20 Second Timeout: Bill Schoening Blog

Follow the team all season long with the 20-Second Timeout blog by Bill Schoening, The Radio Voice of the Spurs for the past 12 years. Bill has over 30 years of play-by-play experience including broadcasting Major League Baseball, the NFL and the NBA. *Timeout Archive: October 10 | November 10 | December 10 | January 11 | February 11 | March 11 | April 11 | December 11 | January 12 | February 12 | March 12 | April 12 | May 12 | October 12 | November 12 | December 12 | January 13 | February 13

Tough Crowd?
by Bill Schoening | Mar. 28, 2013
Tiago Splitter, Fabricio Oberto
(Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty)

I always enjoy my pregame visits with opposing players, and some of my favorite interviews have been with guys who have come to the NBA from foreign countries.

The Spurs, of course, are the team with the most international players, and they have a pretty good gauge on opposing players from overseas since they have gone up against these guys in Euroleague or FIBA tournaments.

Kosta Koufas of the Denver Nuggets is an American born player of Greek heritage and plays for the Greek national team. I had been told years ago by former Spurs Center Fabricio Oberto that Greece was the toughest place for a visiting team to play.

Tiago Splitter, who played in Spain for Tau Ceramica and for the Brazilian national team, agrees with Oberto's assessment.

"In Greece, it's like they take the soccer crowd and then place them in a tight small gym with about 3,000 people. They have these huge flags and they sing during the entire game. They also throw things like coins and cans, anything you can imagine. They are very fanatic about sports and basketball."

That makes going on the road to play the Jazz in Salt Lake sound like a walk in the park. No wonder players from Europe look forward to opportunities to play in the NBA.

Nando Shows Progress
by Bill Schoening | Mar. 21, 2013
Nando De Colo
(D. Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty)

Even though Spurs rookie guard Nando DeColo is in his mid-twenties and has played three seasons in the highly respected A.C.B. (Spanish League), there's no question that it still takes awhile for professionals from overseas to adjust to life in the NBA.

Imagine trying to learn a new language and culture while also working hard to prove you can contribute to a succssful organization like the Spurs.

DeColo has been part of the mix in the Spurs' search for a steady backup to Tony Parker. With Tony's ankle injury and Gary Neal battling various ailments, DeColo has seized the opportunity and has played well since returning from a one game trip to Austin last week.

Against Golden State on Wednesday, DeColo came up with two midcourt steals and turned them into fast break points. He has been shooting the ball with more confidence lately, and hit 5 of 6 shots against the Warriors. He also nailed a trio (or a trois') of three pointers against Cleveland.

DeColo welcomes the opportunities he's getting.

"This is a very good team for me to be with, and I want to work hard and help the team in any way I can," DeColo said.

Spoken like a true Spur.

Stak5 Gets a Big Reception at SXSW
by Bill Schoening | Mar. 15, 2013
Stephen Jackson, Stak5, sxsw
(Shep McAllister/spurs.com)

If you're a regular reader of 20 Second Timeout, you know how important music is to me.

Some of my best friends are musicians, and in my spare time I love to write lyrics and melodies and strum my guitar. I am also in the early stages of learning the harmonica.

I have always felt that music (like sports) can bring people together. This was never more evident than on Wednesday, when Spurs small forward Stephen Jackson (aka Stak5) took teammate Matt Bonner up on his invitation to play at a South by Southwest Showcase in Austin that Matt and his brother Luke were hosting at Club deVille on Red River.

The Bonners had lined up six hours of music ranging from pop, folk, rock and hip hop. As the headliner, Stak5 didn't disappoint.

A large and very enthusiastic crowd gathered to hear Jack rap, and he was joined onstage by teammates Gary Neal, DeJuan Blair and Patty Mills. Cory Joseph and Boris Diaw also made the drive up to Austin to support their teammate's hip hop show.

Not only did the fans love the music, they also serenaded Jack with chants of "Go Spurs Go" both before and after the performance. While Jack is still focused on helping the Spurs make a deep playoff run, it's also apparent that he has a future in the music business (as Stak5) once he decides to hang up the sneakers.

Global Backups for Parker
by Bill Schoening | Mar. 5, 2013

(Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty)

OK, so let me know if you've heard this one: A Frenchman, A Canadian and an Aussie walk into an NBA arena, and they all get to fill in at times for this season's best NBA point guard. Well, it's no joke and the Spurs have already seen some good things from each of them as they try to provide solid play in the absence of Tony Parker, who was enjoying his finest season but will miss an estimated four weeks with a Grade 2 ankle sprain.

The Frenchman (Nando DeColo) is gaining valuable experience as he adjusts his game from the Spanish League to the NBA. The Aussie (Patty Mills) is energetic and is capable of getting hot from the outside. The Canadian (Cory Joseph) has spent the major bulk of the season running the Spurs system in Austin with the D-League Toros. He has returned to the Spurs with an aggressive approach on defense and renewed confidence in his offensive game.

We could have also added an Argentinian into the mix because there will also be times over the next dozen games or so that Manu Ginobili is playing the role of facilitator. He took over the point in the third quarter Sunday against Detroit and the Spurs promptly pulled away from the Pistons. If my math and geography are correct Tony's fill-ins will come from four different continents. The Spurs clearly have searched far and wide to amass the type of talent that has them in the role of serious contender once again.