ISSUE 08 SUMMER 2012
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH
> INSIDE > REGULARS 10 | OVERTIME
Ryan Richards ditches GB for Jamaica, and news of new BBL teams.
12 | MARK’S VIEW POINT
Why plans for more regular international games throughout the year should be tossed out.
56 | GALLERY
Nike’s amazing basketball court regeneration project in south London.
64 | FASHION
What to wear, if summer hangs around!
70 | MUSIC
Why the former Shady Records rapper, Obie Trice, feels he can relate to LeBron James.
72 | WORK OUT
The no-nonsense guide to increasing your vertical leap.
> OLYMPICS 24 | SHOT CALLER
Meet the man on the mic at this summer’s Olympic basketball games.
26 | JO LEEDHAM
She’s pushed through the pain. Now it’s time for Ellemere Port’s finest to show the world what see can really do.
30 | JOSE CALDERON
The point guard eyes the one prize that’s eluded Spain’s golden generation.
34 | LUOL DENG TOP TO BOTTOM: NBA/GETTY, NICK HAYES, ADRIAN NETTLESHIP FRONT COVER: COMPOSITE IMAGE BY JAMES BOUGHTON, IMAGES FROM NIKE.COM, MANSOOR AHMED, FIBA EUROPE/JF MOLLIERE
The GB star tells us why he’s determined to make the UK proud this summer.
42 | WHAT DREAMS MAY COME
Can USA (v.2012) ever match the 1992 Dream Team?
46 | TEAM BY TEAM GUIDE
MVP’s breakdown of who’s who at the Summer Games.
54 | OLYMPIC PREDICTIONS Our panel of experts gaze into their crystal balls!
> FEATURES 14 | NCAA
Kentucky are finger lickin’ good in the US college championship.
16 | EUROLEAGUE
Olympiakos beat the odds - plus details of London’s upcoming Euro adventure.
18 | BBL
Can the Newcastle Eagles keep fire in their bellies after completing a clean sweep?
20 | NBA
LeBron silences the Thunder and delivers on his promise to bring a title to Miami.
22 | CALI COMEBACK?
What do the once great Lakers need to do to get back on top?
MVP ISSUE 9 OUT OCT 18 2012
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SUMMER 2012 07
> NCAA FINAL FOUR
Kentucky’s young stars were unstoppable en route to the NCAA Championship. But with most of them jumping to the NBA this summer, Coach Cal is already planning ahead.
t’s a competition that’s made its name with Cinderella stories, underdog upsets and buzzer-beating finishes. But the Championship game of this year’s NCAA Tournament didn’t provide any of that, as the number one seed Kentucky Wildcats bulldozed their way to victory. UK’s dominance was certainty impressive -- they won their six tournament games by an average of 12 points. But even more remarkable was the fact that they did it by starting three freshmen and two sophomores. Of course, those players were among the top-rated recruits in the country when they arrived in Lexington. But coach John Calipari had recruited similarly talented teams in the previous few years, and they hadn’t been
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able to get it done in the latter stages of the Big Dance. But this time, Kentucky’s youngsters weren’t fazed by the big moment. In the semi-final against local rivals Louisville, they led by 13 early in the second half before the dogged Cardinals tied it up with nine minutes to play. The young Wildcats, hot favourites going into the Final Four, could have easily crumbled. But instead, 18 year-old Michael Kidd-Gilchrist made back-toback baskets to give Kentucky the lead again, and Big Blue were in control from then on. The title game against Kansas began in similar fashion. Kentucky led by 18 late in the first half - their outside shots were falling and they were getting to the line. Anthony Davis’ jumpshot - he missed his first nine attempts - was the only blemish on an outstanding first half. Star forward Thomas Robinson aside, Kansas couldn’t match Kentucky for talent. But just as they’d done in their semi-final victory over Ohio State - when KU centre Jeff Withey shut down Buckeyes star Jared Sullinger - the Jayhawks defended like demons and dragged themselves back into the game with gritty, scrappy play.
