Some news from organizers of the upcoming interesting Holland-based EuroJam 2011 tournament, which pits NCAA men’s and women’s sides against European national teams.
Confirmed for the tournament are NBA Dutchmen Francisco Elson of the Utah Jazz and Dan Gadzuric of the New Jersey Nets – BallinEurope can’t help but speculate as to whether the latter will be using his off-time during the tournament to field offers from European clubs, what with the mass exodus of Nets to the Continent. (NetsDaily hints that Gadzuric’s appearance in the tournament may depend on insurance issues.)
The Sacramento Kings’ Omri Casspi is slated to play for Team Israel in the tourney as well; more on this below.
Organizers have scheduled a moment of silence for NBA scout Rob Meurs to precede the Villanova-Israel game. A native of Holland, Meurs was killed in a road accident near Trier last April after attending the Albert Schweitzer youth tournament in Mannheim.
Meurs was an NBA scout for 20 years with the Golden State Warriors and most recently the New Jersey Nets, but it was with the San Antonio Spurs that he was really able to leave his scouting imprint: In 1999, he endorsed Manu Ginobili at no. 57 overall in the NBA draft and Tony Parker at no. 28 in 2001.
When employed with BC Oostende for seven years, Meurs was credited with bringing players such as Mirza Teletovic, Damjan Rudez, Ivan Paunic and Brent Wright to the club.
As though this intriguing competition needed a few stamps of approval, Eurojam 2011 got some thumbs up last week as well.
Longtime NCAA/NBA coach and scout Hal Wissel contributed a nice plug with “I have always liked the concept of NCAA teams participating in international basketball. When I coached Fordham University, we played the Canada national team at a packed Madison Square Garden. I also coached the Dominican Republic national team and took our Fordham team to Santo Domingo to play them in a three-game series. International competition helps players and fans develop a better understanding of each other. I expect the better European international teams such as Georgia and Israel to be favored to defeat NCAA teams such as Villanova. However, Villanova is very well coached and could pull off an upset against these teams.”
(High praise for Jay Wright, then.)
Jamie Angeli of HoopSynergy opines that “I think it is a great idea for our NCAA teams to compete against National Teams in Europe. I think if you look at the NCAA tournament in the past few years, the American game is starting to look more and more like the Euro style of play, with greater emphasis on spacing and ball screens and post players playing out on the perimeter. Some of the bigger players in Euro ball might give some of the NCAA teams some trouble, but on the other hand, the quickness advantage to the NCAA teams might equalize that edge. I think the games [will] be very competitive!”
Finally, one key question surrounding Eurojam 2011 is whether Mr. Casspi will be bringing his (maybe) girlfriend, supermodel/actress/Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover girl Bar Refaeli to Almere. The Eurojam brain trust cannot confirm that Refaeli will be in attendance at the inaugural event, but here’s to hoping…
The Eurojam2011 tournament tips off on August 12.