Mike Bruesewitz's team, the East Coast All-Stars, have begun play in the Four Nations Cup in Estonia. East Coach All-Stars coach Guy Rancourt emailed this update after Friday's opening game.
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Although Pe'Shon Howard's thunderous dunk over Sweden National team center Johan Akesson put the crowd into a frenzy Friday evening, it was just a brief part of the 15-point deficit the East Coast All Stars overcame in the final 3:00 of Friday's 78-77 victory. Kansas State's Rodney McGruder was the team's hero as time ran down with a rebound and put back at the buzzer to seal the All Star win.
East Coast responded well to the physical nature of international play ending the first quarter with a 21-19 lead, but struggled to find the mark in the second quarter mustering just 11 points to trail Sweden 38-32 at halftime. Sweden continued its hot shooting in the third period stretching the lead to 63-51, and things began looking bleak as the lead ballooned to 15 points with 3:00 remaining in the contest...then the All Stars went to work.
A suffucating full court press was applied causing back to back turnovers for a Baye Moussa Keita dunk and a power layup by Notre Dame's Jack Cooley cutting the lead to 11. The team continued its intensity into the front court forcing two additional turnovers resulting in clutch 3-point field goals by Iowa's Matt Gatens and Purdue's Anthony Johnson, bringing the Sweden lead to 5 with just over a minute to play.
Following a Sweden transition basket pushing the lead back to 7, East Coast came up with a steal at half court by Maryland's Pe'Shon Howard, and a dunk over the opponent's big man that brought the crowd of 3,720 jumping out of their seats.
The balanced attack continued as the All Stars forced three more turnovers, allowing Syracuse's Brandon Triche (leading scorer with 17 points) to rattle off 7 points in 19 seconds. Triche was fouled on a drive to make two free throws, knocked down a gutsy 3-point shot to tie the game at 74-74, then converted on a mid-lane pullup to give them the lead with 15 seconds remaining.
Sweden responded with Anton Gaddefor's 3-pointer with 6 seconds to play, once again giving Sweden a 77-76 advantage. After a timeout by head coach Guy Rancourt of Lycoming College, McGruder stepped on the floor to provide the end-game heroics. Triche's foul-line jumper was off the mark, but UW's Mike Bruesewitz kept the ball alive, tipping it to McGruder who laid it back in as the horn sounded.
Three players, Bruesewitz, Baye Moussa Keita, and Elliott Eliason led the team in rebounding with 7. Triche finished with a team high 5 assists, Bruesewitz with 4 steals, and Mousa Keita with 2 blocks.
The victory makes the East Coast All Stars 1-0 in tournament play and 2-0 overall. Next up tomorrow night will be one of the team's biggest tests as they face NBA star Zaza Pachulia and the Georgia National Team. Gametime for tomorrow's contest is slated for 10:30 a.m. CT.
Here is a Facebook message I got from Mike talking about the opening exhibition win and what's up next.
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"We had a scrimmage against a local club team last night. The town was called Rapla (I remember the name because it sounds like the fishing tackle).
Upon arrival to the equivalent of a lifetime, the song "Buzzin" by Mann was on. One thing about Estonia is they love American music. This isn't a bad thing, but it seems a bit odd since our tour guide told us Estonia is known as 'the singing country.'
Anyway... last night played a club team and won easily. We have one practice today and then we go against the big boys tomorrow. Should be great competition.
Talking with a couple of the guys last night, last year's East Coast team played two national teams that had NBA guys. Not sure who all is going to be on the roster this year, but I'm really excited to play.
The arena has about 5 or 6 thousand seats and apparently gets filled up for events like these. Should be fun!"
East Coast All-Stars' head coach Guy Rancourt (Lycoming College) emailed me this morning the recap from the team's first game. Looks like our guy Mike Bruesewitz is fitting in quite nicely.
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Rapla, Estonia -- In what will be the team's only exhibition game for 2011, the East Coast All Stars defeated Viimsi Spordikeskuss 104-61 Wednesday evening in front of a crowd of 1,100. The All Stars were led by Syracuse sophomore Baye Moussa Keita with 11 points, 17 rebounds, and 4 blocked shots. Iowa's Matt Gatens and Wisconsin's Mike Bruesewitz led all scorers, each with 15 points.
Viimsi struggled with East Coast's pressure defense from the start, quickly falling behind 34-15 by the end of the first quarter. Brandon Triche of Syracuse University handed out 7 first half assists to help push the lead to 66-28 at the half. Kansas State sophomore Rodney McGruder extended that lead with back to back three point field goals in the third period, stretching the team's margin to 88-41. Viimsi made a late push behind Andre Parn's 11 points, but it was not enough to help his team overcome the 104-61 final. Seven players tallied double figures for the All Stars and each of the ten man roster scored at least one basket.
