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Europe Interview: Blake Schilb Of Crvena Zvezda

Blake Schilb's underdog teams in 2012-13 and 2013-14 surprisingly won seven Euroleague regular season games, but neither Elan Chalon-Sur-Saone (three wins) or Crvena Zvezda (four wins) advanced to the next round. 

Schilb, who was named to RealGM’s All-Rookie 1st Team in 2012-13, was a key contributor in most of those seven victories, averaging 13.8 points, 3.8 assists and 3.9 rebounds in 20 Euroleague games played in first two seasons.

RealGM caught up with Schilb, who after four years with Elan Chalon-Sur-Saone, signed a three-year deal with Crvena Zvezda, to talk about the transition from France to Serbia, Crvena Zvezda’s performance in the Euroleague, rivalry with Partizan and much more. 

RealGM: How would you evaluate your first season with Crvena Zvezda and the performance in the Euroleague?

Schilb: It was a new experience for me, especially with this team. They haven’t been in the Euroleague for quite some time, and it’s also been a change for me as I was coming to this team as a new player. We showed spurts and we proved that we could compete at this level for sure. We slipped a couple times, we would like to have it back, but I think our group was one of the toughest groups. It’s hard to accept the fact that we’re not going to the Top 16 with four wins when you see some teams with three wins and they go. 

RealGM: In many losses, Crvena Zvezda managed to stay close until the end of the game and was very close in turning games around. In your opinion, what were those small details that prevented Crvenza Zvezda from achieving better results?

Schilb: We needed to stay more focused at the end of the games. If you look at every game we played, we were winning, and we were there. We felt the pressure and we just needed to be more relaxed. In the last game against Lietuvos Rytas, all Crvena Zvezda players were still focused, but a bit more relaxed, understanding that first round for us is over. I think we all learned from this experience and I think we will continue to grow.

RealGM: This year was a bit different for you, as you were the biggest star on Elan Chalon-sur-Saone, while this season you had a lot of ups and downs. Did everything work out this year the way you wanted?

Schilb: I’m still adjusting. Unfortunately, we didn’t go to the Top 16. Sometimes I felt I could do things, sometimes I felt like I couldn’t. It’s tough to go to a new team after playing for four years for one club. I’m still getting to know some of these guys and coaching staff. But as long as I can contribute in some way and be a leader and one of the oldest guys, I’ll be doing my part. 

RealGM: France and Serbia, both basketball and culture wise, are very different countries. How did the adjustment period go for you so far? 

Schilb: Coming out of France, where I lived in a small village, and going to Belgrade, where millions of people live and it’s always fast, it’s a big difference for me. As far as basketball, there have been many great games, great teams and players. The Adriatic league is much better than the French league, but it’s also a lot slower. It’s not as athletic as French league and we don’t run as much, we take the game through. It’s been tough. 

RealGM: You likely heard about the Partizan-Crvena Zvezda rivalry before you moved to Serbia. How did it feel to be a part of it? 

Schilb: I’m glad I’m 1-0 against Partizan right now. It’s tough to see them going to the next round with three wins, but they are part of Adriatic league and it’s good for the strength of the organization. As far as the rivalry goes, it’s been great and I’m sure we’ll see them a lot more times. We want to be the best team in Belgrade and it’s going to be a battle.

RealGM: Having a look from inside, did you feel that Crvena Zvezda’s players care more about winning against Partizan compared with the other games, or is it more of a historical thing and nowadays it doesn’t relate too much to players? 

Schilb: I think both. Even in the first game I felt a bit different. I wanted to hit somebody a little bit harder. It was territorial and everybody wanted to be the best. Even though it was my first game, I felt this mentality. It feels great to be a part of this rivalry as everybody talks a lot about it and you’re able to be there and contribute.

RealGM: Of course, your thoughts were concentrated on group D, but did you follow the action in other groups as well? Did you keep in touch with other Euroleague players and who do you think will go all the way to the final?

