The Macedonian Tendency: McCalebb to the NBA?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

McCalebb to the NBA?

McCalebb leads Macedonia over Georgia at Europeans:

September 09, 2011 02:05 AM

VILNIUS: American-born Bo McCalebb gave his adopted nation of Macedonia a present on its Independence Day, making a layup with two seconds left Thursday to secure a 65-63 victory over Georgia at the European Championship.

The victory on the 20th anniversary of Macedonia’s independence all but sealed an improbable place in the quarterfinals for the former Yugoslav republic and a shot at qualifying for next year’s Olympics in London.
“No one expected us to do anything, so we tried to take advantage of that,” McCalebb said.

After a timeout, McCalebb dribbled the ball as the clock ticked down before driving to the basket and putting in a left-handed layup for the win. The guard led all scorers with 27 points.

“Everybody in the gym knew they would play pick-and-roll and that McCalebb would drive to the left and still we couldn’t stop him,” Georgia coach Igor Kokoskov said.

McCalebb, who was born and raised in New Orleans, never played club basketball in Macedonia but led Partizan Belgrade from neighboring Serbia to the Euroleague Final Four. He is now with Montepaschi Siena and also guided the Italian team to the Final Four.

Macedonia, looking for a playmaker after injuries to two players, offered him citizenship last year.

“He is a fantastic player,” Macedonia coach Marin Dokuzovski said.

With a 3-0 record in second-round Group F, Macedonia has virtually secured a spot in the quarterfinals.

Four teams from each group will advance to the quarterfinals. The two finalists will qualify directly for the London Olympics, while the next four teams will play an additional qualifying tournament.

Georgia (0-3) played without Atlanta Hawks center Zaza Pachulia, the team’s second leading scorer, who has been ruled out for the tournament because of a left calf injury. The Georgians also lost point guard George Tsintsadze to a left knee injury midway into the second quarter.

“They’ve beaten better teams than Georgia, but it’s a tough loss,” said Kokoskov, an assistant with the Phoenix Suns. “Maybe it’s better to lose by 20.”

Macedonia led by 14 in the third quarter but Georgia pulled back to within two in the fourth before McCalebb stopped its 14-2 run with two quick baskets.

Nikoloz Tskitishvili, who led Georgia with 20 points, made two free throws to tie the game with 16 seconds on the clock.

Macedonia called a timeout and McCalebb never let the ball out of his hands until scoring the winning basket.

“Bo can always find solutions,” Dokuzovski said.

“The Independence Day gave us extra motivation but it also put additional pressure on us.”

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