About WoB Contact Us Link to Us Partner Sites They said about Us
Basketball History Hall of Fame Famous Coaches Famous Players
Naismith's Original Rules Basketball Rules NBA - FIBA Differences Referees Corner
EuroLeague EuroCup NBA Adriatic NLB League
Tapio Joulamo Alex Milic Nedim Grabovica Eric Zanzucchi Stories by our staff
Coach's Corner Youth Basketball Bob Carroll Steve Mergelsberg David Leman Joao Da Costa
Headlines News Archive
Advertise with Us Basketball Interviews Basketball Quotes Web Directories Live Scores


Home - Rudy Mbemba is back in town

  Rudy Mbemba is back in town

November 19, 2009

rudy mbembaAfter winning the Swedish championships in 2008, Rudy Mbemba moved to Italy, where he had a good season in Lega 2 with Gruppo Tibaldi Soresina. From there he moved to Greece to play for DASH Peristiri, but things did not go as planned. After a couple of disappointing games he returned to Sweden and was signed by Solna Vikings, the 2008 champions and 2009 finalists.

Rudy is a crowd-pleaser
Opinions differ concerning Rudy Mbemba, as they always do about spectacular and individually orientated players. Before Jonas Jerebko´s breakthrough, many fans believed Mbemba would the first Swede in NBA, but it was not meant to be. Instead, the talented guard, still only 22 years old, will be a valuable asset to Basketligan in general and Solna in particular. With Mbembas understanding of the game, his quickness, passing skills and scoring potential, it´s showtime again, and the crowds are happy.  Basketligan has not been able to fill the seats this season. One of the reasons is lack of outstanding players.

Mbemba shines, Stockholm suffers
After his first two games with Solna, Mbemba has taken his team´s lead in scoring and assists, with an excellent field goal percentage. In Tuesday night´s game against his former club, 08 Stockholm, he had a great evening, excelling with his entire repertoire offensively but also doing a good job in defense. Mbemba collected a double-double with 15 points and 12 assists. Poor Stockholm, with only one win in their first 13 games, was able to keep the loss down to 73-91against a strong Solna team. Despite the uphill, Stockholm has no intention to change their strategy to play with an entirely Swedish squad, even though they lost several quality players coming into the season. However, long losing streaks are always a mental burden, and the team is beginning to suffer. Attitude on court is what coach Stefan Pettersson wants most of all from his players.
-They need to “go to work” every night, every game, says Pettersson.

Defense compensates for length
Solna on the other hand, with the addition of Mbemba, once again emerges as  a potential finalist. The back-court is strong, with Mbemba, Andrew Mitchell, Icelandic international Helgi Magnusson and Swedish star Martin Pahlmblad. Playmaking and long rage scoring is not the problem. Their concerns lie elsewhere. One is the lack of a really big man, as it has been for a couple of years. Solna has compensated for that with a smart and tough, some say brutal, defense. One of their trademarks, adapted under Finnish coach Pekka Salminen, has been the doubleteam on low-post, which always comes from baseline, a defensive play that has created lots of opponent turnovers. Under two years with Salminen, one must say that Solna has executed their defensive strategy extremely well and produced results. They won in 2008 and were runner-ups in 2009. Their key players in the paint during those years have been Solna icon and captain Lesli Myrthil, along w
ith Lithuanian center Saulius Dumbilauskas. Those two have to keep up their good job in both ends also this year if Solna wants to go far.

Team play is the key
The other concern is about the importance of team play, another characteristic of Solna, a fact that coach Björn Hjalmarsson is well aware of. Hjalmarsson, assistant coach under Salminen, took over as head from Icelands national team coach Siggi Ingimundarsson, who this year replaced the Finn, but was sent home after only a few weeks. With a player like Mbemba in the team, things will have to change in some extent. Solna cannot afford to abandon one of their major strengths, the team effort, and rely on individual performances entirely.

The question is, will Rudy Mbemba have to adjust to the Solna style, or must the style of play adjust to him?
- It´s both give and take, says Hjalmarsson. We have to stick to our team concept, that´s for sure. On the other hand, a guy like Mbemba needs, and must have space to execute his skills. His presence of course leads to a different balance in the team, so we are in the process of changing a few things, mainly offensively, to adapt to our new situation. However, the basic plan is still to maintain the team effort that has been so successful for us.

The final four
The other three semifinal favorites this season in Basketligan are Norrköping, Plannja and Sundsvall. On forehand, Norrköping and Plannja were named the title candidates, but Sundsvall and Solna want to have their say in the matter.
Sundsvall, runner-ups in 2008 and champions this spring, lost several of their most important players, including Alex Wesby and Australian Liam Rush, outstanding player in the final series. With several new additions, both Swedish and foreign, Sundsvall again has a competitive team. As in the previous years they are coached by young but experienced duo Peter Äqvist and Pontus Frivold. They know what it takes to be in the heat and how to get there. Sundsvall is at present 11-3 in position 3 in Basketligan, better than most had expected.

Plannja, that team that gathers the biggest crowds in Basketligan, has won five national titles in the last 10 years. They are hungry for more. Last season they were knocked out in the quarterfinals, which was a disappointment for everyone in Luleå. Coach Mattias Kenttä, who does his second year as head, has a good squad to play with. The bulk of his roster stayed and Plannja managed to recruit young star Christopher Ryan, rookie of the year last season, Swedish national center Johan Äkesson and American Brandon McKnight. Plannja has so far won 10 gamed and lost 2. They are going for gold. Plannja certainly has the players and the experience needed.
Norrköping was everybody´s favorite last year, but despite a very strong line-up and a new arena, the first one built in Sweden just for basketball purposes, they stumbled in the spring. Norrköping was almost eliminated in quarterfinals by Jämtland and then fell against Sundsvall in the semifinals. Some argue that the team didn´t last the season due to their participation in the Baltic Basketball League. With all the games and the frequent traveling, there was too little time for practice. This year, with Basketligan increased to 40 games, they again double with the Baltics. It will be interesting to see if they have learned their lesson and go all the way this season. Anyway, coach Kelly Grant has no shortage of players or experience. They lost star guard Andrew Pleick to Borås, but landed Swedish
international Micke Lindqvist from 08 Stockholm, and still have competent players like Kenneth Grant, Joakim Kjellbom, George Gervin and Fred Drains.

The situation in Basketligan:












  Our Partners



euroleague tv

Copyright © World of Basketball. All rights reserved. Optimized for 1024 x 768 resolution IE, Opera and Firefox

Top Sport Sites Top 100  Sites on Top100Add.com - Add your Site, Boost Your Traffic! All Sport Sites TheSports100.com | Sports Toplist