Schilb: Sure, I’ve played with Malcom Delaney in France, he’s playing for Bayern Munich now. I’ve been following him since he left Chalon. Also I follow Marquez Haynes, he played for Milan. Boris Savovic was here and he moved to Bayern as well. I follow the guys that I keep up with either in the States or here in Europe. The basketball world is small. You know somebody that probably knows somebody that you know too. Basketball is a global game now.

Who do I think will play in the final? Real Madrid and Olympiakos Piraeus, these two were undefeated in the first round and they are the favorites until somebody beat them. Real and Olympiakos, sounds like a final. 

RealGM: Talking about Eurocup, how far you think your team could go there?

Schilb: It’s less games and it’s going to be quicker. We’ll know fast if we go to the next round or not, but I think we should be all right there.

RealGM's 2012-13 Euroleague Awards

For the third consecutive year, RealGM presents the most outstanding players of Euroleague.

Victor Khryapa of CSKA Moscow is the winner of the RealGM Euroleague MVP award for the 2012-13 season. The 30-year-old forward has improved all of his main statistical numbers this season, averaging 10 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Khryapa has also helped his team, which holds a 23-5 record this season, to defeat Caja Laboral Vitoria in the playoffs to reach the Final Four.

For the second consecutive year, the RealGM Euroleague MVP award was given to a Russian player, as the winner of last season's prize was Andrei Kirilenko of CSKA Moscow.

The RealGM All-Euroleague First Team consists of Montepaschi's Bobby Brown and Olympiacos' Vassilis Spanoulis at guard, Khryapa and Maccabi's Shawn James at forward and CSKA's Nenad Krstic at center.

The RealGM All-Euroleague Second Team includes guards Jordan Farmar of Anadolu Efes and Zoran Planinic of Khimki, forwards Rudy Fernandez and Nikola Mirotic of Real and center Ante Tomic of Barcelona Regal.

Paul Davis of Khimki Moscow region is the winner of the Euroelague Rookie of the Year Award, while Aron Baynes (formerly of Union Olimpija before joining the San Antonio Spurs) was the RealGM pick to win the Most Improved Played Award.

Georgios Bartzokas of Olympiacos was named as the 2012-13 Euroleague Coach of the Year, while Kyle Hines (also from Olympiacos) is the winner of the 2012-13 Euroleague Sixth Man of the Year Award.

Euroleague MVP

Victor Khryapa (CSKA)

All-Euroleague 1st Team

Bobby Brown (Montepaschi): 18.8 points, 5.3 assists in 33 minutes

Vassilis Spanoulis (Olympiacos) - 14.7 points, 2.1 rebounds and 5.6 assists in 30 minutes

Victor Khryapa (CSKA) - 10 points (45% 3FG), 7.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 28 minutes

Shawn James (Maccabi): 11.5 points (64% 2FG), 6.5 rebounds in 24 minutes  

Nenad Krstic (CSKA) - 13.6 points (63% 2FG), 4.6 rebounds in 24 minutes

All-Euroleague 2nd Team

Jordan Farmar (Anadolu Efes): 13.8 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 30 minutes

Zoran Planinic (Khimki): 12.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 6.3 assists in 31 minutes

Rudy Fernandez (Real): 13.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 27 minutes

Nikola Mirotic (Real): 11.7 points, 5.5 rebounds in 25 minutes

Ante Tomic (Barcelona Regal) - 11.5 points (63% 2FG), 6.3 rebounds in 23 minutes

Sixth Man Award

Kyle Hines (Olympiacos) - 9.1 points, 5.9 rebounds in 20 minutes

Most Improved Player Award

Aron Baynes (Union Olimpija) - 13.8 points, 9.8 rebounds in 26 minutes

Coach of the Year

Georgios Bartzokas (Olympiacos)

Rookie of the Year

Paul Davis (Khimki)

