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@GW_MBB Alumni Competing for European League Titles

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Pops_Tony_euro-leagues_Twitter.jpgA pair of GW men's basketball alumni recently competed for top-tier professional league titles in Europe.

Pops Mensah-Bonsu ('06) aimed for his second Turkish Basketball League championship in the past three seasons, this time with Galatasaray from the capital city of Istanbul.  Mensah-Bonsu helped another Istanbul club, Besiktas, to the TBL title in 2012, earning league Player of the Year honors before participating in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London with Great Britain's National Team.

In his first season abroad after competing in the NBA D-League and Summer Leagues last year, Tony Taylor ('12) helped guide his PGE Turow team in Zgorzelec to the championship series in the Polish Basketball League (PBL).

For additional info on Pops' and Tony's title quests, plus how other alumni fared in the pros this season, head to the jump.


Pops Mensah-Bonsu ('06) is aiming for his second Turkish Basketball League championship in the past three seasons, this time with Galatasaray from the capital city of Istanbul.  Mensah-Bonsu helped another Istanbul club, Besiktas, to the TBL title in 2012, earning league Player of the Year honors before participating in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London with Great Britain's National Team. 

In a 2-1 quarterfinal series victory over his old team Besiktas, Mensah-Bonsu averaged 11.0 points on 85 percent shooting and 8.0 rebounds.  Gala then knocked off top seeded Banvit, which went 28-2 during the regular season, 3-1 to advance to the finals against Fenerbahce.  Mensah-Bonsu and Gala currently trail 1-0 in the title series after an 89-70 loss on Tuesday, but will play upcoming games on June 5, 8, 10 and beyond if necessary.

For the season, Mensah-Bonsu is averaging 9.3 points on 61 percent shooting and 6.5 rebounds through 32 games played.

UPDATED 6/6: Galatasaray fell behind 2-0 in its series against Fenerbahce with a 74-73 loss on June 5.  Pops played just three minutes in that game and continues to work back from a bowel infection that sidelined him for part of the semifinal series versus Banvit.

UPDATED 6/17: Pops totaled 16 points on 5-of-6 shooting and eight rebounds to help Galatasaray win Game 6, 85-77, on Tuesday, June 16 to force a decisive Game 7.


UPDATED 6/23: Galatasaray forfeited Game 7 to Fenerbahce due to a series of controversies surrounding game official selection and treatment of Gala players, coaches and staff by Fenerbahce fans during the title series.  On Monday, June 23 it was announced that Pops had signed with Olympiacos, which finished runner-up in Greece's A1 League in 2013-14 and has 10 Greek league titles and three Euroleague championships in its history.

In his first season abroad after competing in the NBA D-League and Summer Leagues last year, Tony Taylor ('12) has helped guide his PGE Turow team in Zgorzelek to the championship series in the Polish Basketball League (PBL).

Turow is currently locked in a title battle with rival Stelmet, which swept Turow in last year's title series.  The two teams posted identical 25-7 records during the 2013-14 regular season and now Turow holds a 2-1 edge in the championship with upcoming games on June 5, 8, 11 and 14.  Since being promoted to the top-tier PBL in 2005, Turow has made six finals appearances, but is seeking its first title.

Taylor is averaging 8.1 points on 47 percent shooting, including 44 percent behind the arc, and 3.7 assists through 32 games for Turow.  In three championship series games so far, he's providing 4.7 points on 71 percent shooting and 1.7 assists.

UPDATED 6/6: Taylor provided seven points, two assists and two rebounds as PGE Turow took a 3-1 series lead with an 81-75 victory over Stelmet on June 5.  Taylor and Turow will go for the championship title on Sunday, June 8.

UPDATED: 6/13: Taylor was second on the team with 11 points and led the team with four assists as PGE Turow won the title with a 72-60 win over Stelmet in Game 6.



Three other men's basketball alumni posted solid seasons abroad in 2013-14:

Damian Hollis ('10) helped his Angelico Biella team finish fourth in Italy's Lega Nazionale Gold (second tier) during the regular season, ranking fifth in the league in scoring (18.1 ppg) and sixth in the league in blocks (1.1 bpg).  Although his team was edged in the quarterfinals of the playoffs, Hollis was named MVP of the midseason LNP Italian Cup as he led Biella to the title and was also MVP of the league All-Star Game.

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Hermann Opoku ('10) helped Kapfenberg to regular season and Cup titles in Austria's A Bundesliga, though his team was edged, 3-2, by Gussing in its first league championship series appearance since 2004.

Dwayne Smith ('13) played in a team-best 57 games for The Island Storm of Canada's National Basketball League (NBL).  He averaged 5.8 points on 49 percent shooting and 3.7 rebounds in 15 minutes per game to help the Storm post the second-best record in the league (32-25) and a narrow 4-3 loss in the NBL title series against the Windsor Express.


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