East Coast will hold a brief practice in Tallinn's Saku Arena Thursday night in final preparation for their matchup Friday(11:30AM EST) with the Sweden National Team.
I heard from Mike Bruesewitz over in Estonia. Sounds like his team (the East Coast All-Stars) made it safely to Tallinn and did a little sight-seeing before practice.
Here is what Bruiser had to say:
"The first day was good and the food isn't too bad. However, the day's worth of airplane
food didn't end well. Estonia is a pretty cool place. Tallinn is right on the
coast line with all kinds of neat shops and restaurants in Old Town. The Old Town area is really cool with cobble stone streets and old
buildings. It reminds me of a medieval state street on steroids. We have our
first exhibition game (Wednesday) afternoon, but first we have a sight seeing
UW sophomore Duje Dukan is overseas playing with the Croatian National Team in the U-20 European Championships in Bilbao, Spain. He is checking in periodically with UWBadgers.com with stories from the road.
Well, the European Championships tournament ended and unfortunately we did not do as well as we wanted (or should have done), but it was a great learning experience for me getting to compete at a very high level in European basketball. It also gave me a great opportunity to get actual game experience that I didn't have much of this past year.
Spain ended up winning the tournament and the MVP was Nikola Mirotic who the Chicago Bulls took with the 23rd pick in this year's NBA Draft. This shows the wide variety of talent at this tournament.
Not only did I play against players who are playing professionally in Europe, but some are in fact at colleges in the U.S. which was good to see what my competition will look like for the next few years. Some of the colleges who were represented at the European Championships besides Wisconsin were UConn, Alabama, Florida, San Diego, Boston College, Davidson and many others.
Personally, I played a variety of positions during the last few weeks, from the 2 to the 4. I really spent a lot of time working on my versatility, so I'll be able to help the team in any way I can when I get back to Madison.
Now that the European Championships are over, I'm lifting and practicing on my own time to get ready for a very fun and exciting year of Badger basketball in 2011-2012.
Thanks everyone for reading these entries and coming along on my trip trip. I hope all is well back in Madison and I'm looking forward to joining the team again soon,
Wisconsin junior Mike Bruesewitz has been selected to the East Coast All-Stars, a 10-man national team that will compete in the Four Nations Cup in Estonia from August 5-7.
Bruesewitz is one of five Big Ten players on the squad, joining Iowa's Matt Gatens and Bryce Cartwright, Purdue's Anthony Johnson and Minnesota's Elliott Eliason. Syracuse's Brandon Triche and Baye Mousa Keita, Pe'Shon Howard of Maryland, Rodney McGruder of Kansas State and Jack Cooley from Notre Dame complete the squad.
"I'm really excited for the trip," Bruesewitz said Monday from JFK International Airport. "I've never been out of the country, so it's going to be a whole new experience and I can't wait to be in that environment. Our team looks pretty good. It's going to be a lot of fun."
The team began with a short two-day training camp at Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pa., before traveling overseas Monday for the international competition. Brueswitz and the East Coast All-Stars are scheduled to play an exhibition game vs. Viimsi Spordikeskuss before beginning the Four Nations Cup.
"We'll practice once in Estonia, then scrimmage the local club team," Bruesewitz added. "We'll have a day off, then play three games in three days. We'll be playing three national teams, so there is no age limit or anything; this is each country's top team.
"I think we're going to be able sightsee around Tallinn a little bit. Matt Gatens and I were doing a little research about Estonia and it looks like there are some neat things to see and cool historical sites."
During the tournament, the team will face Sweden on Aug. 5, Georgia on Aug. 6 and wrap up competition vs. host Estonia on Aug. 7.
Ryan Evans participated in a similar trip last August with a Global Sports Academy team that played five games in Belgium, Italy and England.
"I talked to Ryan a little bit about his trip last year and he said it'll be fun," Bruesewitz said. "He said, 'obviously you're trying to win, but you're also there to enjoy it, meet new people and share new things.'"