WORDS MATT CLEAR PHOTO CHRIS GRAYTHEN/ GETTY IMAGES
“ I WOULD LIKE TO COACH AN UNDEFEATED TEAM ” COACH JOHN CALIPARI
They chipped away at the deficit until it was down to five with a minute and a half remaining - and had missed some good opportunities that could have made the game even closer. This time, though, Calipari’s team kept their cool, making their free throws down their stretch to seal a 6759 victory. Kentucky’s big men hampered Robinson, just as Kansas had kept Sullinger in check two nights earlier. The 6-10 forward made six of his 17 shots en route to his hardest-earned 18 points of the season. With Robinson unable to dominate as he normally would, Kansas just didn’t have enough firepower. Kentucky had no such problem. Guard Doron Lamb made it rain from downtown, finishing with a game-high 22. Backcourt partner Marquis Teague had 14, and Kidd-Gilchrist added 11. And the most dominant player on the floor finished the game with a single made basket. Anthony Davis, the national player of year, was majestic. He blocked six shots, made the paint a no-go zone for Kansas, and forced three steals. He grabbed 16 boards and displayed a deft passing touch with five assists. It didn’t matter that he couldn’t buy a bucket - there was no question at all about who would be named Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. “He was terrific,” said Kansas coach Bill Self afterwards. “The basket he made [a 15footer with five minutes to play] was one of the biggest baskets of the game.” The championship was Calipari’s first in 24 years as a head coach. He’d lost in the Final Four in 1996, 2008 and 2011. But most of the Wildcats’ key players won’t be around to defend their title next year. Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist, Teague, Lamb, Terrence Jones and sixth man Darius Miller were all up for Draft duty. Time to go pro, they said in unison. Still, Calipari isn’t merely looking to rebuild next season. His goal for the future, after losing his entire starting five? “I would like to coach an undefeated team,” he told ESPN. With another No. 1 recruiting class coming into Lexington in the autumn, don’t rule it out, he says. “We’ll sit down and just say, ‘How can we keep separating?’ There’s some things we’re thinking about doing, if I said them to you right now, some of you would be very angry,” he said. “Because we’re going to do some new things that are different, and you’re going to look at and say, ‘When did they have the time to think this stuff up?’ “ MVP
> NBA FINALS
Nearly two years after The Decision, LeBron James finally gets The Result he wanted, as the Miami Heat beat the Oklahoma City Thunder to win the NBA Championship.
espite the 3 MVP awards, the ridiculous stats and being - let’s face it - the greatest player in the game for the last couple of years, LeBron James has had to endure a constant stream of criticism about not having a Championship ring. Not anymore. LBJ - who famously under-performed in last year’s Finals against the Dallas Mavericks - was sublime throughout the series against OKC, in particular in the closing Game 5, as he put in a triple double performance (26 points, 11 rebounds, 13 assists) to help the Heat clinch a 4-1 series blowout with a 121-106 win. Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade - the other members of the Big Three, who sat alongside James as he promised titles at his Miami welcoming party two summers ago - both had strong streaks too. Bosh, who broke down in tears as the Heat left their own court after losing Game 6 last year, finished with 24 points and Wade scored 20. The Heat also got a huge boost from Mike Miller, who made seven 3-pointers and scored 23 points. “It’s about damn time!” James exclaimed after the game. “It means everything. I made a difficult decision to leave Cleveland but I understood what my future was about. I knew we had a bright future [in Miami]. This is a dream come true for me. This is definitely when it pays off.” OKC’s Kevin Durant had 32 points and 11 rebounds in the losing effort. But with Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and James Harden all 23 or younger, the Thunder have the pieces in place for a lengthy stay at the top of the Western Conference. But the Heat will be waiting. Dynasty anyone? MVP
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WordS Greg Tanner Photo NBA/Getty
“ It’s about damn time! ” LeBron James
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> JO LEEDHAM
