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Polish League All-Star Game Selected!!

Hello to all my GoTorey.com followers I have a special announcement to make and I want to thank all of you for all the support and votes. I have been selected to the 2011 Polish All-star Game January 16th in Kalisz! I was voted in along side teammate Marko Brkic to play this coming Sunday at the Hala Sportowo-Widowiskowa Arena Kalisz! In addition to Marko and I being selected teammate Ivan Koljevic was selected to participate in the 3 point shooting contest!

All-Star game is a special time for a player no matter what country he is at. It’s a great opportunity to play and be around players that normally you have to compete with game by game. I am extremely excited to see how my game will look along side guys like Harding Nana, Walter Hodge, Tony Easley, Eddie Miller, Darnell Hinson and many other great athletes. It’s a time of the season when you can just kick back and enjoy the time with fans and get what’s most important in basketball – the great fun and excitement.

For me as a player this selection marks another point in this very good season. I feel appreciated about the effort I put up on the court and most of all the fans here in Zgorzelec recognize that. At the same time even despite this great selection I have to stay focused on the important goals this season for our Turow Team! I hope that my game will bring a lot of excitement to the fans around Poland and make my avid supporters in Zgorzelec feel proud that I’m one of their representatives.

And to all my Polish fans: Chciałbym podziekowac za wszystkie oddane na mnie głosy! Mam nadzieję, że nadal bedziecie we mnie wierzyli i zrobie co w mojej mocy aby przywiezc do Zgorzelca MVP!

Gameday Round Up #6 – Turow at Anwil

We were ready for a tough road game on satuday. We knew coming into this game it would be a hard-fought one. Anwil has a great fan base and it was deafening loud at times in the arena. The game was not a very pretty one to watch because many plays were not executed successfully but the energy and effort from both teams were at an extremely high level. In the first half Anwil started out strong and went on a run going up 8 points but we managed to close the gap and take a 2 point lead going into Halftime.

Our game plan was to limit turnovers and limit Anwil’s offensive rebounds and we had a good chance to win an important game for Turow. The second half was played similarly like the 1st half in which both teams could not find a solid rhythm but we were able to make defensive stops when we needed them. The pace at times was frantic both teams wanted to run the fast break but it was the execution down the stretch that allowed us to prevail with a 69-65 win.

Nikola Jovanovic led Anwil with 16 points and 8 rebounds, Paul Miller with 12 points and Eric Hicks with 9 points and 3 blocks.

David Jackson with 12 points, Marko Brkic with 9 points and 8 rebounds and myself with 23 points and 4 rebounds led Turow.

As soon as the buzzer sounded you can see the exhaustion on both teams’ faces because it was a hard fought battle. It is always great to get a win and even more important to get it when you’re not hitting shots that you usually make.

Right now after this important win we are heading to Olsztyn for a cup game and right after that we’ll hear the results for the All-Star game that is going be held next weekend in Kalisz. If I get selected then I will be part of the event on Sunday, if not that leaves us with a few free days to focus on the upcoming important battle against Polonia on the 22nd.

Gameday Round up #5 Trefl and Czarni

The nature of the game is hard to swallow. Coming off a great win last week vs Poznan this week we held a 10 point lead throughout the game but lost by 2 points in overtime to Trefl. The game was filled with excitement. We started off very strong executing our offense and playing solid defense to open up the game taking a 36-27 lead into halftime. In the second half of the game Trefl cut into the lead and came back into the game. We exchanged basket throughout the rest of the game and went into overtime! They ended with an 83-81 win over us in a heartbreaking loss right before the New Year.

I got a chance to go home for a few days.  It was exciting to see my family and friends but in the process I had a bad cold virus and was sick my time there and coming back to Poland out for the rest of the week!  Ivan Koljevic did a great job stepping up for the team and helping to secure this victory!

Tonight’s game was versus the number one team in the Polish Basketball League, Energa Czarni Slupsk. This is the way to start off the New Year with a huge win! The energy in the arena was great. The fans were really ready to support and cheer on their team! The game started off very intense and the score was close in the first half in which we took a 7-point advantage into halftime 49-42.

