Thursday, 12 July 2007

Joel Anthony & FIBA U19 Worlds: Day One Preview

Congratulations to Montreal's Joel Anthony, a 6'9" center from Dawson College who played his college ball at UNLV, who has been playing well recently for the Miami Heat's summer league team and based on the type of contract he signed, has a very good chance to be invited to the Heat's main camp in the fall. With his great athleticism and wing span, Anthony has used his shot blocking and rebounding skills to impress early, even drawing some comparisons to another undrafted free agent who went on to NBA stardom in Ben Wallace. Michael Grange of the Globe and Mail provides an excellent article describing Anthony's exploits and opportunity Canadian tries to impress

The anxiously-awaited beginning of the FIBA U19's is upon us and there are several interesting matchups on Day One of the tournament including Canada's tilt with Nigeria in Group C. The Nigerian's have 4 highly-touted stars who form the foundation of their team however they only arrived in Serbia on Tuesday, less than 48 hours before their game against Canada after spending a couple of weeks training at home and playing 3 tune-up games.

Group A gets things started with a pair of early games at 1:30 PM Serbia time (7:30 AM Eastern time) as Brazil takes on Lebanon and the 2 finalists from last summer's Eurozone qualifier facing off as Lithuania meets France. In addition to Canada's game at 3:45 PM, Puerto Rico meets Spain in a Group D affair. The highly-touted USA takes on Mali at 6 PM local, one of 2 Group D affairs which includes the host Serbians taking on China. In the night caps, the other two teams from Canada's Group C meet as Turkey tangles with Australia and Argentina meets Korea in the other Group D game. All games should be completed by 5 PM Eastern time.

Here is a recap written from an Australian perspective of a preliminary tournament that took place last week in Cacares, Spain featuring 4 teams (Australia, France, China and Spain) that will compete in the FIBA U19 world championship tournament. The Australian team is nicknamed the "Emus".

Tournament Placings:
1. France 3-0
2. Spain 2-1
3. Australia 1-2
4. China 0-3

Round 3:
France 79, Australia 71
Andrew Ogilvy led Emus with 15 points to go with 8 rebounds while Shannon Seebohm and Pat Mills adding 12 points each and Daniel Johnson tallying 10 points and 7 rebounds. Australia blew an 10 point, early second quarter lead after France decided to press full court but the game was tied at 70 with 1 minute remaining before the French ended the game on 9-1 run to win.
Spain over China

Round 2:
China 73, Australia 70
Point guard Patrick Mills top scored with 21 points to lead the Emus with an outstanding display of leadership, commitment and skill while Shannon Seebohm returned from illness to score 14 points and Andrew Ogilvy added 12 points in support. The Emus big-men – Ben Smith, Ogilvy, Daniel Jackson and Daniel Johnson battled tirelessly against their much taller and heavier Chinese opponents. China's zone gave the Aussies trouble in the third quarter and the Chinese lead 55 - 46 at three quarter time. Australia fought back to tie the game on a Patrick Mills 3 pointer with only 30 seconds remaining but the Chinese won the game with a 3 with 3 seconds remaining. Three Australian players, Ben Dowdell, Ben Louis and Kevin Probert were unable to participate in the game due an upset stomach. Coach Marty Clarke was disappointed with the failure of the Emus to control the game and the number of missed free throws at critical times during the game.
France over Spain

Round 1:
Australia 79, Spain 70 as Patrick Mills led the way for Australia with 18 points with strong contributions coming from Chris Goulding with 12 points, Ben Dowdell with 11 points and Andrew Ogilvy with 10 points. After Spain started the game on an 18-6 run, the Aussies outscored Spain 52-31 to lead by 9 going into the fourth quarter.
France over China

Prior to the game, Australia announced the captain and vice captains for the Pre Worlds and world Championship: Patrick Mills was selected as captain and Chris Goulding the vice captain.

Here is a preview of the Spanish U19 team which will compete in Group D with Puerto Rico, Argentina and Korea Spain must take Claver approach in Serbia

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