Roster # NAME HGT CLASS POS. SCHOOL 01 Anthony Johnson 6-3 R-Fr. Guard Purdue 05 Matt Gatens 6-5 Sr. Guard Iowa 12 Baye Mousa Keita 6-10 So. Forward Syracuse 20 Brandon Triche 6-4 Jr. Guard Syracuse 21 Pe'Shon Howard 6-3 So. Guard Maryland 22 Rodney McGruder 6-4 So. Forward Kansas State 24 Bryce Cartwright 6-1 Sr. Guard Iowa 31 Mike Bruesewitz 6-6 Jr. Forward Wisconsin 45 Jack Cooley 6-9 Jr. Center Notre Dame 55 Elliott Eliason 6-11 R-Fr. Center Minnesota
Itinerary July 31st - Training Camp (Lycoming College, Williamsport, PA) August 1st - Training Camp (Lycoming College, Williamsport, PA) August 2nd - Arrive in Tallinn, Estonia / Team Practice August 3rd - Exhibition vs Viimsi Spordikeskuss August 4th - Team Practice August 5th - East Coast vs Sweden (10:45AM EST) August 6th - East Coast vs Georgia (10:45AM EST) August 7th - East Coast vs Estonia (1:00PM EST) August 8th - Team returns to US
UW sophomore Duje Dukan is overseas playing with the Croatian National Team in the U-20 European Championships in Bilbao, Spain. He is checking in periodically with UWBadgers.com with stories from the road.
Checking in with you on Day 7 of the European Championships in Bilbao, Spain. The team has gone 2-4 since we have been here, with wins over Latvia and Lithuania and losses to Sweden, France, Austria and Serbia. The loss to Serbia was today's thriller... a one-point (80-79) heartbreaker.
I got hurt during one of our friendly games with the French, straining a muscle near my hip, so every movement of my hips like running or shooting would ignite the strain. As time went on it got better and thanks to our team trainer helping me out and cutting down the swelling, I was able to miss minimal time and keep playing in the games.
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so I feel like I need to take advantage of it and not let anything ruin it or prevent me from playing and experiencing the European championships.
Our team was placed in a tough position at the start of the tournament when our main point guard left the team. That's a big loss considering he was on the All-Tournament team for the World Championships two years ago in New Zealand with the likes of Gordon Hayward and Shelvin Mack.
His leaving put us at a great disadvantage because we didn't really have a floor leader or anyone to organize the team. So with the extra roster spot we called a point guard who participated in the U19 World Championships this year but with our bad luck, he was injured in one of the last games in the tourney the same way I was and he opted out of joining the team.
So, essentially we were left without a true point guard that we were used to and comfortable with. This has brought some distress and questions to the team. In my opinion, this is one of the main reasons attributed to our poor performance the first couple games and why we haven't done as well this year. But we have adjusted as time has gone by and played better.
As far as me personally, I've been playing more and more getting back from the injury and getting back into the flow of things now. In the last game I played about 25 minutes and most of my time that I play is spent on the wing or at the 2. I have also played a little at the 4 spot also.
[Editor's note: Dukan had 6 points and 3 rebounds in a win over Lithuania and finished with 8 points (2-for-5 from 3-point range) and 3 rebounds in the loss to Serbia. Dukan's game-by-game stats]
There haven't really been many stories except that I've really come to see here what a bond basketball can create. I've met kids from France, Sweden, Montenegro and many other places that are in the United States playing basketball and we have shared our experiences and talked about the differences between Euro and U.S. ball. Everyone has agreed that it has taken them longer than expected to get adjusted and acclimated.
I guess one funny story is that I've been sort of a translator for the guys here because I studied Spanish for six years. So whenever they have questions they go get me and I have to ask and deliberate. It's really testing my Spanish ability.
On the one day we had off between games, the team went to the Bay of Biscay, which is where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Spanish coastline. From there, it is open water so it's very windy as it is basically open ocean. It was truly a magnificent sight because the waves and water was so wild but it was right on the coast. For the 30 minutes that we were there walking around, it rained twice and the wind never stopped.
We walked around the city of Bilbao as well to get a feel for what Spain is like. Seeing the other teams walking around the city reminds me of Indianapolis during the Big Ten Tournament and how the tournament takes over the whole city.
We have three more games left against Serbia, Lithuania and Austria. Serbia and Lithuania both faced similar problems to us where they were expected to do well in the championships but the team didn't collaborate at the start of the tournament. We are now focused on what we have in front of us these next three games.
I'll write back soon to keep you updated. Hope everyone is handling the 100+ degree weather in Madison.
UW sophomore Duje Dukan is overseas preparing with the Croatian National Team for the U-20 European Championships in Bilbao, Spain, later this summer. He'll be checking in periodically with UWBadgers.com with stories from the road.
Hey Badger fans, hope you're all enjoying your summer. Things are flying by overseas.