We followed our game plan very well tonight. We had to limit their fast break points because this team really runs very well and they play penetration and kick out to their shooters for open 3-point shots. They thrive off of open court 1-on-1 and we limited that tonight. In the 3rd quarter we really opened up the game. We went on a nice run making plays on the fast break and playing very tough defense. We did not let up this game and when the buzzer sounded 95-78 was the final result!

Czarni Slupsk was lead by Jerel Blassigame with 22 points, Mantas Cesnauskis 15 points, and Bryan Davis with 13 points and 7 rebounds.

We were lead by 5 players in double figures. Ivan Koljevic had 21 points and 6 assists, David Jackson 12 points, Robert Tomaszek 12 points, and myself with 11 points and 8 assists. This was a great team effort we had outstanding rebounding by Ivan Zigeranovic, Michal Gabinski, and Marko Brkic.

I would like to thank the fans for really making it a fun place to play and always cheering and supporting us! I love the chant “Torey…Thomas” at the free-throw line! Go Turow!

Team Highlight Video

Hello to all my GoTorey.com followers!  We are approaching the New Year!  I wish everyone a safe and enjoyable New Year.  I am posting videos of my team PGE Turow and the highlights of the games we have played.  Here is my first edited video vs Anwil.  Please check it out and leave comments or feedback!

Now Blogging for www.eurobasket.com!!

Photography - Sadowski & Maz / Plugimages.com

All of the gotorey.com visitors! I am very happy to announce to you that I have been selected by Eurobasket.com. From now on I will be blogging some of the more interesting pieces about my European Journey for the Eurobasket fans. I hope that all of you following GoTorey.com will see this opportunity as one more step towards spreading the word about Polish basketball. And of course I will always represent all of the countries that I have visited  on my european travels, Holland! Sweden! Turkey! Great friends and great memories!

My name is Torey Thomas and I am from White Plains, New York. I graduated from Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts in 2007 with a degree in Sociology and Pre-law. I am currently playing in my fourth season Professionally in Europe. I am the point guard on PGE Turow Zgorzelec basketball team in the Polish league (PLK). I chose to play for PGE Turow because I have heard that this club was very professional and had a winning mentality. The city Zgorzelec borders Gorlitz, Germany so I can be in Poland at one time and in Germany five minutes later! That’s called Country hopping! Life in Poland has been pretty good we practice twice a day and we play once a week usually Saturday evenings. Now the travel is a different story! We have bus trips that are ten hours long to go to games! Luckily I have enough songs on my iPod to help me through half of those hours. I can’t imagine when it consistently snows and is -15 degrees Celsius outside it probably will be a whole day of traveling to get to some games. Nonetheless, when I do get to the games it is always electric in the arenas! The fans are up chanting from the tipoff until the final buzzer.

Many people ask questions about European basketball: what are the similarities what are the differences? I want to point out an interesting difference. Unlike the United States every country has their own respective league. Each country has their own local league games in which the teams from that country compete with each other and they only travel to games inside that country. This concept changes when a team participates in either Euro league, Euro cup, and Euro challenge then they will travel to different countries to play teams in their pools. In most leagues the games domestically are played once a week usually on the weekend and the whole city shuts down to see the game. In Poland every game that we have played the crowds have filled the stands and even a record-breaking attendance game between Asseco Prokom and Trefl Sopot of 10,015 People!

I have yet to witness many similarities in the European game in comparison to the United States game. The three second lane key is not a trapezoid anymore it is a rectangle. We play with three referees and the make the same hand gestures when you hit a three point shot or foul offensively and defensively. The style of basketball is totally different in my opinion. You definitely have to adapt to the way the game is officiated.

Aside from basketball I really urge players to get immerse into the culture of the country. Find out what the people of the country like and dislike and also when they have holidays. I believe if your going to be over here for nine months at a time learning about the country your playing in is important to your overall experience of playing in Europe.

Thanks for reading my introductory blog for Eurobasket.com!

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