I just realized that there hasn’t been an official Orlando Magic post on the ‘More Champagne’ nickname that has been bestowed upon Evan Fournier. Let’s change that. One look at the 21-year-old’s Twitter account, and you know immediately how much Evan covets his nickname. Fournier has been having a solid run for the French national team at the FIBA World Cup. That means the French – and even Denver Nuggets fans – have flooded Twitter timelines by tweeting ‘#MoreChampagne’ for Mr. Fournier after every 3-pointer – and any basket in general – he makes. That led the 6′ 6″ wing to explain to L’Equipe the origins of his nickname. Below is a Google translated version:
‘It was my first season in Denver. And during the period when for the first time I began to play and score three-point shots, a local journalist one day came to me. He told me of a song from old school rap ’90s artist named Antony Forte. In the clip, at one point, someone asked: “More champagne, Mr. Forte?” Since the pronunciation of the name is like mine, from there, every time I put in a three-point basket, the speakers of the arena in Denver played the sample of the song. It stuck. It touched me, so I decided to use it on Twitter.’
The rapper’s name is 4-Tay, and the awesomely catchy song is Playaz Club. The ‘More Champagne’ lyric is at the 1:10 mark of the music video clip.
The local Denver journalist mentioned in the French piece is Denver Post sports columnist Benjamin Hochman who deserves full credit for digging deep into his musical culture memory bank and starting a revolution that Evan supports. I’m sure Hochman would love for the nickname to be utilized by Orlando Magic fans, and for Amway Center to sample the song after every made Fournier bucket.
I have a hunch that we can all look forward to a lot of #MoreChampagne Twitter tags being utilized in the ’14-’15 campaign, I’m personally making that a mission.
We’re almost there, Orlando Magic fans. We’re a few weeks from the team’s training camp beginning officially on Tuesday September 30th. Media Day will occur the day before on September 29th. It’ll be nice to chat with players and coaches after a lengthy and exciting offseason. Both events will happen at Amway Center and its practice court. We know right now that 16 players will be there with a few more invitees expected to join the current roster.
From September 30th through October 6th the Magic will be practicing every day – sometimes even twice – as Jacque Vaughn had planned out last year. The first preseason game will be October 7th in Miami to take on the Heat, less than a month away.
The Orlando Magic’s Evan Fournier is continuing his improved play in the FIBA World Cup to the point where it’s impossible to keep him off the court. France defeated Croatia 69-64 on Saturday in the Round of 16 knockout stage that took place in Madrid, Spain. The French almost choked away their ticket to the Quarterfinals late. Fournier had a major impact in the second and third quarters to get France the lead and then extend that lead to double digits. Evan tallied 13 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 assist on 5-for-10 shooting (1-of-5 on 3s) and 2-for-4 free throws in 19 minutes of action. Nicolas Batum was the only French player with more points as he had fourteen. Bojan Bogdanovic led Croatia with 27 points. Dario Saric only tallied 4 points and 7 rebounds. Fournier had a game-best plus/minus of +16 as he attacked the paint at will.
Croatia got out to 10-0 run and led 13-5 as the French looked awful on both ends of the court. Boris Diaw had his hands full with Dario Saric while Nicolas Batum wasn’t winning his matchup with Bojan Bogdanovic. Edwin Jackson was the first wing off the bench for Coach Vincent Collet. Jackson didn’t impress as his one non-forced shot was a 3-pointer he airballed. Croatia was up 15-7 after one quarter of play. Fournier checked in to start the second period with his team desperately seeking offensive help.
Evan’s first shot in the second period was a pull-up 2-pointer that he airballed short. Needed to shake off those nerves. At least the 21-year-old was defending Damjan Rudez, Bogdanovic, and Krunoslav Simon well both on the perimeter and in the post for the entire contest. At the 7:30 mark, Fournier would get stripped on the perimeter in what was an inexcusable turnover. With Saric guarding him, Evan would then miss a 3-pointer before getting the ball on the right side of the court and driving to the opposite end of the court and finishing a tough lefty lay-up. At the 4:30 mark, Fournier would step into a confident open 3-pointer and nail it to get France within a point of their opponent at 18-17.
Fournier would follow that up by sprinting coast-to-coast and finishing 1-on-3 style for an and-1 lay-up finish. I can get used to that. Evan got France the lead even though he missed the free throw. Fournier would miss a heat check 3-pointer late in the second period before sitting down. Job well done. In over 8 minutes, Evan led France with 7 points on 3-for-6 shooting as France had a 23-22 lead at halftime.