All-Rookie 1st Team

Paul Davis (Khimki) - 13.4 points, 5.5 rebounds in 20 minutes

Ricky Hickman (Maccabi) - 13.5 points, 2.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 29 minutes

Blake Schilb (Elan Chalon) - 15.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4 assists in 33 minutes

Marcus Williams (Unicaja) - 10.5 points, 2.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 22 minutes

Shelden Williams (Elan Chalon) - 11.3 points, 7.6 rebounds in 23 minutes

All-Rookie 2nd Team

Drew Gordon (Partizan) - 9.1 points, 7.5 rebounds in 29 minutes

Lukasz Koszarek (Asseco Prokom) - 11.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 4 assists in 30 minutes

Kelvin Rivers (Khimki) - 9.6 points, 2.7 rebounds in 26 minutes

Dashaun Wood (Alba) - 9.8 points, 2.5 assists in 24 minutes

Maik Zirbes (Brose Baskets) - 8.2 points, 5 rebounds in 20 minutes

European Domestic League Power Rankings For February

We are past the halfway point in all of the European National Domestic Leagues and with January fully in the books, it is an opportune time to check in on our Floor Impact Counter rankings. The FIC is an objective statistical measure that accounts for all of the elements of a box score.

Spanish ACB Power Rankings

As expected, Real Madrid and Barcelona are atop the standings of the world’s second best domestic league. Each team is perfect at home and winning by a margin of 11+ points per game. Madrid beat Barcelona on January 4th by a 78-74 final on their home floor. The two teams will meet again on May 2nd.

Lucentum Alicante is tied for fifth place with a 12-6 record, but are ranked eighth here and have a negative point differential.

Andy Panko, James Augustin and Javi Rodriguez are the leaders in points, rebounds and assists per game, while Paul Davis has the highest PER and Augustine leads in season FIC.

1. Real Madrid: 24.17  
2. FC Barcelona Regal: 19.04  
3. Unicaja Malaga: 9.12  
4. Caja Laboral: 7.86  
5. Bilbao Basket: 2.74  
6. Cajasol Banca Civica: 2.60  
7. Lagun Aro GBC: -0.20  
8. Lucentum Alicante: -0.27  
9. Basket Zaragoza 2002: -0.44  
10. Valencia Basket: -0.56  
11. Assignia Manresa: -0.97  
12. Baloncesto Fuenlabrada: -4.22  
13. FIATC Mutua Joventut: -6.43  
14. CB Gran Canaria: -7.26  
15. Obradoiro CAB: -7.68  
16. UCAM Murcia: -10.67  
17. Blancos de Rueda Valladolid: -11.33  
18. Asefa Estudiantes: -14.27

Italian Lega A Power Rankings

Siena is currently in first place with a 13-5 record in the domestic league with the most parity. Though Milan leads these rankings, they are tied for third with an 11-7 record. Twelve of the 17 teams have a 44% of better winning percentage.

Andre Smith is the scoring leader, while Viktor Sanikidze and Marques Green lead in rebounds and assists respectively. Oliver Stevic and Giorgi Shermadini lead in PER, while Sanikidze leads in season FIC. Green also leads in Hands on Buckets, accounting for 41.8% of the field goals scored by Air Avellino.

1. Armani Milano: 10.15  
2. Montepaschi Siena: 9.80  
3. Canadian Solar Bologna: 8.59  
4. Bennet Cantu: 8.14  
5. Scavolini Siviglia Pesaro: 4.15  
6. Fabi Shoes Montegranaro: 0.60  
7. Air Avellino: 0.57  
8. Pepsi Caserta: 0.43  
9. Umana Venezia: -1.46  
10. Cimberio Varese: -2.46  
11. Angelico Biella: -3.40  
12. Dinamo Basket Sassari: -3.82  
13. Benetton Treviso: -4.84  
14. Virtus Roma: -5.42  
15. Banca Tercas Teramo: -5.44  
16. Novipiu Casale Monferrato: -5.45  
17. Vanoli-Braga Cremona: -10.19

Greek Basket League Power Rankings    

Even more so than Spain, there's Panathinaikos, Olympiacos and everybody else. They each have one loss, with the latter losing to the former and the former losing to Kavala.

