photos courtesy of FIBA Europe’s official EuroBasket 2013 website.

Ukraine and The Czar

I talked with ESPN correspondent Mark Woods about Ukraine’s performance at EuroBasket 2013 and the likelihood of seeing a European coach at the helm of an NBA team in the near future.

NEXT? EUROPEAN HEAD COACH IN NBA by Mark Woods

Jure Makovec/AFP/Getty ImagesLJUBLJANA, Slovenia — Mike Fratello believes the time may have arrived to break down a barrier in the NBA and give a European a shot at becoming a head coach.

The former Atlanta, Memphis and Cleveland playcaller has spent the past two weeks pitting himself against some of the continent’s most accomplished tactical minds in his capacity in charge of Ukraine’s national team at EuroBasket.

Fratello, 66, prominent now during the NBA season as a broadcaster, has been traveling across the Atlantic in a basketball capacity for more than two decades, conducting clinics, sharing his knowledge and broadcasting games back to home.

But since his appointment with the Ukrainians in 2011, he’s gotten a firsthand insight into the abilities of his European counterparts. Read more…

Ukraine and The Czar

Ukraine played a complete game against Great Britain in Game 5 of the EuroBasket, executing on both ends of the court. We shot the ball extremely well throughout the game, and we defended well, holding Great Britain to 31 points in the first half and 37 points in the second half. Ukraine beat Great Britain 87-68 and finished with a  4-1 record in the First Round, good for second place in Group A behind France.

Now Ukraine will advance to the Second Round of the FIBA European Basketball Championship for the first time in the country’s history. The top three teams from Groups A and B will form Group E and compete against each other in three games over the course of six days. Ukraine opens up against Latvia in Round 2, followed by Serbia on Friday and Lithuania on Sunday. All three teams will be very tough opponents. I’m proud of our guys for earning the opportunity to move on, and the Ukraine Train will try to do it again in the Second Round. Latvia vs. Ukraine tips off at 2:30 PM local time (8:30 AM EST) on SportLemon.tv.

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Photos courtesy of FIBA Europe’s official EuroBasket 2013 website.

Ukraine and The Czar

Tony Parker led Group A top seed France to a 77-71 victory over Ukraine in Game 4 of the Qualifying Round with 28 points. Ukraine must bounce back and beat Great Britain in Game 5 to guarantee that we advance to Round 2 of the EuroBasket. GBR vs. UKR tips off  Monday at 8:30 AM ET.

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Photos courtesy of FIBA Europe’s official EuroBasket 2013 website.