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SUMMER 2012 27
> LUOL DENG
GREAT BRITAIN’S MEN MIGHT NOT LEAVE LONDON WITH A MEDAL AROUND THEIR NECKS. THERE ARE, SAYS LUOL DENG, OTHER WAYS TO LEAVE A GOOD IMPRESSION. WORDS MARK WOODS PHOTOS FAST TRACK/MANSOOR AHMED/BRITISH BASKETBALL
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> LONDON 2012 PATTY MILLS
WORDS GREG TANNER MICHELLE HENRY PHOTOS FIBA EUROPE / FIBA
WHO’S HOT? WHO’S NOT? WHO’S IN WITH A SHOT? WHO WILL FLOP? HERE’S MVP’S TEAM BY TEAM GUIDE TO THE OLYMPICS. 46 MVP ISSUE 08
MEN ’S GUIDE ARGENTINA COACH: Julio Lamas NATIONAL HERO: Manu Ginobili HOW THEY GOT HERE: Won 2011 FIBA Americas Championship BEST OLYMPIC RESULT: Gold (2004) The squad still features three of the players who led Argentina to Gold at Athens back in 2004 (Manu Ginobili, Luis Scola and Andres Nocioni) - but, with an average age of 32, the south American team may struggle to medal in London. That said, Ginobili reminded everyone during this summer’s NBA play-offs that he is still an elite player, and Scola is still a solid big. But keep an eye out too for Pablo Prigioni - the Real Madrid point guard who can score in a hurry. MVP FORECAST: Semi-finals
AUSTRALIA COACH: Brett Brown NATIONAL HERO: Patty Mills HOW THEY GOT HERE: Won 2011 FIBA Oceania Championship BEST OLYMPIC RESULT: 4th – 3 times The Boomers will be without star centre Andrew Bogut, who’s hobbled by an ankle injury. But they have a host of
other talent that should almost certainly get them out of the first round. San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Brett Brown will be counting on point guard Patty Mills (also at the Spurs this season) to run the show - but much will also be asked of Barcelona forward Joey Ingles, Panathinaikos centre Aleks Maric, Valencia big Andrew Ogivy and Lietuvos Rytas forward Brad Newly. MVP FORECAST: Quarter-finals
In the back court, the Indiana Pacers’ lightning-quick Leandro Barbosa will be too fast for most to guard, and Barcelona PG Marcelinho Huertas is a seasoned pro more than capable of running the team smoothly. We’re predicting a quarter-finals exit - but semis is certainly not out of the question. MVP FORECAST: Quarter-finals
COACH: Bob Donewald NATIONAL HERO: Yi Jianlian HOW THEY GOT HERE: Won 2011 FIBA Asia Championship BEST OLYMPIC RESULT: 8th – 3 times Strangely, many basketball fans think China is a far stronger team than it actually is. But the Yao Ming days are now long gone, and the team’s poor showing at the Olympic Test Event last summer showed just how heavily they rely on Dallas Mavericks forward Yi Jianlian. Unless former BBL coach Bob Donewald has something pretty special up his sleeve, we don’t see the Chinese making much progress in the competition. MVP FORECAST: First round
COACH: Ruben Magnano NATIONAL HERO: Nenê HOW THEY GOT HERE: Runners up 2011 FIBA Americas Championship BEST OLYMPIC RESULT: Bronze – 3 times Brazil haven’t won any silverware at either the Olympics or World Championships for over 30 years. But with a healthy dose of NBA talent, they should fare reasonably well in London this summer. Their front court is strong - anchored by the Washington Wizards’ Nene and San Antonio’s versatile big Tiago Splitter. Coming off the bench is Cleveland Cavaliers’ fan favourite Anderson Varejeo - who was having a career year until a wrist injury ended it in February.
LUIS SCOLA SUMMER 2012 47
> THE REGAL
PHOTOS ADRIAN NETTLESHIP
COURTS Nike launches ‘The Regal’ - an amazing new basketball facility in south London.
ix years after it built the Jordan court at Lillian Baylis Old School, Nike has just unveiled the latest addition to the site. ‘The Regal’ - so named to signify its ambition to become the hub of basketball in London boasts a stunning, fully-sprung, black wooden floor with basketball only markings. At either end of the court hang gold plated hoops with tinted glass backboards and LED shot clocks. The surrounding walls feature bespoke designed flock effect wallpaper with a subtle basketball motif, alongside a motivational quote from Luol Deng. The finishing touches include a display of ten unique basketball jerseys celebrating British and international heroes of the game. Offering seating for 158 spectators, the space has been designed as a dedicated basketball centre with the objective to grow the game in London and the UK. It most certainly is a court fit for a king. MVP
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