Just got to France today before our game with the French.
In the meantime we were in Italy for a tournament with Serbia, Finland and Italy which was a good tournament for us to get in game reps. It also gave us a chance to get used to playing with each other before the European championships so we can really hit our peak then.
Our first game was against Finland, who definitely surprised us as they shot the ball really well, which allowed them to beat us. It was a tough game but a good first game because it was a wake-up call, as our next opponent was our huge rival, Serbia. It's always a game of pride when you play them.
From the get-go we were really active and jumped on them early and they never recovered. Beating Serbia was very big because they are a very good team who many people believe will get a medal in Spain in the European Championships.
Our final game was versus Italy and it was interesting to see how hometown refs really value/side with the hometown team. But despite that, we were still in the game even though our coach got tossed and everything. In the end, we lost by 6 and overall the tournament went well because we were able to get acclimated to each other and beat a very good team.
I learned a lot in those 3 exhibition games about European basketball. One of the things was that languages come in very handy because your opponent has no idea what you're saying so you can call out plays and tell everyone exactly what to do and they won't know a thing. The border with referees is also a big one because they are generally from all over Europe and not all of them speak English well enough so it's hard to communicate with them.
The most common excuse or saying I've heard from them is, "I'm sorry I don't speak English." Another thing was how much skill is valued over strength because there are many kids who are weak here, but they are effective because they are smart and have good skills.
So, now we're in France for two "friendly" matches with the French prior to heading to Bilbao, Spain, for the European Championships. These two games against the French will be weird because they are also one of our opponents in group play of the Championships. So both teams will be hiding some of their sets, as well as giving everyone fair minutes so we don't get too familiar with each other.
Hope everything is well back home and everyone is doing great. Sorry for the long delay between journal entries, but internet access has been rare.
By Patrick Herb on June 23, 2011 4:47 PM
The whirlwind preparation tour is over and now Jon Leuer begins the waiting game.
Auditioning for tonight's 2011 NBA Draft (6 p.m. CT on ESPN), Leuer has been to nearly every corner of the United States and racked up enough frequent flyer miles to follow Brad Paisley on his summer tour. In just the last six weeks, Leuer has had individual workouts with more than 15 teams, participated in the combine in Chicago and done private training in Los Angeles. (Not to mention sneaking off to South Dakota for Joe Krabbenhoft's wedding.)
That has all built up to tonight's draft where Leuer will learn his professional fate. The former All-Big Ten Badger is projected to be picked anywhere from late in the first round to the second round sometime.
"It's been a lot of travel, but it's been fun," Leuer said of the last few weeks. "I'll be watching at home in Minnesota with friends and family. Tim (Jarmusz), Brett (Valentyn) and J.P. (Gavinski) also drove up from Madison to be here."
Leuer's agent will be in a war room at his Chicago office.
Check back to UWBadgers.com later tonight for information when Leuer is drafted.
UW sophomore Duje Dukan is overseas preparing with the Croatian National Team for the U-20 European Championships in Bilbao, Spain later this summer. He'll be checking in periodically with UWBadgers.com with stories from the road. __________________________________________________________________________________
Greetings from Croatia! or Pozdrav iz Hrvatska!
We are now seven days into training camp in Daruvar, Croatia and have been having two-a-days on a daily basis. It has been a great experience thus far and I've learned something new every day.
We have no internet at my hotel so we have to go to the city to find a coffee shop during our breaks to get internet. All of the guys on the team are really nice and it seems like a great group. It's been really crazy communicating about each of our seasons since they are so different. These guys are busy playing in professional leagues and making an income while I'm off at college taking classes and playing for a university. Different worlds.
During our two-a-day, the schedule has looked like this: 8:15 - wake up 8:30 - breakfast 10:30 - depart hotel and walk about a mile to a local gym for practice 12:00 - finish skill work and go to the local school track and run sprints or whatever is decided 1:30 - lunch 3-5 - Mandatory rest time in your rooms 6:30 - depart for practice 8:30 - end practice 9:15 - dinner 12:00 am - lights out
It's a very hectic day. After a while of repeating that schedule, it starts to become a habit, but your body does become more tired. It takes a toll.
The thing that keeps me going is the notion of playing for a national team. I'm getting to represent a whole country and we're about to embark on a European competition against other top athletes our age. So, the motivation is that you train to get any type of advantage over them.
We started training camp with 17 guys on the roster and two just got cut, so we are down to 15. The final cut would trim the competition roster down to 12 men.
Hope all is well back in the States. I'm having fun and getting better and stronger over here.