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Blazers send Batum to Hornets for Vonleh, Henderson

Nicolas Batum

Nicolas Batum

 French forward Nicolas Batum was traded from the Portland Trail Blazers to the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday for NBA veteran guard Gerald Henderson and forward Noah Vonleh.

The deal was announced on the eve of the NBA Draft, where both clubs will try and land the best available young talent entering the league from the international and college ranks.

Batum started 428 of 481 appearances for the Trail Blazers, averaging 11.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 30.8 minutes a night. His 751 career 3-pointers rank third on Portland’s all-time list.

“NicBatum was a key contributor to all of our recent success,” said Neil Olshey, the Blazers’ president of basketball operations. “He will truly be missed as a person and a player. We wish Nic all the best for the future.”

Vonleh, 19, was taken with the ninth overall pick in last year’s draft by Charlotte. He averaged 3.3 points and 3.4 rebounds in 25 games for the Hornets last season.

Henderson has career averages of 12.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists over six seasons with Charlotte.

AFP

June 26, 2015 By : Category : English featured Tournament 0 Comment

APR BBC to miss trio ahead of Playoffs

APR BBC to miss trio ahead of Playoffs

FORMER LEAGUEchampions APR basketball club is set to miss three key players in the play-offs after they sustained injuries in the just concluded Genocide Memorial tournament (GMT) a fortnight ago.

APR BBC will face in-form Patriots BBC next month in the Play-offs competition without skipper and forward Parfait Ishimwe, point guard Pascal Niyonkuru and forward Ally Ruzigande all suffered ankle injuries, according to head coach Cliff Owuor.

This season alone, APR BBC has lost twice to newcomers Patriotsin the national league and if APR wins their last game against struggling 30-Plus on June 28, they will be assured of acing CyrilleKalima’s side for the third time this year.

APR and Cercle Sportif de Kigali (CSK) both have 29 points from 17 games but the military side ranks third courtesy of a better point average (points scored over points conceded)

Espoir and Ubumwe basketball club are the defending league champions in the men’s and women’s categories respectively.

June 25, 2015 By : Category : English featured Tournament Tags:
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Former NBA All-Star Kirilenko retires

Russian basketball player and former NBA All-Star Andrei Kirilenko announced on Tuesday that he was retiring from the sport. 

Russian basketball player and former NBA All-Star Andrei Kirilenko announced on Tuesday that he was retiring from the sport. 

“I am finishing up my career on court,” said the 34-year-old CSKA Moscow forward in an interview with the Russian daily Sport-Express.

He did not rule out, however, returning to the sport in the future.

“I have not said that this is my final decision. However, at the moment – yes, I have retired. I have had enough. I have had a successful career as a basketball player and the time has come to do something different,” he said.

Kirilenko started his career with Spartak St Petersburg, before moving to Russian giants CSKA Moscow. He then moved to the United States to join the Utah Jazz and was selected for the NBA All-Star game in 2004.

In recent years, Kirilenko has appeared for the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Brooklyn Nets in the NBA, before returning to Russia in February to link up once again with CSKA until the end of the 2014/15 season.

Kirilenko helped the Russian national team win the 2007 European Championships and a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics.

The Russian said he could be tempted by a leading role in the country’s basketball federation.

“Is it really possible that I could take over as the head of the Russian Basketball Federation? I can’t say for certain,” he said.

“There is a difficult situation in Russian basketball at the moment as there is a lot of negativity surrounding it. I would like to try and change something.”

June 25, 2015 By : Category : English featured Players Tags:,
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Reigning champions Espoir sink CSK

Olivier Shyaka scored a team high 30 Points to lead Espoir to a massive 102-88 win over CSK

Olivier Shyaka scored a team high 30 Points to lead Espoir to a massive 102-88 win over CSK

Reigning Basketball league champions Espoir thrashed rivals Cercle Sportif de Kigali (CSK) 102-88 as they surge to retain the national basketball league on Sunday.

The match which was staged at University of Rwanda’s College of Science and Technology courts saw Olivier Shyaka scoring a team high 30 points.

To Espoir, it was a well-deserved revenge after they lost to CSK 55-57 in the final of the local Genocide memorial tournament two weeks ago.

Shooting guard Lionnel Hakizimana added 17 points while team captain Aristide Muagabe contributed 15 points for Jean Bahufite’s team.

CSK’s Congolese forward Mike Buzangu scored a game high 35 points but his effort wasn’t enough to spare his team defeat.

CSK won the first quarter 26-25 but failed to keep the momentum and went on to lose the second and third 26-21 and 27-12, respectively, before former Rwanda international Buzangu led his side to an almost meaningless 29-24 final quarter win.

Elsewhere, Rusizi beat University of Rwanda’s College of Education (UR- CoE) 62-51, while Patriots snatched an away 65-59 win over University of Rwanda- College of Arts and Social Sciences (UR- CASS) on Saturday.

