There are a lot of Europeans on the Jazz. Kirilenko, Okur, Fesenko. Hell, even the Jazz players that aren't officially on the team are European: Suton, Tomic, Serbian dude. So, with Eurobasket in full swing, you'd expect that all these Euros would be working off the summer 15, right? Wrong. In fact the only Jazzman getting run in Eurobasket was born and bred in exotic Canton, Ohio.
Let's take a look at who isn't playing:
Fesenko: Fesenko's national team experience this summer has been well-documented. But his pouting didn't keep him from Eurobasket, since Ukraine didn't qualify.
Okur: Turkey and their "12 Giant Men" look like one of the top teams this year after beating Lithuania and Bulgaria. But our man Memo will not be joining Hedo in seeking European domination. Okur was dismissed from the Turkish team for "intransigence." Translation: he's fat and out of shape, because it's summertime.
Kirilenko: Andrei, who usually dominates this tournament, has decided to sit this one out so that he can "rest for the summer." In other words, he and Masha are shopping at high end boutiques in Paris and playing lots of simcity.
Now, it's probably a good thing that those three aren't playing this year. We will need them to be fresh for the regular season. And, as the Spurs know, only bad things can happen by playing summer ball. But what about the non-Jazz Jazzmen? We aren't bringing them to America any time soon, so it might be good for them to get some world class competition.
Unfortunately, they aren't good enough to make their national top 12.
Ante "Auntie" Tomic: The Croatian stick figure didn't make the final Croat roster. And you can hardly blame him when the team is stacked with NBA no-names like Roko Ukic and Zoran Planicic. The positive spin here is that Tomic was the last man cut, is still relatively young (22), and whiter than anything the Jazz have ever seen.
Tadija Dragicevic: The Serbs were the hot team in Eurobasket after dismantling defending champion Spain, and then got beat by lightweight Slovenia the next night. That would seem to be excellent preparation for playing on the Jazz in April, but unfortunately Tadija didn't make the Serbian roster. In fact, I can't find any mention of him even getting a try out. As you can tell, I'm really high on the Serbian Matt Harpring. On the plus side, he does seem to be playing well for his club team, Crvena Zvezda (pronounced as you would expect). Here's the poetic press release from his latest game:
KK Crvena Zvezda Beograd made won in fist friendly match in pre season. Guest from Philippines, Talk N Text Tropang Texters, lost friendly match against domestic players 92-60. From the beginning of the match, KK Crvena Zvezda Beograd made huge advantage, without chance for the guests to the end of the game. .... Captain Tadija Dragicevic scored 13 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists.
If he can put up those numbers against the Talk N Text Tropang Texters, imagine what he'd do to the Bucks!
Kosta Koufos: Finally, our hero. Kosta, who our readers will recall was born and raised in Canton, OH, made the Greek national team. He's also been Greece's most consistent player, putting up 10 points in both of the team's first two victories - including a defeat of Andrei's homeland. Greece has a couple of NBAish guards, in Nick Calethes and Vassilis Spanoulis, but Kosta will really carry this team. And if anyone challenges his Greekness, just show them your dueling passports and remind them that you are Greek too, bitch.