October 17, 2017

Roko Leni-Ukic signs with the Toronto Raptors | Global Run-On Sentence

2008/07/19 6:21 pm 6:21 pm6:21 pm6:21 pm 0 comments

Roko-Leni Ukic dribbles around Ramunas SiskauskasIt’s been a while since we did a rundown of the happenings in international basketball, so, here goes our periodic international Run-On Sentence:

Roko-Leni Ukic joins the Toronto Raptors
Croatian star guard Roko Leni-Ukic has been busy this last week, not only is he trying to help his national team qualify for the Olympics, but he’s signed a three-year deal with the NBA team that drafted him three years ago, the Toronto Raptors.

In 2008 Ukic led his team, Lottomatica Virtus Roma, to the Italian League finals and the 23 year old believes he has improved, has matured, and is ready to handle the NBA. “If I will play 15 minutes per game, I am happy.” Roko said.

Roko-Leni Ukic and current Toronto point guard Jose Manual Calderon have been tied to each other since 2005.  Back when the Raptors drafted Roko-Leni Ukic with the 41st overall pick in the 2005 NBA draft, only to see the Croatian decide to remain in Europe, the two have been linked.  With Ukic staying overseas, the Raptors needed to find a replacement.  They ended up signing the little-known Calderon.

When Jose Calderon left his team TAU Cerámica Vitoria for the NBA, the European team needed a new point guard, so… they signed Roko-Leni Ukic.

Now, Ukic will be coming to North America, to play backup to Calderon.  Odd, no?

The Gasols, Delfino back to Europe, Gallanari’s preseason
Pau Gasol’s younger brother, Marc Gasol is on his way to the NBA.  He’ll play for the Memphis Grizzlies via the trade that sent his brother to the Los Angeles Lakers last last season.  Marc will try to live up to the illogical expectations because of their shared last name and try to take the stigma left by another promising Spanish player Juan Carlos Navarro, whom spent one season in Memphis before heading back over the Marc Gasol posts up against Victor KhryapaAtlantic.  Marc Gasol will be joined by O.J. Mayo, whom was dealt to the Grizz for fellow star freshman Kevin Love.  Kevin Love will be playing for Minnesota, and who tallied 26 points and 15 rebounds against the Portland Trailblazers the other night in preseason play.

In more Toronto Raptors news, our forum reported earlier this week that Carlos Delfino would be leaving the Raptors and the NBA in favor of signing with BC Khimki of the Russian league. “I really wanted to play in Europe again. Khimki has a very ambitious project and they are on their way to becoming one of the strongest teams in Russia and in Europe.” Delfino said. (discuss)

In more preseason play news, after all the boos and catcalls on his draft night, Danilo Gallinari showed the NY fans some of his potential in his first NBA preseason game.  After going scoreless in the first half, the Italian first rounder scored 14 points on 5-7 shooting in the second half.  Though it’s never a good sign that a 19-year old is out with a sore lower back — making him unlikely to play in any of the remaining preseaon games in Las Vegas.

SLAM Magazine Recap: Iranian Pro Player and a Gay NBA Player Comes Out?
Flipping through this month’s latest SLAM Magazine (Issue #121, September 2008), I noticed a couple interesting notes.  On the international front, the Georgia Gwizzles, an ABA team has renewed the contract of Behdad Sami, whom is reportedly the first Iranian player to ever play professionally in the United States.

Also in the magazine was an article chronicling the career of Tim Hardaway, the 6-0 NBA point guard famous for his knuckleball jumper and killer crossover. SLAM went over the details of Tim growing up on the south side of Chicago, his relationship with his father, his growth at the University of Texas, his NBA career and finally, his controversial “I hate gay people.” statement after John Amaechi had come out last year.

What most people don’t know is that Hardaway has since apologized for his statements and seems genuninely sorry for any harm that he caused.  But also within that article, there was a real juicy quote in which Hardaway states that an NBA player had come out to his teammates this past season, but of course, he didn’t mention any names  – “I know for a fact that an NBA player came out to his team this season, and it wasn’t a big deal.  Be up front.” Let the guessing begin…

Gilbert Arenas visits Manila
I read about the eccentric Gilbert Arenas and his recent trip to the basketball-crazed country of the Philippines and it kind of made me like the crazy, unfiltered NBA All-Star: Odette Velarde, an Adidas marketing manager said that Arenas’s is unlike many NBA players, that the ones that have come to the Philippines in the past are “not the Mr. Congeniality types,”  as they set limits for the number of autographs they will sign in a day, for how many appearances they will make and for how many shots they will demonstrate during coaching clinics.  Arenas’s only requests were to have Vitamin Water and an Xbox for his hotel room.

What Arenas had to say about his Filipino excursion: “They make you feel like you’re a god, when my N.B.A. career is done, I have to play here one year just to feel that. It was like nothing I’ve ever seen before, and I’ve seen crazy fans all over the world,” Arenas went on to suggest that other NBA players should visit the nation’s capital, “If you’re having a bad day or you’re having a bad career, go to Manila. They’ll bring your spirits up.

Links and Resources: Marc Gasol is a Grizzly (Interbasket), Knicks’ rookie Danilo Gallinari out with sore lower back (AFP), Carlos Delfino to Europe (Khimki) (Interbasket Forum), Danilo Gallinari Player Profile | Interbasket Profiles (Interbasket), Slam Magazine, issue 121(Sept 2008), A Filipino Embrace (NYT), RP braces for Gilbert Arenas’ 4-day visit (Interbasket)


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