||Andrew Sullivan of the Great Britain national team is making his debut this season with DKV Joventut, the 2006 EuroCup champions. Sullivan, who was the Most Valuable Player last year in the British League, will share his experiences in a fibaeurope.com blog.|
So we are into a New Year.
But with but Joventut Badalona, the same challenges exist.
We are in a good position to make to the last 16 of the Euroleague which would be great for the fans, club, team and individual players. With that being said we have to take care of business tonight against Maccabi, which is easier said than done.
Which brings me to league play. We are in a position to qualify for the King's Cup. This also brings added problems - we play against Bruesa, so we have the priviledge of having to compete with the third-best road team in our league. If they could have won more games at home, they would have been a top-four team.
From a personal stand point playing against Bruesa is something that I have been looking forward too. There are a couple of players that are on their team who I have played with and against in my past.
Michael Bradley is someone that I played with for two years at Villanova and he is one hell of a player when he puts his mind to it. As for Devin Smith, at times he makes scoring look like the easiest thing on earth. Both guys are good people and strong competitors.
Finally for me tonight is the first game that I'll be a part of in nearly a month. We played Malaga in the Euroleague in December and in the last few minutes I was kneed in the back of my calf. This aggrevated an old injury which forced me to the side line, but im happy to say that I'm now back practicing and ready to go.
Catch you guys in a couple of weeks!
December 12, 2006
These past couple of weeks have been up and down.
We are currently in a pretty good spot in our Euroleague group, tied for second with Maccabi Tel Aviv.
As there game was going on we were fighting off a very together and tough Olimpija team. They pushed all the way to the end with us running out winners by two.
I've had the opportunity to have started the last three Euroleague games due to an injury to Lubos Barton. He is back now, so although I'm happy about starting it's good to know that he is returning.
Like I said at the start, the past two weeks have been up and down, so lets now talk about the down.
Fortunately the down part was not for a long time. We played Tau Victoria and if any one knows about Tau they know that they are a very good team with a lot of talent, most noticeably with their power forward Luis Scola.
The game started off slowly for us and Tau ran out to a big lead, which we closed by half time. As we went in at the half we were definitely feeling good about ourselves knowing that we did not give a very good account of Joventut basketball.
After the break we ran into a refocused Tau team. We we were missing Andy Betts and Lubos Barton as well as Rob Archibald to foul trouble.
So that has been my last two weeks. What's coming up is that I'm looking forward to trips which include Panathinaikos in Greece and then a trip to Gran Canaria.
I have to say that this is the game that I have been looking forward to since mid-way through our Great Britain campaign. Why this game? The reason is simple I'll be getting a chance to meet up with one of our very talented and promising young players in Joel Freeland.
For a young man who has not been playing basketball for very long but be so good, the only thing you can call it is natural (God given) ability.
During a month or so he and I represented our country in August.
It was great and refreshing to be around such a humble young man. He is by far one of our brightest young stars.
November 15, 2006
As you all must know by now Loul Deng has received his British passport. What does this actually mean? I'm sure many people are asking this qustion.
Well first and most importantly this means that Luol has a country which he can call his own and even call his home.
I have known Luol for some time now and I'm extremely happy for both himself and his brother Ajou. Both individuals have been working very hard to obtain their citizenship in Britain and now that it has happened, I'm sure they are breathing a sigh of relief.
Ok now that is out the way, this is the question that even more people are asking: what affect will this have on the Great Britain team? The effect can be put into one word EXCITEMENT. I have had the pleasure of playing against Loul on a few occasions and although we were much younger you could see that he was very talented and really understood the game. What else does he bring to the table? He brings a team first attitude and to be very honest that is the only way he will make the kind of contribution to the national team that we are looking for. The team is not built for any one individual and this is not to say Loul is like that. To be honest he is the kind of person who will be doing everything in his power to try and fit in. The effect that Loul will/has had on the national team since receiving his passport has now made many other British players think to themselves that if its good enough for Deng then surely it must be good enough for me. Mensa-Bonsu, George, Midgley, Betts, Archibold, these are just a few names that could very well pull on the GB shirt next summer.
Not to take a way from Deng getting his passport, but imagine for a moment a team which has talented post players, talented wing players and talented point guards. Now imagine them all wearing a Great Britain uniform. This is not something that we can say we have been able to boast on a consistant basis.
This past week has been a rough one from both a personal and club stand point.
In the past few weeks, the team has been really coming together and for me it has been a great chance to really get to know the other guys' game - where they want the ball and basically how they play.
Last week we played Panathinaikos in our first Euroleague game and in the first half we were totally rolling. So much so that we were up at half time with an 18 point lead. From our stand point we were taken a little off guard by this as I'm sure they were.
Unfortuantly they did not allow us the upset that seemed on the books.
To their credit they played a hell of a second half and stayed together even though things were not going thier way in the first.
From my stand point it was really hard just watching it from the bench and not taking any real physical part in the game.
On Sunday we played Valencia. Since their last game they have changed coaches and they came out like most teams do when they have a new coach. They came out hard. They played well enough to be beat us by a very slim margin.
And although I have not seen them play before if they keep playing like that they are sure to collect many more wins before the season is over.
What I've learnt in the first month of the season being here at Joventut is always be ready. There is nothing that says your going to play a lot of minutes which to be honest I'm used to, but when they do come, take advantage of them.