Monday, August 21, 2006

Turkey and Angola... Surprise!
FIBA World Chip Coverage 2006

A few surprises over the weekend, most notably the strong play of Turkey (18) and Angola (17) and the meltdown of the Serbian nationals--but Serbia & Montenegro (2) are hardly out of it, getting results in a must-win today. The Serbs have perhaps been given a pass to lose given their relative youth and inexperience in international play, but the Turks are even younger.

Turkey and Angola both sport fairly solid undefeated records, though Angola has yet to see a real challenge. They'll face Germany (13) and Spain (5) upcoming, which should test their mettle. Both countries, having virtually secured their positions in the elimination round, are proving to be threats to shake things up come tournament play.

Turkey has been particularly impressive, beating Lithuania (4) and Australia (9) with their spiritual leader, Serkan Erdogan (G, 6'4"), hobbled with a knee injury, and without NBAers Hedo Turkoglu and Mehmet Okur. The on iki dev adam have been lead by the solid play of perhaps their most consistent player over the years, 6'6" guard, Ibrahim Kutluay, who is apparently building his own website and plays for Tau Ceramica in Spain; and 19-year-old, 6'10" forward Ersan Ilyasova, who was recently drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks.

Angola, on the other hand, started the tourney with certain expectations. As Africa's best chance to advance, having won the African championship in 2005, Angola's perhaps is nevertheless, unexpected. There's only one player on the roster who plays professionally outside of Angola, and their tallest player is 6'8" Abdel Aziz Boukar, who plays for San Jacinto Junior College in Texas.

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