Dionte Christmas is the league's leading scorer, while Giorgios Apostolidis and Giorgos Printezis lead in PER.

1. Panathinaikos: 27.15  
2. Olympiacos: 26.19  
3. Panionios BC: 9.26  
4. Kolossos Rodou BC: 7.73  
5. AGOR Aegean BC: 3.06  
6. Kavala: -0.73  
7. Aris BC: -2.52  
8. Peristeri BC: -3.51  
9. KAOD BC: -8.33  
10. PAOK BC: -9.21  
11. Ilisiakos BC: -13.47  
12. Maroussi BC: -15.25  
13. Ikaros Kallitheas BC: -20.98  

Russian PBL Power Rankings

CSKA is winning by an average of 14.1 points per game and have an 8-1 record with their loss coming against Khimki BC.

Davon Jefferson leads in points per game at 22.0 and in rebounds at 8.5, while Aaron Miles leads in assists. Timofey Mozgov, who has returned to the NBA, led in PER, followed by Darius Lavrinovic of CSKA and Jefferson. Patrick Beverley leads in season FIC and is second in HOB behind Jefferson.
        
1. CSKA Moscow: 26.64  
2. Khimki BC: 18.02  
3. UNICS Kazan: 8.61  
4. Triumph Lyubertsy: 6.31  
5. Spartak Saint Petersburg: -0.44  
6. Spartak Primorye: -0.51  
7. Krasnye Krylia: -4.54  
8. Lokomotiv Kuban: -5.64   
9. Enisey Krasnoyarsk: -20.00  
10. BC Nizhny Novgorod: -23.82

French Pro A Power Rankings

BCM Gravelines has recently stumbled in Eurocup play, but they haven’t lost a domestic league game since Dec. 10th against JDA Dijon and hold a one game lead over Chalon in the standings

Gravelines has an average point differential of 14.7 points, compared to less than seven for Malcolm Delaney, Blake Schilb and Alade Aminu’s Chalon squad.

1. BCM Gravelines: 23.43  
2. Orleans Loiret Basket: 11.81  
3. Chalon-Sur-Saone: 11.12  
4. Nancy Basket: 9.73  
5. Le Mans Sarthe Basket: 8.98  
6. Cholet Basket: 8.27  
7. Paris-Levallois Basket: 4.79  
8. Strasbourg IG: 3.07  
9. ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne: 1.77  
10. JDA Dijon Basket: -2.38  
11. STB Le Havre: -6.24  
12. Chorale Roanne Basket: -6.45  
13. JSF Nanterre: -9.72  
14. Poitiers Basket 86: -13.75  
15. Pau-Orthez: -15.73  
16. Hyeres-Toulon Var Basket: -28.80 

Turkish TBL Power Rankings

Things are tight atop the standings in Turkey, with Galatasaray, Besiktas and Banvitspor within striking distance of Anadolu Efes. Dusko Savanovic’s Efes team has beaten second place Galatasaray in both domestic and Euroleague competition, though two more battles are scheduled for the next month. Their two domestic defeats came against Tofas and post-Deron Williams Besiktas.

Mire Chatman and Anthony Grundy lead in points per game, while Vladimir Stimac and Baris Ermis lead in rebounds and assists respectively. Stevan Jelovac is the current leader in PER, while Chatman is the season FIC leader by a comfortable margin and also in HOB.

