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Thread: Bulgaria NT

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    Administrator rikhardur's Avatar
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    Default Bulgaria NT

    Bulgaria's Game Winner - Ibi Jaaber


    Ibrahim Jaaber is a high-flying guard of Lottomatica Roma during the season, but this summer he represented Bulgaria in their successful EuroBasket 2009 qualifying campaign.


    The naturalised 24-year-old proved to be a game-winner for Pini Gershon's national team, averaging a team-high 16 points and 2.3 steals as they won four of their eight games and finished second to Serbia in Group A.

    He will be on show next summer when the EuroBasket 2009 Final Round is staged in Poland.

    Basketball World News was intrigued by Jaaber's performances so they tracked him down in Rome and interviewed him on behalf of FIBA Europe.

    FIBA Europe: Ibi, we know you were born in New York but where did you play college basketball?

    Ibi Jaaber: I played at Pennsylvania (in the Ivy League 2003-07).

    FIBA Europe: Give us your thoughts on playing, and living in Rome.

    Ibi Jaaber: It's a good experience. I get to witness history, being in a city like Rome. There are a lot of places, historical sites that you get to visit. And also, I get to play in one of the top leagues in Europe.

    FIBA Europe: You play in Lega A with Roma, but also the Euroleague. What is that like?

    Ibi Jaaber: The Euroleague is a lot tougher than the Italian League. You have to bring it every night. Also in the Italian league, though, it's pretty tough. The Euroleague is second to the NBA. It's a great opportunity as far as guys coming over here and wanting to make it back to the NBA, or for guys wanting to have a successful career (in Europe).

    FIBA Europe: You played with Roma last year. It seems that the club has taken a step forward since then. Is this what you think?

    Ibi Jaaber: I definitely think it's too early to say that. The quality of players, we've got so much talent. What it really comes down to, though, is putting it all together. You can have all the talent in the world as you saw four years back with the so-called Dream Team of the US (at the 2004 Olympics), but they didn't put it together. This year, they had just as much talent and ended up winning. Hopefully, we can do the same thing they did this summer, but in Rome.

    FIBA Europe: You played for Bulgaria but come from America. Tell us how this came about and give us your thoughts on Bulgaria's outstanding summer.

    Ibi Jaaber: I basically got lucky. Pini and a few other guys took a chance with me. They liked what they saw last year when I was in Greece (with Egaleo) and Pini was also in Greece (coaching Olympiacos) and we actually played against him. He liked me as a player, asked me if I wanted to do it because he would be coaching. I didn't have a summer, I played basketball in Bulgaria but it was worth it. (Jaaber moved to Roma in February while Gershon parted with Olympiacos).


    FIBA Europe: You had a couple of very big games for Bulgaria and were instrumental in their qualification for the EuroBasket. Does that make you a hero now in Bulgaria?

    Ibi Jaaber: (Laughing) I wouldn't say a hero. I definitely think I did leave a mark, though. Some guys have found my email address and they try to get in touch with me, the fans. I really appreciate that, that the fans are trying to reach out to me but I wouldn't say a hero.
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    Senior Member Khalid80's Avatar
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    His name sounds totally Arabic. Any clue where he is originally from even though he has the American passport?

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    He is originally from Brooklyn, new york...
    Seriously now, I guess one or both of his parents are probably immigrants (like that guy, barack something..), I don't get the big deal.

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    Senior Member Juan Carlos Nadal's Avatar
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    His dad is Egyptian as far as I know, and Ibrahim himself is a devout Muslim.
    The Euroleague Organization and Mr Bertomeu are like the Bulgarian Government: corrupt, partially stupid, and a huge underestimator of people's intelligence.

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    Senior Member Khalid80's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juan Carlos Nadal
    His dad is Egyptian as far as I know, and Ibrahim himself is a devout Muslim.
    Thanks for the info. So how did the guy end up being selected for the Bulgarian NT? Is it because the NT lacks PG's of good caliber?
    (I don't know much about Bulgarian bball ).

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    Senior Member Pistol Pete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Khalid80
    Thanks for the info. So how did the guy end up being selected for the Bulgarian NT? Is it because the NT lacks PG's of good caliber?
    (I don't know much about Bulgarian bball ).
    It's a fashion trend to have at least one naturalized player in your national team these days.

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    Administrator rikhardur's Avatar
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    Bulgaria hands out passports with a snap of fingers, that's why he and others have Bulgarian nationality. Don't ask me why they do it, I don't know, maybe JCN will tell us more. (The same happens with Georgia and other countries btw.)
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    Senior Member Khalid80's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rikhardur
    Bulgaria hands out passports with a snap of fingers, that's why he and others have Bulgarian nationality. Don't ask me why they do it, I don't know, maybe JCN will tell us more. (The same happens with Georgia and other countries btw.)
    Since FIBA allows naturalizing 1 player on the NT, I don't see why Bulgaria shouldn't do this (if this is going to help improve the level of their NT in a positive way). At least this will help improve the level of play of weaker teams.

