HoopsHype Sarunas Marciulionis rumors
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced today the 10 members of the Class of 2014 to be honored August 7-9, 2014 during this year's Enshrinement Ceremonies. This year's list includes Immaculata University's AIAW National Championship teams of the early 1970s, seven-time NBA All-Star Alonzo Mourning, 1994 Naismith, NABC Coach of the Year Nolan Richardson, six-time NBA All-Star Mitch Richmond and NCAA National Championship coach Gary Williams. They join the five directly elected members who were announced during the NBA All-Star Weekend in February by distinguished committees focused on preserving all areas from the game of basketball. They include Bob Leonard voted in from the American Basketball Association (ABA) Committee, Nat Clifton from the Early African American Pioneers Committee, Sarunas Marciulionis from the International Committee, Guy Rodgers from the Veterans Committee and David Stern from the Contributor Direct Election Committee. NBA.com
Beyond the long-running legacy of Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich will be attached to perhaps the most successful and accommodating system in NBA history for international talent. The San Antonio Spurs coach reminisced about his first international experience during last week’s visit to Boston. “My first year in the league was in ’88 with coach (Larry) Brown, and I didn’t know jack, but I knew I wanted to go overseas, so I begged him to let me go over for the ’88 European Championships in Koln, Germany,” Popovich said. “The only other NBA guy in the room was (Don Nelson). There was nobody else in there. That’s when he was bringing Sarunas Marciulionis back (from Lithuania). “I was like a kid in a candy store looking around,” he said. “That’s when Yugoslavia was Yugoslavia and they had that team. It was ridiculous. The Russians were really good when they were the Soviet Union; players everywhere. I knew early on it was a market we wanted to tap. That’s why we did (Tony) Parker at (pick No.) 28, and Manu (Ginobili) in the 50s, and (Luis) Scola after him. Boston Herald
Unfortunately, his time in the sun was brief. Marciulionis had similar success the next season for the Warriors in an injury-plagued year, then spent the final three seasons of his career with three teams before retiring. He did return for the 1996 Olympics, once again helping Lithuania to a bronze medal, giving him three Olympic medals in his international career. Marciulionis went on to thrive as a businessman after retirement, and now his legacy is secure. He helped foster basketball in a nation that has competed in six consecutive Olympics, winning three medals, and he and Sabonis, forever linked as Olympic teammates, are linked again as Hall of Famers. New York Times
Stern was elected by the contributors committee. Also directly elected to the Hall of Fame were Lithuania star Sarunas Marciulionis, former Indiana Pacers coach Bob "Slick" Leonard, former New York Knicks player Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton, and Guy Rodgers. NBA.com
The Lithuanian Sarunas Marciulionis is credited with bringing the Euro step to the N.B.A. He played with four teams in the 1990s before it became common for international players to join the N.B.A. Ginobili then perfected and popularized the move. In the recent preseason, several Nets practiced the Euro step in their layup line. DeMar DeRozan, a second-year guard for the Toronto Raptors, said he started using the move in high school in California after watching Ginobili pull it off. “It’s different,” DeRozan said. “It’s really different. You’re showing the illusion that you’re going one way and you’re really going another. It’s a creative move.” New York Times
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