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Thursday, May 6, 2010
Many former teammates exchanged embraces as Regal FC Barcelona took the floor and CSKA Moscow finished practice on Thursday evening, but it was CSKA center Pops Mensah-Bonsu who proved to be one of the main attractions of the open media session that coincided with the practice crossover. Mensah-Bonsu briefly played for DKV Joventut alongside Barcelona superstar Ricky Rubio last season and the pair talked on the court for a bit. Mensah-Bonsu let the CSKA gameplan slip when asked about the semifinal. "What do we have to do to beat Barcelona? Score more points than them, of course!" Erazem Lorbek and Terence Morris had the chance to greet their former CSKA teammates in between practices, while Pete Mickeal and Zoran Planinic also had the chance to see each other and reminisce about the year they played at Tau Ceramica, when they made it to the 2008 Final Four. The most requested Barcelona player by the 100 or more journalists in attendance was reigning Euroleague MVP Juan Carlos Navarro, while the media’s eyes were also on CSKA's Ramunas Siskauskas. Navarro and Siskauskas are two of the 10 nominees for the All-Euroleague First Team that will be named at the Final Four Awards Ceremony at the Hotel de Ville on Saturday night. In the second session on Thursday night, opponents from the later semifinal, Partizan Belgrade and Olympiacos Piraeus, shared time with the media between their practices. Certainly All-Euroleague nominee Josh Childress was looking relaxed as he drained three-pointers again and again despite his red mouthguard protruding from his mouth. But if there was one sight that even impressed a media swarm used to covering basketball was the arrival of 2.29-meter center Slavko Vranes of Partizan. Even in a sport known for tall people, he towered over the scene almost like one of the baskets. When he sat down to be interviewed on camera, the seat underneath him was not visible and his basketball shoes blocked an entire aisle. Vranes, it goes without saying, is the tallest player ever to participate in a Final Four, so all eyes will be on him in Friday's semifinal, too!
Posted on Thursday, May 6 @ 22:09
Under rows of chandeliers and a vaulted ceiling full of frescoes in the ornate Hotel de Ville, the city hall of Paris, the official Opening Press Conference of the 2010 Final Four was held on Thursday, bringing together many of the hundreds of media accredited to cover the event this weekend with the protagonists of the Euroleague season. The media were welcomed by representatives of AEG and Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy, who with Euroleague Basketball brought the event to the French capital, and representatives of the French Basketball Federation, a valuable partner of the Final Four. "We are all going to do our best to offer you a great event," Euroleague Basketball CEO Jordi Bertomeu said.
With that, the floor belonged to the head coaches and one star from each of the Final Four teams. "We are happy to be here for the second consecutive year with the best four clubs of the season, and we are hoping to be the one holding the cup on Sunday night," said Regal FC Barcelona head coach Xavi Pascual. He was followed by a Final Four first-timer, Evgeniy Pashutin of CSKA Moscow, who said: "It was a really tough seaosn for us, so we are proud to be here, because the Euroleague is the best competition in Europe and a great celebration of basketball with the best spectators here. In my opinion, every team has a good chance to win."
Among the players was Dusan Kecman of Partizan, who is defending a title he won with Panathinaikos last season. "Partizan is the youngest team in the Euroleague and at this Final Four," Kecman said. "We already made a great success to be here with such teams as Barcelona, CSKA and Olympiacos. We will try to do our best to make one more surprise." For Olympiacos, superstar Josh Childress said his team's experience of coming close in last year's semifinal will serve the Reds well this weekend. "The primary lesson we learned last year is to try to finish games," Childress said. "It came down to the last possession in the semifinal last year, and it didn't go our way. It was a great experience, and this second time here, I'm looking for another good experience for myself and the team, and I hope this time we come out with the victory." The only teenager on the stage, Ricky Rubio of Regal FC Barcelona, said his age is not a factor when it comes to running his team as point guard. "When a player is on the court, the other player doesn't look at whether you are 15 or 35: he still wants to kill you," Rubio said. "The most important thing is to be yourself, but I am lucky to have many older teammates who are always helping me." The other end of the spectrum was Trajan Langdon of CSKA Moscow, about to play in his fifth consecutive Final Four. "I'm extremely blessed to play for an organization like CSKA that has made every season and every Final Four a great experience, whether we won finished on top or came very close. Obviously, the Final Four is a lot of pressure, but even though we play against a confident team like Barcelona in the semifinal, we have confidence in ourselves as well. We are prepared and going to play 40 minutes to win."