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    Senior Member Khalid80's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pistol Pete
    It's a fashion trend to have at least one naturalized player in your national team these days.
    What I don't get is why would a team like Russia naturalize Holden. I know he's a great player but I'm sure that there are many talented Russians that can play in his position.
    (Actually our NT tends to go for naturalizing centers since we're a small country and we don't have tall players. We did it with Joe Vogel and he's been playing with our NT since 2001.)

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    Senior Member Mojado's Avatar
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    They are naturalizing players so they can play in other European leagues as Bosman A-players, that's why.It's about money which some guys in the Bulgarian Basketball Federation are getting... I'm friends with a lot of Bulgarians and I've been to BG a lot of times. Bribing happens on a daily base, so no big deal right here to naturalize for cash...

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    Moderator Mindozas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Khalid80
    What I don't get is why would a team like Russia naturalize Holden. I know he's a great player but I'm sure that there are many talented Russians that can play in his position.
    (Actually our NT tends to go for naturalizing centers since we're a small country and we don't have tall players. We did it with Joe Vogel and he's been playing with our NT since 2001.)
    IMO first of all, it's CSKA initiative, he could play as Russian in local league, cause there are limits for the players (2 russian must be on the court all the time during the game). That's why CSKA decided to do that, they just had more space for other foreigners in their squad. The same did Dinamo M. with T.Hansen and Khimki with K.McCarthy.
    Secondly, Russian NT had the problems with players in this position. In the nineties they had good guards like Karasev, Bazarevich, Babkov, E.Pashutin, Kudelin or some others, but after they left few years ago, they had none reliable player there. Russian bball was in some kind of downtrend, so to naturalize J.R. was also the option and as we see it helped a lot to their results.
    Still, I'm against naturalization. I would never ever agree on it if there would be decided to do it in LT NT.


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    Senior Member jugoplastika's Avatar
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    // 08 December 2008

    Of all the attributes that Pini Gershon possesses, the most important to Bulgaria's national side may be his expertise in the field of psychology.

    Gershon was appointed coach of Bulgaria at the end of 2007 and made his "underdog" players believe they would qualify for EuroBasket 2009.

    The Bulgarians finished second in Group A behind Serbia with Italy third, Finland fourth and Hungary fifth, and that put Gershon's team in next year's Final Round in Poland.

    Now they face heavyweights Lithuania, red-hot Turkey and hosts Poland in Group B in Wroclaw and Gershon, as always, is using the psychological aspects of coaching.

    The 57-year-old says of the forthcoming group games: "It could be better, but it could be worse.

    "We got an awful draw for the (EuroBasket 2009) qualifications, but we did our job.

    "I hope we can do the same as underdogs in this group. We should play good basketball."

    Gershon is a coach who is humble and respectful of opponents when he needs to be, yet he is never short of confidence.

    His job with Bulgaria has gone something like this.

    After learning of their qualifying round opponents for this summer's (2008) games, he used the word ‘possible' and not ‘impossible'.

    He planted seeds of belief in his players' minds and watered those seeds at regular intervals with forecasts of a successful summer.

    By the time his players ran onto the floor for their qualifiers, they weren't just Bulgarian basketball players. They were confident Bulgarian basketball players.

    Right now, he is planting new seeds of belief.

    "We need to win at least a game to qualify for the next phase," he says.

    "It won't be easy, because Poland are the hosts and it will be very difficult against their team.

    "The other two teams are better than us, but you know, you may be outsider and with God's help to win, everything is possible."


    Divine intervention is how many in Bulgaria considered the arrival of Gershon to the national team.

    The Israeli was attracted to the country because it was the birthplace of his grandfather.

    While he recently took the helm of Maccabi Tel Aviv for the third time in his career, Gershon will often think of the EuroBasket in the coming months.

    "It will be my first European Championship for me as a head coach, so it will be a great challenge for me," he says.

    "I hope I will have good start. I know the Bulgarians played with Turkey and Lithuania in their last EuroBasket in Serbia, but I believe that these two teams are very different than in 2005.

    "Lithuania has some great players, who play for the best clubs in the world. They are one of the greatest teams in Europe now.

    "Turkey played very well in the qualifications. They always have had good and very talented players, but if we play better than last summer, we may believe that something good will happen."

    Gershon's approach allows his players go into games loose and with no pressure.

    He also has a knack for getting into the head of his opponents.

    "We are going to the EuroBasket as outsiders, underdogs, so it will be easier for us," he says.

    "We have no such pressure as the other teams. It will be difficult for other teams to play against a free-from-pressure team.

    "There is a lot of time. I hope my players will play more at their clubs, so they will gather in the summer better than last summer.

    "We showed we play good as a team, so I suppose, we can do it better."



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    Moderator Mindozas's Avatar
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    18 players selected in Bulgaria's roster for Euro 2009


    The head coach of Bulgarian national basketball team Pini Gershon selected 18 players for the up-coming European championship. Bulgaria is in Group D, together with Lithuania, Turkey and Poland.

