Devotion
Chris Hill - Spirou CharleroiWell, Euroleague fans, it's all over. Spirou Charleroi's 2010 Euroleague campaign has come to an end. And while we played some very good basketball and gave ourselves some very good chances, in the end our three wins were not enough to advance to the round of 16. I want to take a few moments to look back on what is surely one of the most exciting and successful European competitions that our club, our fans, and us as players have ever had.

Beginning back in early August, our team set a goal to qualify for the Euroleague. And to the disbelief of everyone but the guys on our team, we achieved that goal by advancing through three grueling rounds of qualifications and earning a place in Group B of the Euroleague. Once we were there, it was time to set a new goal: to finish in the top four of our group and advance to the final round of 16. This seemed like a far-fetched, unrealistic dream to most... but we knew we belonged there. And after 10 games of playing against Europe's most elite basketball teams, we proved that not only were we supposed to be in the Euroleague, but an opportunity to find a place in the final 16 was very real. Unfortunately, we fell short.

With just two games left in the Euroleague regular season, our team's hopes of advancing to the next round were still alive. Considering we lost our first four games, that in itself says a lot about the character and determination of our team. If we could... more
POSTED BY Chris Hill - Charleroi, Belgium
DATE: December 28, 2010
Chris Hill - Spirou CharleroiHallelujah!!! After coming up short in our first four Euroleague games, my teammates and I got our first win of the competition. Honestly, I was a bit concerned the past week, as I didn't want to write my next blog without experiencing a successful result. But at last, we gave ourselves and our fans something really special on Wednesday night…a victory over one of the top clubs in all of Europe: Real Madrid.

It was a big surprise to everyone following the Euroleague competition, I'm sure, but it didn't surprise the guys in our locker room. We played with an intensity and determination that we had showed in moments of our previous games, but this time we were able to sustain it for 40 minutes. I think we caught Madrid off guard with our energy from the beginning, and they never seemed to be able to recover. We led almost the whole game, and in the second half, we pushed the lead to double digits and maintained that margin until the end. The Madrid team would probably say they played poorly and missed a lot of shots, but we got a great team effort when we needed it most. We had some outstanding individual performances from some key guys, but it was a complete team effort.

I would be wrong if I didn't mention one of my teammates for his huge game, though…and that's our "Grandfather", Andre Riddick. I made that joke in my first blog, because we give him a hard time for his age. But anyone who has... more
POSTED BY Chris Hill - Charleroi, Belgium
DATE: November 19, 2010
Chris Hill - Spirou CharleroiHey, hey, hey!!! Euroleaguers and basketball fans around the world…Spirou Basket is here! We "shocked European basketball" by making an improbable and an unexpected (to everyone but us) run through three qualifications rounds to become a member in this year's Euroleague. My name is Chris Hill, and I'll be blogging for you this Euroleague season from Charleroi, Belgium.

Where I come from, Indianapolis, Indiana, babies are given basketballs along with their bottles. It's the heart of basketball country, and if you don't believe me, you've never seen "Hoosiers"! This is my sixth season playing professionally in Europe. Before that, I played for Tom Izzo at Michigan State University from 2001 to 2005. (Big shout-out to all my SPARTAN DAWGS!) We went to the NCAA Final Four in 2005, losing to eventual champs North Carolina in the semifinals. There are a number of Spartan Dawgs playing in Europe; it's like running into family whenever I play against one of them. I started my pro career in France, a season each in Evreux (second division) and Clermont-Ferrand (first). I then spent a season in Bandirma, Turkey, playing for Banvit. From there I came to Belgium, where I have been for two-and-a-half years (Belgacom Liege in 2008-09 and Spirou since then). I've had quite an interesting, challenging and, at times, tumultuous professional career. It hasn't been the most direct and glamour-filled path to the "main stage" of European basketball, but I wouldn't change a thing. Helping my team secure a place in this year's Euroleague has been incredibly satisfying.

After three straight Belgian League titles, qualifying for the Euroleague was our first goal this year. To a solid nucleus of returning players - Justin... more
POSTED BY CHRIS HILL - CHARLEROI, BELGIUM
DATE: October 26, 2010