Coach Collet took the hint. He started Antoine Diot and Evan in the second half over Thomas Heurtel and Mickael Gelabale, sliding Batum over to SF. The third period was delayed 5 minutes due to clock problems. Evan was utilized as a decoy as he didn’t touch the ball until the 5:20 mark when he finished a fast break alley oop lay-up. On the next Croatia miss, Evan would go coast-to-coast and display lightning speed as he’d finish another and-1 lay-up. Fournier would miss a few jumpers before finding Joffrey Lauvergne for a 3-pointer as the French led by double digits. Fournier would sit late in the 3rd period with a team-best 13 points and a game-best plus/minus of +17 as France led 46-34 entering the fourth quarter. Evan being the hero.
Evan would check in at the 8:50 mark of the fourth period and France’s lead down to 9 thanks to Bogdanovic heating up. Evan played solid defense but didn’t get up a shot. He’d sit with 5:24 left and France holding onto an 8-point lead. Evan would not come back in, but France – after letting Croatia get within 2 points – would eventually do enough to prevail thanks to timely shots from Gelabale and Heurtel.
France next plays on Wednesday in Madrid against either Spain or Senegal. I’d bet on Spain being the opponent. France will be the clear underdog, but keep an eye out on a Quarterfinal preview.
If you haven’t paid attention to the FIBA World Cup that’s been occurring in Spain, now is an ideal time to tune in. The Orlando Magic’s Evan Fournier is the only member of the team playing right now in competitive games and his France side has made it to the tournament’s Round of 16 knockout stage to take on Croatia. Here’s how the bracket is broken down. The France-Croatia game will be broadcast live this Saturday (September 6th) at 12 p.m. EST on NBA TV from Madrid, Spain. Winner takes on the victor of Spain-Senegal in the Quarterfinals. No small task for Les Bleus. This is Evan’s first time playing for the French senior men’s national team squad. If he’s excited, then all Magic fans should be as well.
So how did France get to this point? The French finished in 3rd place out of six teams in Group A with a 3-2 record. Top four teams in the group moved on to the knockout stage.
Below is how the 21-year-old wing player performed along with game recaps from the contests played in Granada, Spain.
Thursday brought the fifth and final game day of Group A for Orlando Magic wing Evan Fournier and his French national team. The EuroBasket champs took on Iran who are the FIBA Asia winners. It would be tough early and often, but France would eventually prevail over Iran 81-76 to clinch progression to the Round of 16 knockout stage. Fournier played eighteen minutes and finished with 13 points, 1 rebound, and 1 assist on 3-for-5 three-point shooting and 4-of-6 at the charity stripe in what was Evan’s best performance in Spain so far.
Fournier initially checked into the contest at the 2:23 mark of the first quarter with Iran actually leading 19-11. Coach Vincent Collet was desperate for someone to step up and Evan received an early opportunity. Evan’s first shot was an NBA 3-pointer that he drained at the 8:20 mark in the 2nd period. Fournier at SG was a better distributor and defender than the struggling Thomas Heurtel.
At the 7-minute mark, Evan would aggressively drive from the top of the perimeter and try to throw down an explosive 2-hand jam. He got fouled, and made both free throws. The 21-year-old would atone for a bad turnover by immediately nailing another 3-pointer at the 6-minute mark. Evan’s high confidence was evident. Evan followed that up with more made free throws before missing a wide open corner left 3-pointer. Evan sat the 3:41 mark having played just over eight minutes. At halftime, France led 37-33 thanks to some clutch late shots by Mickael Gelabale. Fournier led French scorers with 10 points at the break on 2-for-3 shooting (all 3s) and 4-of-4 on free throws.
— Adam Papageorgiou (@adamosgp) September 4, 2014
In the second half, Evan checked in early at the 8:25 mark of the third period with France up 42-33. Evan’s first shot of the half was a right corner 3-pointer that he drilled. Evan at the 5-minute mark would miss another left corner 3-point attempt as he was hitting from everywhere but that spot. Fournier had to play a lot of post-up defense and help on Iran bigs such as Hamed Haddadi. Because of that, Evan picked up his fourth personal foul (five and you foul out) at the 2:14 mark of the third period. Evan would sit, but France were up 57-44 at this point as Fournier played a huge role in getting the French that cushion. Evan would check back in late in the fourth for a brief stint that didn’t amount to much.
France finishes the Group A stage 3-2. At this time it’s unknown whether they finished in 3rd or 4th place in the group. Friday brings a day off before Round of 16 action begins. It is unknown who and when the French play in the knockout stage. Be on the lookout for an MBO preview.
Orlando Magic fans have seen countless highlight clips of rookie Aaron Gordon. Here’s one I bet many haven’t seen. It’s of high school senior ‘AG’ participating in the 2012 Under Armour Elite 24 All-Star Game. The California native played with notable top athletes like Julius Randle and the Harrison twins. Gordon came off the bench, tallied 25 points and 7 rebounds, put on a phenomenal show, his team won, and Aaron was awarded a co-MVP award.