Matches played last weekend:

Thursday, 18th June 2015

1 PATRIOTS BC vs 30 Plus BBC 91 47

Saturday, 20th June 2015

2 UR-Huye BBC vs PATRIOTS BC 59 65

Sunday, 21st May 2015

3 RUSIZI BBC vs UR-CE BBC 62 51

4 ESPOIR BBC vs CSK BBC 102 88

5 IPRC-Kigali BBC vs IPRC-South BBC 61 73

National Basketball League Standings

1 ESPOIR BBC 17 16/1 0 33 1258 912 1,38

2 Patriots BC 18 14/4 0 32 1287 935 1,38

3 APR BBC 17 12/5 0 29 1108 892 1,24

4 CSK BBC 17 12/5 0 29 1216 1041 1,17

5 IPRC-South BBC 18 10/8 0 28 1160 1070 1,08

6 IPRC-Kigali BBC 16 9/7 0 25 1042 892 1,17

7 RUSIZI BC 18 6/12 0 24 951 1268 0,75

8 UR-Huye BBC 18 4/14 0 22 944 1112 0,85

9 30 Plus BBC 17 2/15 0 19 798 1165 0,68

10 UR-CE BBC 18 1/16 1 18 675 1204 0,56

June 23, 2015 By : Category : English featured Tournament 0 Comment

Ezeli, latest African-born to win a NBA title

Festus Ezeli

Festus Ezeli

Nigerian Festus Ezeli has endured the entire 2013-14 season on the sidelines due to a knee injury that seemed to ruin his NBA career, but what happened next was a reward for his resilience to adversity.

Some critics often compared Ezeli’s health to former Portland Trail Blazers’ number 1 pick Greg Oden, who missed his first season due to a knee injury, and continues to battle health issues.

Although Ezeli has played only 46 regular-season games in 2014-15 – he spent some time with the D-League team Santa Cruz Warriors – he returned to action as a backup centre for Andrew Bogut, stepping up when in mattered most to earn his first NBA ring as the Golden State Warriors claimed their second championship title since 1975.

In Game 6 of the best-of-season Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Ezeli came off the bench powered in 10 points, had four rebounds and came up with a tremendous putback dunk in almost 11 minutes to help the Golden State Warriors extend their lead to 13 points in the third quarter and closed out the series with a 105-97 win.

What happened next was celebration for the first Nigerian-born to win a NBA title since Hakeem Olajuwon sparked the Houston Rockets to a back-to-back championship in 1995.

While Olajuwon was a prolific scorer and defender, Ezeli is primarily a backup defense force.

Gearing up to the Finals, the 25-year-old revealed how the Warriors became such a terrific team. At the time he said: “We have worked too hard this year. Whatever you have you have got to bring it on the floor.”

An excellent ending of the season for Ezeli, a Vanderbilt University graduate, who parents wanted him to become a doctor. Instead Ezeli embraced basketball and was selected 30th overall by the Golden State Warriors in 2012 along with Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes who became pivotal for the Warriors success.

In his second playoffs appearance the 2.11m centre averaged 3.5 points and 3.1 rebounds per games.

As well as being the latest Nigerian-born to win the Larry O’Brien trophy, Ezeli is also the last African-born to win a NBA trophy since Congolese, Kinshasa-native, Didier Ilunga-Mbenga who helped the Los Angeles Lakers win back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010.

Supersport

June 23, 2015 By : Category : English featured Players 0 Comment

Kigali : Le tournoi Mémorial Gisembe du 12 au 14 juin en photos

Les Rwandais d’Espoir BBC et les Burundaises de Berco Stars, ont remporté la coupe de ce tournoi de cette année.

Kigali : Le tournoi Mémorial Gisembe du 12 au 14 juin en photos

Kigali : Le tournoi Mémorial Gisembe du 12 au 14 juin en photos

Kigali : Le tournoi Mémorial Gisembe du 12 au 14 juin en photosKigali : Le tournoi Mémorial Gisembe du 12 au 14 juin en photos

Kigali : Le tournoi Mémorial Gisembe du 12 au 14 juin en photos

Kigali : Le tournoi Mémorial Gisembe du 12 au 14 juin en photos

Kigali : Le tournoi Mémorial Gisembe du 12 au 14 juin en photos

Kigali : Le tournoi Mémorial Gisembe du 12 au 14 juin en photos

Kigali : Le tournoi Mémorial Gisembe du 12 au 14 juin en photos

Kigali : Le tournoi Mémorial Gisembe du 12 au 14 juin en photos

Kigali : Le tournoi Mémorial Gisembe du 12 au 14 juin en photos

Kigali : Le tournoi Mémorial Gisembe du 12 au 14 juin en photos

Kigali : Le tournoi Mémorial Gisembe du 12 au 14 juin en photos

Kigali : Le tournoi Mémorial Gisembe du 12 au 14 juin en photos

Kigali : Le tournoi Mémorial Gisembe du 12 au 14 juin en photos

June 22, 2015 By : Category : featured Uncategorized Tags:
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A look at Iguodala’s NBA Finals MVP award

Andre Iguodala

Andre Iguodala

After eleven years in the NBA, Andre Iguodala has finally won a championship, closing out the season as the MVP of the 2015 NBA Finals.

