Roundup: Belinelli, Italian League's Capo

Roundup: Belinelli, Italian League's Capo
Oct 09, 2006, 04:21 pm
This was meant to be an extremely prolific season for Marco Belinelli in terms of scoring. It’s true that Climamio Bologna has brought some good perimeter scorers such as David Bluthental, Tyus Edney or Preston Shumpert, but the Italian shooting guard is already a veteran on his own team, where he shows leadership assuming the offensive load. To start with, he had 20 points in the successful opener against Whirpool Varese, completing the stat-line with 3 rebounds and 2 assists. Belinelli has the chance to become the best player in Italy this season; it’s as simple as that.

However, a younger countryman is coming along very strong. He’s no other than Danilo Gallinari, the eighteen-year old and super-talented small forward. In his debut in the First Division Italian league, he started for Armani Jeans Milano, having 10 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists in 32 minutes. It looks like he will enjoy plenty of action this season despite his youth.

We had the chance to watch Ricky Rubio this weekend in the ACB League. His team DKV Joventut couldn’t beat Akasvayu Girona, and actually his stats are not anything special (4 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals). But this extremely talented teenager is looking increasingly adapted to the ACB competition. Particularly, we have to stress his nice decision making and how well he distributed the ball for his team. In youth categories, Rubio had sometimes struggled displaying the full playmaking duties, including distributing the ball and setting the tempo of the game. Well, he seems to be making great strides here. On the negative side, his shooting is still nowhere to be found.

Last season, Ante Tomic played an average Adriatic League, blossoming in the Croatian League but getting injured by the end of the campaign, which greatly slowed him down for the U-20 European Championships. This season, he went pretty unnoticed in the first two rounds of the Adriatic League, but finally this weekend he showed signs of recovering his playing level. In the victory against Split, he had 16 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals.

Nenad Mijatovic keeps delivering good scoring efforts for Buducnost. After scoring 22 points on Tuesday, this weekend he netted 15 on Helios, helping the team from Montenegro to get the victory.

Partizan has faced its two Euroleague rivals in the Adriatic League in the span of a few days. After getting beaten by Cibona, they came up strong to defeat Union Olimpija. Uros Tripkovic led the team with 19 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists, being well complimented by Nikola Pekovic with 13 points and 2 rebounds. Siroki was the next victim of Cibona, and one of the few players who shined in this loss was Stanko Barac, who had 12 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists.

From Tuesday’s game we have to mention Nihad Djedovic, a very talented and intriguing wing. He’s the only 1990 kid in the competition, and he already starts for Bosna. In the victory against Zadar, he had 14 points and 2 rebounds.

In the French League, Le Mans is still winless after losing their third straight game, this time against Orleans. Pape-Philippe Amagou had 14 points and 2 rebounds.

Moving now to the Asian continent, the Chinese CBA took off with an extremely interesting opener game facing the champion Guangdong Tigers vs. Bayi Army Rockets. It was a showdown between Yi Jianlian and Wang Zhizhi, who is back in Bayi and the CBA after his troubled American adventure. Both are arguably the early frontrunners for this season’s MVP award. The game fell into Guangdong’s lap following Yi’s 26-point, 15-rebound and 4-steal effort.

Not far away, in Australia, Brad Newley almost scores at will in the NBL. He played twice this week, scoring 22 points and dishing out 3 assists in the lost against Perth Wildcats, but improving to 25 points and 6 rebounds leading Townsville Crocodiles over Cairns Tairpans.

Let’s finish with the noisy NBA Europe tour. Anton Ponkrashov, probably the best player in the last Treviso Eurocamp, was another valuable piece in CSKA’s rotation, helping the Russian team to roll over Los Angeles Clippers. Ponkrashov didn’t play point guard until garbage time; however, he was part of a perimeter where the roles weren’t that clear. He showed good ball-handling skills, staying cool against a NBA-type defense but also driving towards the basket with no fear. He also tested his shooting stroke with mixed results, took good decisions and played solid defense, although he eventually exposed his lack of athleticism in a few one-on-one defensive efforts against the opposing PGs. He finished the game with 11 points and 2 steals, leaving an excellent impression.

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