1. Anadolu Efes: 23.80  
2. Galatasaray: 21.70  
3. Banvitspor: 15.29  
4. Besiktas Milangaz: 11.36  
5. Fenerbahce Ulker: 10.77  
6. Pinar Karsiyaka: 9.91  
7. Tofas: 9.60  
8. Erdemirspor: -0.67  
9. Aliaga Petkim: -1.24  
10. Turk Telekom: -2.62  
11. Hacettepe Universitesi: -7.47  
12. Mersin BSB: -9.66  
13. Antalya BSB: -11.43  
14. Olin Edirne: -13.74  
15. Trabzonspor: -20.83  
16. Bandirma Kirmizi: -32.02

Lithuanian LKL Power Rankings

Lietuvos Rytas, featuring Jonas Valanciunas, is winning by an average of 20.9 points per game, but have dropped two games and are a game and a half behind undefeated Zalgiris. Valanciunas is averaging 15.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game in just 25.3 minutes over his eight domestic games.

Povilas Butkevicius  leads in points per game at 17.6, with Dane Johnson and Mantas Kalnietis holding the lead in rebounds and assists respectively. Butkevicius leads in PER, while David McClure is the current leader in season FIC. Bilal Benn leads in HOB, contributing to 32.3% of Naglis’ buckets. 

1. Lietuvos Rytas: 33.17  
2. Zalgiris: 25.60  
3. Rudupis: 19.75  
4. Pieno Zvaigzdes: 2.17  
5. Siauliai: -0.81  
6. Neptunas: -1.65  
7. Baltai: -3.54  
8. Techasas: -9.38  
9. Kedainiai Triobet: -9.84  
10. Juventus: -11.43  
11. Sakalai: -16.70  
12. Naglis: -18.65  

Serbian KLS Power Rankings

KK Vojvodina has a two-game lead and winning by 10.8 points per game, more than double KK Mega Vizura and BKK Radnicki Beograd. KK Radnicki Basket has an 11-7 record, but are second in point differential at 5.0 per game.

Milos Bojovic is leading in points per game at 23.7, while Darko Balaban leads in rebounds and Marko Popovic is the leading assist man. Ivan Zigeranovic of KK Borac Cacak leads in PER just ahead of Balaban, who leads in season FIC. Branko Milisavljevic leads in HOB, scoring or assisting on 40.5% of KK Mega Vizura’s buckets.

1. KK Vojvodina: 17.62  
2. OKK Beograd: 12.54  
3. KK Radnicki Basket: 6.81  
4. KK Borac Cacak: 6.73  
5. BKK Radnicki Beograd: 6.40  
6. KK Smederevo 1953: 3.75  
7. KK Mega Vizura: 3.65  
8. KK Tamis: 0.53  
9. KK Sloga: -2.39  
10. KK Metalac Valjevo: -6.62  
11. KK Napredak Krusevac: -8.94  
12. KK Sloboda Uzice: -10.13  
13. KK Zeleznicar: -10.24  
14. Proleter Naftagas: -18.71 

Croatian A1 Liga Power Rankings

It is somewhat shocking KK Zadar has managed to lose three times considering they are winning by an average margin of 14.3 points per game. KK Jolly and KK Zabok are next in point differential at 4.5 points.

Ivan Mimica leads in points per game at 22.0, while Ive Ivanov and Josip Glavinic are kings at rebounds and assists. Ivan Grgat is tops in PER and Ronald Ross is the season FIC leader. Ivan Tomeljak has scored or assisted on 44.4% of KK Brod Svjetlost’s buckets.

1. KK Zadar: 24.29   
2. KK Split: 8.02  
3. KK Jolly Jadranska Banka: 5.15  
4. KK Vrijednosnice OS Darda: 3.93  
5. KK Zabok: 1.87  
6. KK Borik Puntamika: 0.16  
7. KK Kvarner 2010: -2.05  
8. KK Krizevci: -4.51  
9. KK Alkar: -7.95  
10. KK Brod Svjetlost: -9.70  
11. KK Dubrovnik: -20.70

Slovenian SKL Power Rankings

This is another top-heavy league, with Helios Domzale and Elektra Sostanj dominating the top of the table.