    The team starts preparation at July 15th in Sofia. Only 8 players will practice during the first week – Stefan Georgiev, Tencho Banev, Dimitar Anguelov, Boyko Mladenov, Deyan Ivanov, Kaloyan Ivanov, Vasil Evtimov and Filip Videnov. The other players including the captain Todor Stoykov will gether the team at July 20th after the Universiade in Belgrade, Serbia. Both players from the U20 National team Bozhidar Avramov and Aleksandar Yanev are going to join at August 1st.
    Bulgaria has games with Portugal, Belarus, Cyprus, Russia, Belgium, Montenegro and The Serbian KK Hemofarm during the preparation period and a friendly tournament in Slovenia with the home team and Greece.

    Bulgaria’s roster:
    Todor Stoykov, Tencho Banev, Dimitar Anguelov, Chavdar Kostov, Hristo Nikolov, Stefan Georgiev, Boyko Mladenov, Stanislav Slaveykov, Zlatin Georgiev, Asen Velikov, Deyan Ivanov, Kaloyan Ivanov, Filip Videnov, Vasil Evtimov, Ivan Lilov, Aleksandar Yanev, Bozhidar Avramov and Ibrahim Jaaber.
    Is Evtimov allowed to play for Bulgaria? He played for France in Euro'01, so how can he be in Bulgarian preliminary roster then?


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    Administrator rikhardur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mindozas View Post
    Does Evtimov is allowed to play for Bulgaria? He played for France in Euro'01, so how can he be in Bulgarian preliminary roster then?
    He simply can't play then. It's either another Evtimov or a typo. JCN please do enlighten us
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    Senior Member arturcia's Avatar
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    VASCO EVTIMOV played in France NT, and in Bulgarian NT likely to play his brother, ILIAN EVTIMOV.
    Remember September 2003!!!

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    Senior Member Juan Carlos Nadal's Avatar
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    Actually it may come as a surprise but we are indeed talking about Vasco Evtimov and not his younger brother Ilyan. It's kinda funny. In a pretty much unprecedented case, Vasco took permission by FIBA (following an allowance letter by the French federation) to play for the Bulgarian NT despite having played for the French one in the past (I heard something about him being eligible to play for another NT because he did not play for France for more than 6 years or something but I did not quite get it). Funnily enough the French federation did not give such a letter for his younger brother as they believe that he can develop into something good enough to be eligible to play for them in the future (in reality they will probably give him the letter too but only after some time).

    I know, it's kinda weird I have to say
    The Euroleague Organization and Mr Bertomeu are like the Bulgarian Government: corrupt, partially stupid, and a huge underestimator of people's intelligence.

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    Senior Member arturcia's Avatar
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    interesting.... thanks for info. i didn't know that
    Remember September 2003!!!

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    Senior Member Mojado's Avatar
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    The Evtimovi recently practiced in Frankfurt together.Vasko looks in shape and lost some weight since the last time I saw him.
    Is he counted as a naturalised player?

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    Senior Member sixama23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mojado View Post
    The Evtimovi recently practiced in Frankfurt together.Vasko looks in shape and lost some weight since the last time I saw him.
    Is he counted as a naturalised player?
    I don't think so. They have Ibby Jaaber as a naturalised player, they can't have another one.

  20. #20
    Administrator rikhardur's Avatar
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    Decisions Ahead For Bulgaria Boss

    Bulgaria coach Pini Gershon has admitted he is no closer to knowing which American-born player will be in his squad for the EuroBasket in Poland this September.

    Both Andre Owens and Earl Rowland are available to Gershon after receiving their Bulgarian passports in the last few days, but Gershon can only select one.

    The pair were impressive in a 103-74 friendly win over Portugal on Wednesday night that has only given Gershon more food for thought.

    "It is still early to say which American has done better," he said. "We need some more time to determine whether Owens or Rowland will join the team for the EuroBasket in September."

    Owens scored 14 points in the game, while Rowland contributed nine points, four rebounds and three assists in limited minutes.

    Bulgaria will line up against Portugal again on Thursday, with Gershon aiming to take a look at all the players in his squad before making decisions about his final 12-man group.

    "We have a lot of players, the group is large and not everybody played in this game," he said. "Tomorrow we will look at a few other players."

    Bulgaria got off to a lightning quick start in the game, racing out to a 16-2 lead after five minutes.
    Portugal could not keep pace and fell into a 25-point hole in the first half.

    But the contest was much more even after the break, and Gershon knows the fast start helped to mask a few issues his team must still work on.

    "As a first test I was pleased with how we did," he said. "We played better attacking than we did defending, but we must emphasise we are still training at the moment.
    "In the second half we did not do so well defending, but we have enough time left to prepare before we go to Poland."
    Dejan Ivanov and Filip Videnov led Bulgaria with 15 points each, while Todor Stoykov also had 14.

    Bulgaria have been drawn in Group D for EuroBasket, along with hosts Poland, Turkey and Lithuania.

    Portugal still have hopes of being in Poland too, but must first come through the Additional Qualifying Round, in which they will face Bosnia and Herzegovina next Wednesday.

    Despite the heavy defeat, the Portuguese got encouraging performances from Jorge Coelho, who poured in 21 points, and Joao Santos, who had 17.
    http://www.fibaeurope.com/coid_wZsWN...frontpage.html
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