Posted on Thursday, May 6 @ 12:51
The majestic Hospital Salpetriere in the Parisian neighborhood of Austerlitz was the scene this Thursday morning of an inspiring event that showed once again how the international language of basketball can bring smiles to the faces of disadvantaged children. Eight players form the Final Four teams took time out from their preparations for one of the biggest games of their lives on Friday to help dedicate a new basketball court for the young patients at the hospital. An estimated 70 children were on hand to play alongside some of the biggest stars in the sport, receive gifts of basketballs and backpacks, and most importantly, enjoy brand new baskets provided by Euroleague official sponsor Mondo. The baskets will stay behind as the first, gleaming examples of an overall refurbishment of the sports facilities used at the hospital as both recreation and therapy. What will go with the players is the feeling of having done something extra special as part of the Final Four. "I think that the players get as much or more out of this as the kids," Regal FC Barcelona forward Jordi Trias said after playing with the children. "Just to see the smiles on their faces tells you that sport is enough to lift up these kids for a day, and hopefully, they will keep enjoying basketball more from now on. We are all focused on our games, yes, but to relax and spend some time with these children puts everything in perspective."
Posted on Thursday, May 6 @ 12:08
The 2010 Euroleague Final Four will have an unprecedented coverage worldwide - and the competition's broadcast partner Mediapro has stepped up to take the challenge. The Final Four will enjoy record coverage that reaches a total of 194 countries through 57 different broadcasters, but just as usual, Mediapro will produce the signal delivered all around the world. Mediapro brought 40 workers to deliver the signal as Host Broadcaster for Canal + France and the Euroleague. Mediapro has a long relationship with the Euroleague since its very beginning back in 2000. It has also produced every single Euroleague game played in France in the last seven years, among several other events in this country. The 2010 Final Four will have as many as 15 cameras to broadcast every game from all angles and 15 broadcast spots for right holders. A cutting edge graphic systems will all kind of data and video material pre-produced by Mediapro will be included in each game broadcast. The signal will be distributed through Overon to all five continents, as well as on Euroleague TV. Add a group of basketball experts led by legendary broadcaster Flavio Tranquillo - the voice of basketball in Italy acting as the added producer for the world feed for the 5th consecutive year- including former Fortitudo Bologna International scout Marco Martelli and Sky Italy's basketball strengh Alessandro Scipioni - and we are set for an incredible coverage that will make Euroleague fans watching the games on TV feel as close
Posted on Thursday, May 6 @ 10:41
Paris is abuzz with basketball fever as the first official events of the 2010 Final Four start rolling out on Thursday morning. First up, two players from each Final Four team will join Euroleague official sponsor Mondo at the rededication of a basketball court at Hospital Salpetriere in Paris. The event continues a custom of giving back to the local Final Four host community within the ongoing social responsibilities of Euroleague For Life. Representing the Euroleague teams will be: Boni Ndong and Jordi Trias of Regal FC Barcelona, Petar Bozic and Jan Vesely of Partizan Belgrade, Panagiotis Vasilopoulos and Yotam Halperin of Olympiacos Piraeus and Andrey Vorontsevich and Pops-Mensah Bonsu of CSKA Moscow. Immediately following the hospital visit will be the Final Four Official Press Conference with the head coaches and one player from each team meeting with some of the 491 accredited media at Hotel de Ville, the ornate city hall that is one of the symbols of Paris. Later Thursday, all teams will hold official practices on the main floor at Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy to get ready for Friday's semifinals.
Posted on Thursday, May 6 @ 9:32
Friday, May 07, 2010
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SEMIFINALS - FRIDAY, MAY 6, 2011
Panathinaikos vs. Montepaschi, 18:00 CET
Maccabi Electra vs. Real Madrid, 21:00 CET
3RD PLACE - SUNDAY, MAY 8, 2011
Loser 1 vs. Loser 2, 13:30 CET
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Winner 1 vs. Winner 2, 16:30 CET
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