The award was a deserving one for a man who boosted the Golden State Warriors’ game in key moments against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Iguodala, who was a reserve throughout the entire regular-season and had started 758 consecutive games, came up with timely defense and offensive plays when the Warriors needed him most.

In an attempt to disrupt the Cavaliers’ game, first-year coach Steve Kerr reshaped his line-up, inserting Iguodala in the place of Andrew Bogut, moving Draymond Green to the centre position.

Iguodala was excellent against the Cavaliers in Game 4 of the Finals, and the result was nothing the Cavaliers expected.

Iguodala, a versatile 6-feet-6 forward who has played for three different NBA teams (Philadelphia, Denver and Golden State), was tasked to defend a stronger 6-feet-8 LeBron James for most of the series.

He not only did well defensively, but he also excelled in the offense end, contributing a team-high 25 points in the decisive Game 6 of the Finals.

The 31-year-old finished the series with averages of 16.3 points, four assists and 5.8 rebounds, and at some point in the series Kerr branded Iguodala as the Warriors best player for his sacrifices for the team.

When asked if he was surprised by the award, Iguodala replied: “I’m not surprised because I’m that confident in my game.

“I’m too hard on myself most of the time. I’m not surprised, but I would have bet on Steph [Curry]. I would have bet on Draymond. Draymond’s been great for us all year.”

It was the first time that a player who has not started any regular-season, won the MVP of the Finals.

The historic achievement also marks the first time that the Finals MVP has been on the same team as the regular-season MVP (Stephen Curry) since Magic Johnson claimed the Finals honour in 1980 while playing on a Los Angeles Lakers team with regular-season MVP Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Iguodala was asked to sum up his season.

“I think all those years and going through everything I went through, the good and the bad, can prepare you for this moment,” he said.

“Being in Philly [Philadelphia] I had some teams – we were a very close group. I think we maximised our talent.

That’s helped me a lot here with just telling these guys, listen, I’ve been on teams that we’ve been close knit and it helped us just getting to the playoffs because we weren’t the most talented, but we got there because we played so hard together. I said, you just imagine our talent and our cohesiveness in putting it together, the results that can come from that.”

Iguodala beat LeBron James by a vote of 7-4 while reigning regular season MVP Stephen Curry did not receive a single vote.

June 20, 2015 By : Category : English featured Tags:,
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Curry, Iguodala lift Warriors to end 40-year NBA title drought

The Golden State Warriors celebrate winning the 2015 NBA Finals on June 16, 2015 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio 

The Golden State Warriors celebrate winning the 2015 NBA Finals on June 16, 2015 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio

An emotional Golden State Warriors squad captured its first NBA title in 40 years on Tuesday, holding off the Cleveland Cavaliers 105-97 to win the NBA Finals.

NBA regular season Most Valuable Player Steph Curry and NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Andre Iguodala each scored 25 points as the Warriors took the best-of-seven series four games to two to claim their first crown since 1975 and fourth overall.

“World champions,” Curry said. “This is something special. This is a special group. From the start of the season this is what we envisioned. We’re going to remember this for a long time.”

Iguodala spent 758 games as a starter before being consigned to a reserve role this season, only to become a starter for Golden State in the final three games.

The move produced a faster lineup that sparked the Warriors to wins in each game to subdue the stubborn Cavaliers.

“This is awesome,” Iguodala said. “This is what we talked about, staying strong, staying with it. They kept fighting. This is unreal.”

Iguodala saved his scoring season-high for the trophy-clinching game while Draymond Green added 16 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for Golden State in the decider.

“This is great,” Iguodala said. “We’re going to remember this for a long time.”

Curry joined Magic Johnson and Bob Cousy as the only point guards to win the regular-season NBA MVP award and capture the league title in the same season, a thrill he shared with his father Dell, a former NBA standout who never claimed the crown.

“He played 16 years and never got the chance to enjoy this,” Curry said. “He can enjoy this through me and the whole team. Unimaginable feeling.”

Cleveland’s LeBron James scored 32 points, grabbed 18 rebounds and passed out nine assists to lead the Cavaliers, who could not bring Cleveland its first sports title since 1964.

James fell to 2-4 in NBA Finals appearance, a far cry from the 6-0 mark prior NBA superstar Michael Jordan had in the finals.

