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Roundup: Besiktas Close To Pops

08 December 2011
BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
7. Pops Mensah-Bonsu (Great Britain)
Pops Mensah-Bonsu would give Besiktas size and, above all athleticism

Besiktas have reached an agreement in principle with Great Britain international Pops Mensah Bonsu as they look to complete their search for a big man.

The club is in dire need of a low-post presence as they try to remain unbeaten in the EuroChallenge (5-0) and stay among the leading pack in the BEKO Basketbol Ligi.

Besiktas are one of three teams at the top of the Turkish standings with a 7-1 record.

Mensah-Bonsu is an important member of the British national team but got hurt last season while playing for ASVEL in France and had to miss the EuroBasket.

He is hoping to be fit and take part in next summer's Olympics in London.

Besiktas did not risk Marcelus Kemp in their game against Armia this week because the American is carrying a knock but could return to face Banvit this weekend in Turkey.

Olin Edirne, meanwhile, parted ways with their coach, Gokhan Tastimur, this week and put the reins into the hands of Ali Burgul.

The Turkish club made the decision before their game against Okapi Aalstar.

The team had lost all four of its EuroChallenge games under Tastimur.

The coach's contract was dissolved by mutual consent.

A club statement said: "We hope this decision is beneficial to everyone."

Burgul led Edirne to a 92-86 upset of Okapi Aalstar on Wednesday for their first EuroChallenge win.

Marquis Pens Orthez Deal

Claude Marquis once helped Cholet reach the EuroChallenge 2009 title game.

After a spell in Iran, the veteran big man has returned to France and signed a contract with Pau Lacq Orthez, one of the teams in this season's competition.

Unfortunately for Pau, Marquis is joining the team too late in their EuroChallenge campaign with the side having no chance of progressing to the Last 16 after just one victory in five games.

Pau can still make their mark in France's Pro A.

Right now, they're battling against relegation.

"I hope to help Elan (Pau) leave the danger zone, although the team has already started its recovery," Marquis said.

"I have looked at the roster and I know there's potential.

"We can do good things."

Rebounding King Motiejunas

It's only a matter of time before Donatas Motiejunas makes it in Lithuania's national team.

The 21-year-old had the finest rebounding game of his career on Wednesday night in leading Asseco Prokom to their first victory in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague.

Taking on a beleaguered Union Olimpia, a team that has had to let go of players as a cost-cutting measure, Motiejunas had 21 rebounds, including a new Euroleague record 18 on the defensive boards.

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