Sonny Weems’ Plan To Make It Back To Nba From Russia

Olympics: Russia kicks off torch relay for Sochi Games

A restricted free agent that summer, Weems wanted a guarantee and Europe offered it. He signed with BC Zalgiris in Kaunas, Lithuania, but having never spent considerable time outside of North America, Weems struggled at first, both on and off the court. He didn’t know the language, and the European game is different. “In the NBA, it’s up and down, up and down,” Weems said. “In Europe, you have to slow your game down. I had to learn how to use my brain instead of my natural ability.” Weems said he had to re-invent himself as a player and prove he could do more than just rely on athleticism. But even after a decent year in Lithuania, which ended late in the season with a badly sprained ankle, there was minimal interest in Weems from NBA teams. So he signed with CSKA Moscow in the 2012 offseason and helped CSKA to a Russian title and third-place finish in the Euroleague last season. Playing for respected Italian coach Ettore Messina, who spent the 2011-12 season with the Los Angeles Lakers, Weems averaged 12.1 points and shot 42.1% on three-pointers for CSKA. He was the Euroleague player of the month in October last season, averaging 20.3 point in three games. He scored 29 of his 61 points in the fourth quarter and overtime that month. “Once I got used to the European game, my game went to another level. I became more of half-court player and learned how to use the pick-and-rolls, and not just a run-and shoot guy,” Weems said. Weems has adapted to life in Europe though he admits his Russian “is terrible.

Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol (16) shoots over Denver Nuggets center Timofey Mozgov (25) during the first half at Staples Center.

Russian torchbearers set off Monday on history’s longest Olympic torch relay ahead of February’s Winter Games in Sochi, which will take the flame across the country and even put it on a deer sleigh. Caption MOSCOW: Russian torchbearers set off Monday on history’s longest Olympic torch relay ahead of February’s Winter Games in Sochi, which will take the flame across the country and even put it on a deer sleigh. In a Red Square ceremony, Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin lit a torch from the flame that arrived from Athens on Sunday, passing it to Anastasiya Davydova, a synchronised swimming champion, who began jogging through flying confetti. The flame will spend two days in the Russian capital before it is taken southeast to its next destination Kolomna, an ancient city in the Moscow region. Russia is hosting an elaborate relay through all 83 of its regions, including extreme locales such as Chukotka, the remote region in Russia’s Far East, the turbulent North Caucasus, and even Russia’s European exclave Kaliningrad. As part of the relay, the flame will sail on a nuclear-powered icebreaker to the North Pole, dive into the world’s deepest freshwater lake, Baikal, and ascend Europe’s highest peak on Mount Elbrus. One kilometre of the 65,000 kilometre (40,000 mile) journey from Athens to the Black Sea resort Sochi, where the Games begin on February 7, will be done by deer sleigh, organisers said. Russian authorities even mulled the idea of sending the flame into space. The plan was discarded out of safety concerns, but an unlit Olympic torch will blast off to the International Space Station on November 7, where two Russian cosmonauts will take it for a space walk before its return to Earth on November 11. – AFP/al

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