NO EXPERIENCE NEEDED

Golden State became the first team since the 1991 Chicago Bulls to win a title with no players having prior NBA Finals experience and Steve Kerr became the first rookie coach to capture the crown since Pat Riley with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1982.

“It’s a great feeling,” Kerr said. “From the beginning we were in it to win it.”

James, 30, became the youngest by a year to join the 5,000 career NBA playoff points club alongside Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Shaquille O’Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Cleveland trimmed a 13-point Golden State lead after the first quarter to 45-43 at half-time and began the third quarter with baskets by TimofeyMozgov and Tristan Thompson to give the Cavaliers their first lead since the early minutes.

But the Warriors answered with a 24-8 scoring run, Iguodala scoring seven points while Festus Ezeli scored the last six points, the Nigerian’s 3-point play giving Golden State a 69-55 advantage.

Down 75-61 early in the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers went on a 7-0 run, James contributing a layup and fast break dunk to halve the Warriors’ lead.

CURRY SHINES

But Curry and Iguodala each had two 3-pointers to spark Golden State on a 17-9 run for a 92-77 edge with 6:01 to play.

Again Cleveland battled back. J.R. Smith added three 3-pointers and James a layup to pull the Cavs within 101-97 with 33 seconds remaining, but Curry and Iguodala sank late free throws to seal the victory.

Curry scored seven consecutive points to give Golden State an early 13-8 edge and the Warriors closed the first quarter with an 11-2 run for a 28-15 lead. The Cavaliers made nine turnovers in the first quarter while the Warriors shared 11 assists in pulling away.

James and reserve James Jones each scored five points in a 12-4 run to open the second quarter, pulling the Cavaliers within 32-27. The Warriors missed nine shots in a row and 10 of their first 11 in the period.

Cleveland closed the first half with an 8-2 run, Thompson’s rebound dunk pulling the Cavaliers within 45-43 at half-time.

June 19, 2015 By : Category : English featured Tournament Tags:,
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NBA: James ‘as good as we’ve ever seen’ – Magic

LeBron James

LeBron James

The performance by LeBron James in the thrilling NBA Finals ranks near the top all-time, says Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, adding he felt “sick” that the series was over.

“For a basketball junkie like I am, I just loved it,” Johnson told ESPN Radio on Wednesday about the series claimed 4-2 by the Golden State Warriors over James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“I was actually sick that the series is over,” added Johnson, who won five NBA title rings with the Los Angeles Lakers. “It was just truly greatness, and right in front of our eyes.

“It was a true delight and pleasure for me to watch Stephen Curry and LeBron James play in this series. Steph Curry is probably the greatest shooter we have ever seen. LeBron was the best player in the series. He dominated the series.”

Johnson said James raised his game to a new level, as he became the first to lead all players in an NBA Finals in points, assists and rebounds.

“This is as good as we’ve ever seen. It won’t be the top because he did lose. So we’re going to have to still go with (Michael) Jordan as one, but now he can probably take No 2 spot. It will be 1-A Jordan and 1-B LeBron,” Johnson said.

Despite Johnson’s comments, James did not win the Most Valuable Player award for the series. Instead, it went to Golden State’s Andre Iguodala, who received seven of 11 votes from the voting panel.

Playing without injured teammates Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, James nearly lifted undermanned Cleveland to the city’s first major professional team title in 50 years.

“Cleveland, get ready. You’re going to win probably two championships at least with this guy.

“It won’t be too long that you’ll be celebrating and you’ll have confetti coming down on their heads and the city will just be going crazy,” he said.

Some oddsmakers agree.

Cleveland was made an early 3-1 favourite to win next year’s NBA title by Bovada, rating them ahead of Golden State 5-1, Oklahoma City 7-1 and Chicago, LA Clippers and San Antonio, all at 10-1.

June 19, 2015 By : Category : English featured Players Tags:,
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Ferwaba renews contract for U-16 basketball team coaches

Albert Buhake

Albert Buhake

Rwanda basketball federation has given two-year contracts to U-16 national basketball teams coaches (boys and girls) following their prowess in the just concluded Zone V qualifiers.

The development was confirmed by Rwanda Basketball Federation president Desire Mugwiza on Wednesday evening.

The coaches include former Kicukiro BC and KIE player, Albert Buhake, 43, is in charge of the boys’ team and is assisted by Jacques Bahige, while Charles Mushumba coaches the girls’ team and has two assistants, Dusabimana Eric and EspéranceMukaneza.

Rwanda U-16 boys’ team qualified for the continental championships for the first time after defeating Ethiopia in the Zone V qualifiers that attracted only two teams last month at Amahoro indoor stadium.

The girls’ team qualified for the Afro-basket tourney without playing the Zone V qualifiers after the other member countries failed to send teams.

June 19, 2015 By : Category : English featured Tournament Tags:,
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