Sunday, February 24, 2008

What Would David Stern Do?

Ah H.T. has come through once again. This time to let us know that pro-basketball in Finland has problems, too. Its not all just salmon and saunas. Its like, 85% salmon and saunas, and 16% heartbreak. And 5% better public schools. My head hurts. Keep your head up H.T., as a survivor of the "JailBlazer" era I can say it gets better...eventually.

Just a few weeks ago, Finnish tabloid media began buzzing after Iiro Tenngren (PF/C, 6-8", 1979, Vanderbilt) of Finnish basketball league leader ToPo was caught with the possession of cocaine. Tenngren had been one of the most surprising domestic players in the Finnish League of 07/08 season,averaging 12,5 points and 5,0 rebounds a game. Even though Tenngren has been known to have a Rasheed Wallace -like temper, he had been able to keep himself under control for most of the season.

Tenngren's cocaine case is still going on. Tenngren was tested by ToPo and test results were negative, but it is unlikely that Tenngren can escape the future charges which will be held against him. He returned to ToPo's roster February 16th. It's too early to say how the charges will affect Tenngren's game, but the case has already casted a shadow upon ToPo's otherwise great season.

Yesterday the Finnish media got interested in basketball again, when Jerald Fields (PF/C, 6-8", 1982, East Tennessee State) of ToPo and Monte Cummings(SF/SG, 6-4", 1976, Florida State) of Honka were both tested positive with cannabis. Fields was having a great season with ToPo with 14,8 points, 9,6 rebounds, 2,2 assists, 1,9 blocks and 1,8 steals a game while Cummings was enjoying his sixth season in Finland averaging 15,1 points, 5,1 rebounds, 2 assists and 1,7 steals. Both guys were clearly among the profile players of Finnish League and replacing them will be extremely difficult for their teams.

After going downhill for a decade, Finnish basketball began to gain some respect in 2006/2007, when Petteri Koponen was drafted to the NBA and Finnish national team crushed Romania to get back to European A-division. Last two weeks have been tragic for Finnish basketball and it is likely that getting sponsors will be difficult when the next season approaches. Finnish Basketball Association and both teams have reacted in a professional fashion, releasing Fields and Cummings and taking a strong stand against drugs.

Case Tenngren will take a long time to solve, but it is already clear that Fields and Cummings will be banned from finishing the season in Finland. Because both players were caught for the first time, they will probably find employers in Finland in near future. In 1999, ToPo's power forward Greg Joyner (PF, 6-7", 1959, Middle Tennessee State) was tested positive for cannabis, but just two years later he made his debut in Finnish national team in front of cheering audience. Monte Cummings has told the Finnish media that he is interested in getting a Finnish citizenship one day, so it is possible he'll follow the footsteps of Joyner.

Here's a clip of Monte doing his thing in 2007 Finnish semi-finals (Honka #11) (Editor's Note: Disregard that Finnagler dunk attempt in the beginning, just block it out):

A quick update on the Finnish league standings and some standouts:

1. TOPO, HELSINKI (33-28-5)
Tyson Patterson (PG, 5-9", 1978, Appalachian State, USA) Pts 15,3 As 5,0 Reb
4,2 St 2,6
Timo Heinonen (SF, 6-6", 1981, Pussihukat, FIN) Pts 13,4 Reb 4,6 St 1,0

Jukka Matinen (SF, 6-8", 1978, Keravan Kori-80, FIN) Pts 18,5 Reb 4,4
Petteri Koponen (PG, 6-4", 1988, MaSu Basket, FIN) Pts 18,4 As 3,8 Reb 3,4
St 1,8

3. KOUVOT, KOUVOLA (33-23-10)
Corey Smith (SF/PF, 6-5", 1983, Vanderbilt, USA) Pts 21,4 Reb 8,1 As 2,3 St 2,3
Tuomas Iisalo (SG/SF, 6-5", 1982, Loviisan Hokki, FIN) Pts 13,4 Reb 3,1As
1,9 St 1,0

