The EuroLeague has been very competitive so far. I love this new format. Everybody playing each other home and away sets up for crazy away games. Now is the time though when teams need to start separating themselves and getting into playoff mode. Right now, spots 4-8 are up for grabs. Each team can go up or down each round, with a loss or a win. Spots 2 and 3 are too, but are more out of reach unless they collapse.
I must say Red Star has been impressive this season, especially at home. They are definitely this year’s Cinderella team, who could upset a team in the top 8. Another surprise team for me is Olympiacos. They have improved the most from last year to now, and they have more athletic bodies with Spanoulis leading the charge.
The younger players have been on display lately. First and foremost, Luka Doncic from Real Madrid is my top pick to follow. He has been incredible for this veteran-led team. I think he has received two MVP’s for rounds already. Definitely a must watch every week, as he grows up in front of us. Then we have Ante Zizic who plays for Dogus. He has been very strong for their frontcourt, bringing energy and toughness to the interior. Keep working young men; you have a fan in me!!!
For me, I should be back this week. Injuries suck, but it’s life. When I do come back I have to take it to another level. I don’t know what motivates y’all, but seeing Ahmet play vs. Pana last week motivated and inspired me. You never know when that opportunity is going to come, so you have to stay prepared. Thank you Ahmet.
Hello my peeps!! This year I wanted to try something new and provide content for y'all throughout the year. I was fortunate to connect with Rafael during the summer. He filmed my basketball camp this past summer and since then we have built a solid relationship. I asked if he wanted come to Turkey to film and work on different projects and here we are... Check out our Q&A below...
EU: Tell the people about yourself…
RB: I’m originally from Omaha, Nebraska but I’ve resided in Dallas, TX the past 10 years. I’m a huge basketball junkie and videographer that loves to travel. I’ve been blessed to be able to combine everything I’m passionate about into one experience here in Istanbul.
EU: How has your Turkish experience been so far this year?
RB: My Turkish experience has been great. I’m really enjoying Istanbul and learning the Turkish culture. I went home to the states for 2 weeks last month and after a few days I was ready to return to Istanbul. My experience is unique since I spend my time around Fenerbahce players and staff, but everywhere I’ve been people have gone out of their way to welcome me. I really believe Turkish people are the nicest people in the world. My jobs are what really make this experience one of a kind. I’m filming for Euro Angle and creating social media for Fenerbahce basketball. There seems to be millions of Fenerbahce fans around Turkey and Europe and I’m the lucky guy who gets to make videos for the instagram account. That experience alone makes me really appreciate Turkey.
EU: What do you think about the fans in Europe? How do they compare with sport fans in the states?
RB: Fans in Europe are TOTALLY different than fans in the states. I went to an NBA game last month when I was at home and I almost fell asleep. NBA fans are not as passionate and the games are not as intense. I have not been to all the Euroleague arenas, but there’s nowhere in the states that compares to the fans and atmosphere at Crvena Zvezda, Galatasary and Maccabi Tel Aviv.
EU: What advice would you give people who want to become a photographer/videographer?
RB: My advice for aspiring photographers/videographers is to find a niche. My niche was sports and traveling. My camera has opened so many doors for me and allowed me to travel and see different parts of the world. I started casually filming with an iPad in 2010 and a year later I went to China for 3 weeks to film my first mini documentary. I realized that basketball is the second most popular sport in the world and players will always need good game film, so I started focusing on documenting players from the states who were hoping to get exposure from teams abroad. I wanted to be paid for my time and work, but a lot of my early content was for free so I could build my resume and to get better at filming and editing. I used to seek out clients to help tell their stories then everything expanded from there. So my advice would be to be patient, build your portfolio and find your niche.
EU: How do you like the European game compared to the NBA game? What are the differences?
RB: On one hand basketball is basketball, but there are some differences. The NBA is ran by star players, the European game isn’t as star driven. Basketball in Europe is more team oriented and coaches seem to have more power. I believe the NBA does a better job at marketing and developing young players, but coaches in Europe are not always afforded the luxury to play young players because every game counts and is a must win. I’ve been around the NBA and D-league for 7 years and I’ve never, NEVER EVER heard of teams practicing twice in a day outside of training camp. That’s probably the biggest difference in my opinion.
EU: What do you think about Coach Obradovic?
RB: I think Coach Obradovic is an excellent coach. His success and track record speaks for itself. I’ve only spoken to him here and there in passing, but he’s totally different if you see him off the court. From afar you see the passion and intensity and he seems like he could be intimidating, but once practice or the game is over he’s a really nice guy. He allows me to sit in and watch every practice, which is pretty awesome. How many people get to watch one of the greatest coaches in the world behind the scenes everyday? Not many, so I’m very thankful for this experience. One day I hope to sit down with him and pick his brain about basketball. My long-term goal is to be a GM of a professional team and I’m sure he could give me some great advice.
EU: Who are some of the European players that you like watch?
RB: Of course all the Fenerbahce players! I was a big Keith Langford fan when he was at Kansas so I always check his games and highlights out. I love watching Milos Teodosic pass the ball; his vision is one of kind. I’m looking forward to seeing him play in person when CSKA comes to town. Sergio Llull and Juan Carlos Navarro are fun to watch, but there’s this teenage kid from France who I think is going to be special. Remember the name Sekou Doumbouya. I think he’s going to be the #1 pick in the NBA draft once he becomes draft eligible.
EU: Which teams will make the Final Four?
RB: Fenerbahce, CSKA, Real Madrid and Baskonia are my picks.
EU: Where can people see your work?
RB: Barlowefilms.com is my website but most of my current work can be found here on Euroangle.com.
I was able to travel to Cairo for a quick day and I had an amazing time. The history is so rich and revealing. Check out the pics above and the video below from my journey!!!
Thank you for voting me into the all-star game on Sunday. Second year here and we have developed a unique connection. Hopefully we can continue to build and have lifetime memories!!!
Since my first game here, I have always said that the fans in Europe are crazier than the fans in the states. The passion and love for their respected club is unmatched. But there’s something special about you Fener fans. Wherever we/I go in the world, there is a Fener fan somewhere. Every fan is always in tune with the different sports results. It is a special feeling!!!
To finish, I want to say thank you to the fans that come to every home game. We really appreciate the energy that y’all provide game in, game out. We need that energy especially when we are not playing our best. Please continue to pack the arena and scream and all that!!!!!
To thank y'all, I will be choosing two people (winners get to bring a guest) to enjoy the All-Star activities and dinner after the game!!! In order to be chosen, I would like for you to write a brief summary on what it means to be Turkish and e-mail the site....
I will read the entries Friday and choose the winners on Saturday!!!