Travis Nelson is the scoring leader at 17.4 points per game, with Esmir Rizvic and Luka Rupnik holding court in rebounds and assists respectively. Fittingly, Nelson leads in both PER and season FIC. Rupnik is responsible for 36.4% of Goplin Slovan’s buckets, which ranks him first in the league.

1. Helios Domzale: 21.07  
2. Zlatorog: 18.33  
3. Elektra Sostanj: 13.11  
4. Sentjur: 9.63  
5. Maribor Messer: 8.34  
6. Geoplin Slovan: 3.92  
7. Hopsi Polzela: -4.50  
8. Rogaska Crystal: -7.74  
9. LTHCast Mercator: -23.13  
10. Parklji: -36.09 

German BBL Power Rankings

Both Brose Baskets and Ratiopharm Ulm have just two losses, but one team is dominating in much more impressive fashion than the other. Brose is winning by a 17.9 differential, while Ratiopharm Ulm has a more human mark of +9.5.

David Holston and Bobby Brown are the league’s leaders in scoring at better than 17 per game, while John Bryant and Jared Jordan lead in rebounds and assists. Bryant also leads in PER, while Holston is the season FIC leader ahead of Tony Gaffney. Jordan has been responsible for 42.9% of TBB Trier’s field goals.   

1. Brose Baskets: 31.80  
2. Ratiopharm Ulm: 15.78  
3. Artland Dragons: 13.91  
4. ALBA Berlin: 12.69  
5. FC Bayern Munich: 7.31  
6. s.Oliver Baskets: 7.26  
7. Telekom Baskets Bonn: 4.05  
8. EWE Baskets Oldenburg: 1.84  
9. New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig: -0.93  
10. BBC Bayreuth: -3.90  
11. Eisbaren Bremerhaven: -4.88  
12. TBB Trier: -6.29  
13. Walter Tigers Tubingen: -6.31  
14. Fraport Skyliners: -6.89  
15. EnBW Ludwigsburg: -7.84  
16. LTi Giessen 46ers: -14.95  
17. Phoenix Hagen: -16.77  
18. BG Gottingen: -23.05 

Belgium BLB Power Rankings

Belgacom Spriou has a two-game lead in the loss column, though they are coming off a loss at Leuven Bears.

Chris Copeland is averaging 18.9 points per game, while Jason Love and Salah Mejri are each averaging 8.0 rebounds and Dusan Djordjevic is leading in assists. Sean Singletary is leading in PER ahead of Caleb Green and Darnell Wilson.   

1. Belgacom Spirou Basket: 17.87  
2. Generali Okapi Aalstar: 9.48  
3. Antwerp Giants: 8.93  
4. Stella Artois Leuven Bears: 7.91  
5. Telenet Oostende: 4.54  
6. Dexia Mons-Hainaut: 0.38  
7. Optima Gent: -5.92  
8. Belgacom Liege Basket: -14.45  
9. VOO Verviers-Pepinster: -27.87

Israeli Super League Power Rankings

Maccabi has a three-game lead, losing just twice in domestic play.

Sylven Landesberg is leading in points, as he is joined by Adrian Banks and Tweety Carter in the 21+ club. Bryant Dunston is leading in rebounds, while Moran Roth holds court in assists. Shawn James and Richard Hendrix, each of Maccabi, are leading in PER. Bryant Dunston has the highest season FIC total.

1. Maccabi Tel Aviv: 26.77  
2. Hapoel Holon: 8.30  
3. Maccabi Rishon Lezion: 7.07  
4. Hapoel Migdal Jerusalem: 3.50  
5. Maccabi Haifa: -1.75  
6. BC Habikaa: -1.97  
7. Gilboa Galil: -2.21  
8. Maccabi Ashdod: -3.58  
9. Ironi Ashkelon: -4.07  
10. Barak Netanya: -7.46  
11. Bnei HaSharon: -25.02

 

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