4. TEAM LAPPEENRANTA (16-11-5) *
Adrian Henning (PF, 6-9", 1982, Austin Peay, USA) Pts 22,3 Reb 7,9 St 2,4 As
1,6 Bl 1,6
Petri Virtanen (SG/PG, 6-0", 1980, Säynätsalon Riento, FIN) Pts 15,8 As 4,4
Reb 2,5 St 1,8

5. NAMIKA LAHTI (33-18-15)
Pierre Jallow (C, 6-8", 1979, William Jewell College, Gambia) Pts 14,7 Reb
8,4 As 0,8 St 0,8 Bl 0,5
Ville Mäkäläinen (SF, 6-4", 1985, Namika Lahti, FIN) Pts 14,0 Reb 4,6 As 2,6
St 1,3

Damon Williams (SF/SG, 6-7", 1973, Southern Colorado, USA) Pts 23,8 Reb 11,5
As 4,1 St 1,8
Damion Dantzler (PF, 6-8", 1976, Louisville, USA) Pts 16,9 Reb 11,1 As 1,7
St 1,0

Glenn Stokes (PG, 5-7", 1976, American University, USA) Pts 19,8 Reb 4,0 As
2,9 St 2,5
Jussi Kumpulainen (PF, 6-9", 1976, Kisa Nokia, FIN) Pts 12,9 Reb 8,8 St 1,5
As 1,1

8. JOENSUUN KATAJA (34-14-20)
Andre Foreman (SF, 6-6", 1969, Salisbury, USA) Pts 16,9 Reb 6,2 As 1,5 St
1,5 Bl 0,9
Louis Hinnant (SG/PG, 6-4", 1984, Boston College, USA) Pts 17,6 Reb 5,1 As
4,6 St 1,3

9. PORVOON TARMO (34-14-20)
Mark McCarroll (C/PF, 6-10", 1980, Pittsburgh, USA) Pts 18,1 Reb 12,9 Bl 1,9
As 0,8 St 0,8
Esa Mäki-Tulokas (SF, 6-6", 1982, LIU-Brooklyn, FIN) Pts 13,8 Reb 5,1 As 1,9
St 0,9

10. KTP BASKET, KOTKA (34-13-21)
Steve Smith (PF/SF, 6-7", 1981, Iona, USA) Pts 21,6 Reb 8,5 St 1,4 As 0,9
Toni Ilmonen (SG/PG, 6-2", 1977, Äänekosken Huima, FIN) Pts 14,1 Reb 1,5 As
1,1 St 0,8

11. KARHU, KAUHAJOKI (33-9-24)
Eric Washington (SG, 6-4", 1974, Alabama, USA) Pts 22,9 Reb 9,6 St 1,3 As 1,0
Darryl Hudson (PG/SG, 6-4", 1985, Howard, USA) Pts 20,0 Reb 5,8 As 2,8 St 0,7

Nick Wallery (PF/C, 6-7", 1981, Albany State, USA) Pts 21,1 Reb 12,6 As 1,8
St 1,2 Bl 1,2
Chris Hester (SG/SF, 6-3", 1979, Eastern Washington, USA) Pts 19,4 Reb 7,6
As 3,6 St 1,9

* Lappeenranta only plays 50% of Finnish League games because the team
participated in FIBA EuroCup


Luke said...

Those crazy Finns. Maybe the NBA needs to help them with their drug policy, especially regarding cannabis. I think the NBA's CBA states something to the effect of: "The randomly selected player must take his urinary analysis within 48 hours of receiving his clean, dehydrated urine from the league office."

Jack Brown said...

I'm sort of wondering if this kind of stuff leads many Finnish fans to have an exaggerated negative view of the entire league and its players, NBA style.

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Maryann said...

In my opinion everybody must go through it.

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