Preview: World Looks To Continue Domination Over Europe

19 March 2007
by David Hein

The Rest of the World team appears ready to continue their domination over Europe when the two teams clash on Tuesday at the fourth EuroCup All Star Game in Lemesos, Cyprus.

The World side has won all three previous games, collecting victories by seven, four, and eight points last season in Lemesos.

In last year's game, it was a late 15-4 run for the World which finished off the Europeans 97-89.

The year before - in Nicosia - Europe came back from a 19-point third quarter deficit to trail by one with 2:30 remaining.

FIBA Europe President George Vassilakopoulos present the MVP trophy to Shammond Williams
Shammond Williams earned MVP honours back in 2005.
But MVP Shammond Williams scored eight of the World's final 11 points - plus an assist on another three-pointer - to help put away the Europeans 106-102.

And in 2004 in Kiev, Michael Wright and Ashante Johnson were too much for the Europeans, as Wright claimed MVP honours with 23 points and 10 rebounds and Johnson chipped in 16 points and six boards in the 91-84 victory. 

One of the keys back in 2004 was the World's defense on Laurent Sciarra, who committed seven turnovers to his four assists.

The Frenchman is back as point guard for the 2007 European team. And the Dijon star will be looking to bounce back from that poor showing.

There are three other players making repeat showings at the event.

Lokomotiv Rostov's Croatian big man Kressimir Loncar will play in his third All-Star Game as will Azovmash's American point guard Khalid El- Amin - both of whom appeared in the 2005 and 2006 editions.

Serbian Milutin Aleksic from Cypriot powers AEL is making his second straight All-Star Game appearance.

As always, it's difficult to predict who will win an All Star Game. But I think the victory once again go to the World side - which features 10 Americans, Brazil's Guilherme Giovannoni of Virtus Bologna and Estudiantes guard Hernan Jasen from Argentina.

Giovannoni's club coach Zare Markovski and Luca Pavicevic will serve as coaches for the World side.

And as is usually the case in All-Star Games, there probably won't be a lot of set plays being run and the teams will try to get out of fast break.

Curtis Millage from ASK Riga will undoubtedly set up some easy shots for the likes of El-Amin, Banvit's Marque Perry, AEL's Jeron Roberts, Kennedy Winston of Panionios and Giovannoni.

If Markovski and Pavicevic elect to send the ball into the post, they ave a great set of big men in Andre Hutson from Panionios, Turk Telekom's Erwin Dudley, Anthony Lux from Dijon and BC Kalev center Travis Reed - who combined for 12 double-doubles during the EuroCup.

That inside-outside punch will be too much for the Europeans. As will the big-game experience as the World roster includes seven players who reached the EuroCup quarter-finals compared to six for the European side.

The main thing the Europeans have going for them is a great coaching duo in Svetislav Pesic from Akasvayu Girona and DTL EKA AEL's Igors Miglinieks.

But it's the players who will decide the game and the main question is how Turk Telekom's Tutku Acik and Sciarra run the flow of offence.

The play-makers have a couple of excellent shooters in Sandis Valters from ASK Riga, Bekir Yarangume of Banvit and Christian Drejer from Bologna.

And the inside group of Girona's Marc Gasol, Kressimir Loncar of Lokomotiv Rostov and Serhiy Lishchuk can hold their own.

But the World side have too many offensive weapons and will extend their winning streak to four games.

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