The new Ukrainian basketball federation president Mikhail Brodskiy confirmed that Evgen Murzin is going to be the new coach of the national team for the upcoming Eurobasket and the big bet now is called Alex Len. The new president is trying to lure the center of the Phoenix Suns and make him the new star of the team in the post coach Fratello era.
American head coach Mike Fratello won’t lead the Ukrainian National Team at Eurobasket 2015. The coach leaves the bench of Ukraine.
Alex Len’s grandparents can hear the gunfire from their home in eastern Ukraine, where Russian-backed separatists have been in fierce fighting with Ukrainian forces. Local police have abandoned his hometown, leaving gangs to roam the streets and terrorize residents. A half-world away, the 21-year-old center is showing he belongs in the NBA, displaying the skills that led the Phoenix Suns chose him fifth overall in the 2013 draft. “When I play it’s like a different world, just basketball,” he said. “Definitely off the court it’s sad. …Two years ago it was one country. Now all of a sudden people divide, separate themselves, like we’re different.”
And back home, the fighting goes on despite a supposed cease fire in a war Len knew was “getting worse each day.” He chooses no side. “I’m Ukrainian and I won’t go against Russia, too. I’m right in the middle,” Len said. “I just want peace for everybody. I just don’t want people to die.”
He has brought his mother to live with him. His grandparents came for a short time, but the culture change was too much for them, he said, so they returned home. “My grandparents right now are right in the middle of a war zone,” he said. “I tried to get them to stay over here, but you know how old people are. For them it was too big a change.” No one in his family has been hurt in the fighting, Len said, “thank God.”
“Some NBA players will come [to Eurobasket] others will not, but we don’t have that many NBA players in Ukraine. “We used to have Slava [Viacheslav Kravtsov] in the NBA, who is now playing in China and we have a young player right now, [Phoenix Suns center] Alex Len, who has not yet played for the national team.
The cautious Fratello will not be drawn into predictions or thoughts about Ukraine’s chances in this group so soon before the draw for the tournament was made clear, and especially before he has a good idea on the composition of his team’s roster. “If you ask how many games can we win in this group, I think the preparation is going to be very important, for any of these teams,” he said. “If I could tell you right now who is going to show up and play for us in the summer, it would make it easier to talk about my team.”
He estimated he spends three or four hours a day communicating on Skype with family and friends to keep up to date on what’s happening with them and with his country. “It’s a huge concern for me,” he said. “If the conflict will resolve itself, I’ll be the happiest person in the world.” He was asked if it was unsettling to watch his country being split by the crisis. “It is. I think war is the outdated solution to any conflict,” said Fesenko, a 2007 second-round pick by Philadelphia who was traded to Utah and played four seasons for the Jazz. He hasn’t played regularly in the NBA since 2011. “It’s just ridiculous and stupid and I’m very worried about my mom, my wife, all my friends. Two of my friends already enlisted in the army and I really don’t want that to happen. I’m all up for fighting the good cause, but I just don’t want to lose any of my childhood friends.”
He is a half-world away from a home he last visited in August, but he’s reminded of the conflict every time he thinks of a neighbor who was killed when a Malaysia Airlines jet mistakenly was shot down over the country in July. “It was really tragic. That’s when it actually finally hit me that it’s for real,” Fesenko said. “That it’s not somewhere out there.”
Fesenko says he wants to reclaim an NBA job so he can bring his mother, wife and other relatives to the United States from his hometown in Ukraine, the divided, strife-torn Eastern European country in which Fesenko was born on Christmas Eve 1986 and raised. His hometown of Dnipropetrovsk is far from the disputed portions of Ukraine, a four-hour drive that has brought refugees but no fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists to the industrial central region of the country where his mother and wife live. Fesenko and his wife were married in June.
Jorge Sierra: Guard Pooh Jeter tells HoopsHype he worked out for the Lakers last Wednesday. Landed in L.A. Tuesday after playing World Cup in Spain.
Los Angeles Lakers decided to offer a tryout period to Ukrainian point-guard Pooh Jeter. The player ended World Cup in Spain with 15.4 points and 5 assists per game.
04 Sep 14
James Harden scored 17 points, Stephen Curry added 14 and the unbeaten U.S. national team wrapped up pool play with a 95-71 victory over Ukraine on Thursday at the Basketball World Cup. Anthony Davis finished with 12 points for the Americans, who were still waiting out the final results from Group D in the Canary Islands to determine who they would play Saturday night in Barcelona. They would draw the fourth-place finisher in the round of 16. The Americans were never in any danger of losing in the second half after seizing control just before halftime against a methodical Ukraine team coached by former NBA coach Mike Fratello.
01 Sep 14
29 Aug 14
Madrid will announce EuroBasket 2015 hosts on September 8. Croatia, France, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Poland, Israel and Turkey are on the list of possible host countries. The Board of FIBA Europe decided to relocate 2015 EuroBasket from Ukraine. The decision has been officially announced earlier. The situation in Ukraine has not changed drastically in the last months so the decision seemed inevitable.
Mike Fratello on coaching the Ukraine national basketball team: One day they call you and tell you that there’s gunshots and bombings in the middle of Kiev, that it’s on TV. Then you call the Federation and they tell you nothing is happening and everything is OK. Some of these players live in Donestk or they have families there. Some of them have lost their jobs. They are worried about their lives and jobs. It’s difficult.
Amid the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, former NBA head coach and current analyst Mike Fratello and his staff are remaining with the Ukraine men’s national team for the upcoming World Cup. The staff includes Brooklyn Nets assistant Joe Wolf, who oversees Ukraine’s basketball development, along with longtime NBA coaches/executives Bob Hill and Jack Nolan. Wolf, who is attending Team USA practices this week, said he had no reservations about returning to Kiev for a third consecutive year. “We just stay away from the eastern part of the country,” he said, “and we’re gone a lot during the training. We play three games in Lithuania, have three games in Kiev, play France, Spain. We play this team (USA), too, Sept. 4 in the World Cup in Bilbao.”
In between learning the NBA ropes as a rookie and working his way back from injuries to both feet, Len keeps close watch on the situation in Eastern Europe. Not that the 20-year-old has a full grasp on the dramatic conflict no matter the number of news sources he checks. “I don’t really know. I watch Russian news, American news and Ukrainian news. Everybody says different things,” Len said. “I’m not a politician. I just hope nobody gets hurt. Praying for peace, you know.” He knew enough to bring his grandparents overseas to Phoenix. Other relatives remain behind in what is now Russian-occupied Crimea.
Sports minister of Ukrainian government, Dmytro Bulatov, confirmed on Facebook that the country will organize Eurobasket 2015. Three are the points of his Facebook post. 1. Ukraine has never thought about giving up on organizing Eurobasket 2015. The tournament is a strategic project for the development of sports infrastructure in Ukraine.
Head of Eurobasket 2015 local committee Markiyan Lubkivskiy said that the country should pass on organizing the tournament in the summer of 2015 due to the political and financial situation of the nation. Lubkivskiy added that Ukraine will ask FIBA Europe to organize the tournament in 2017.