Gordon is wearing the #43 blue jersey. A few things to note. They’re playing outside. Duh. A team coached by Brandon Jennings beat Kyrie Irving’s team. Apparently Aaron’s nickname then was ‘The Regulator’ which I always relate to this which means it’s an awesome nickname that he should continue using. Gordon was supposedly carrying a foot injury. I don’t think anyone can tell in this clip.
Watch the entire thing, but head to the 4:43 mark and witness Aaron put on an absolute dribble fest, a dunk-a-thon, and even complete a self-alley oop jam. This is a 16-year-old doing this. During a game. He needs to be in the NBA dunk contest. Now.
Following a day off yesterday, Wednesday found France taking on the tough FIBA World Cup hosts as Spain had looked unstoppable in Group A play previous to this matchup. It was a rematch of last year’s semifinal game in EuroBasket 2013 that France won in overtime. Spain is much stronger than last meeting, and the French are a weaker roster. So it’s no surprise that Spain used their larger size and 3-point shooting to cruise past France 88-64. Spain was led by Marc Gasol who had 17 points, Pau Gasol managed 15 points, and Juan Carlos Navarro notched 14 points. Nicolas Batum tallied 11 points in defeat. The Orlando Magic’s Evan Fournier tallied 9 points on 4-for-7 shooting (1-for-3 on 3s) in 12 minutes of action.
Evan again must have been influenced by Jacque Vaughn‘s presence because he was the biggest cheerleader from the bench. Edwin Jackson and Charles Kahudi took away Evan’s chance to touch the court as the 21-year-old didn’t see the floor in the first half. Only other Frenchman not to play in the first half was Kim Tillie. Spain led 44-34 at the half when it should have been worse for France. Spain’s paint size was too problematic for Coach Vincent Collet to counter.
Fournier first checked in at the 1:52 mark of the 3rd quarter with France trailing 61-46. Evan was tasked to cool down Juan Carlos Navarro. The 21-year-old at SG would drive on Navarro and drain a tough 10-foot jumper in the paint. France continued to trail by 15 entering the final 10-minute session after Evan missed a rushed right corner 3-pointer before the the buzzer sounded.
Evan started and played the entire 4th period. At the 6:20 mark with France down eighteen, Fournier drained a very confident dribble step-through runner from 18-feet in between two Spaniards. Beautiful shot. Fournier then made his first 3-pointer in the entire tournament midway through the period while the rest of the French appeared lost and not wanting to be on the court. It seemed as if everyone in a blue jersey other than Evan gave up as his effort never waned. Fournier would finish off a nice game with a tough 2-pointer that should have been an and-1 as he got knocked to the floor. Hopefully Evan left a strong impression on the coaching staff with back-to-back 9-point performances off the bench.
France are 2-2 and face Iran at 12 p.m. EST on Thursday to conclude Group A pool play. It’s not a must-win for France, but for the sake of team morale it is. It would be an embarrassment for the EuroBasket champions to not progress to the Round of 16.
This isn’t a real Bachelor’s Degree. Yet, anyway. However, what if you could earn a diploma in Orlando Magic fandom? What would the curriculum look like? How would the 4 years of course load be planned out? Well, Professor Papageorgiou is here to help all beginners, intermediate level Magic fans, and die hard Orlando experts sharpen up on 26 years of Magic basketball related topics.
If you think 20 courses isn’t enough, we’re talking a lot of 82-game seasons and playoff analysis.
Below is a more detailed breakdown of the courses.
In what was expected to be France’s easiest Group A game at the FIBA World Cup, the French annihilated Egypt 94-55 on Monday. Both teams were playing their third consecutive contests of the tournament. The Orlando Magic’s Evan Fournier not only got his first points for the French national team, he scored 9 of them and added 4 assists, one rebound, and a steal in 19 minutes. Evan was 4-for-9 from the field but 0-of-4 on 3-pointers as the 6’6″ wing still hasn’t made a three in the tourney. Still, this game was a confidence booster.
France was already up 13-4 when Edwin Jackson checked in, officially confirming that indeed he has jumped over Evan in the shooting guard rotation. Fournier checked in at the 7:58 mark of the 2nd period with France up 29-15. Evan missed his first 2-point jumper and then got credited with a turnover where he drove to the basket but got tripped up by an Egyptian who kneed him in the thigh. Should have been a foul.
That didn’t prevent Evan from defending well and dishing as he tallied 2 assists – one of them a transition bounce pass to Charles Kahudi for an and-1 lay-up – in the second quarter. But the 21-year-old still couldn’t make a shot as he missed an open right corner 3-pointer short. Finally on his third attempt off a nice loose ball grab, Evan dribbled to the left baseline and drained a clean 2-pointer late in the second quarter. France led 49-26 at the break with Evan being a +9 on the court in eight minutes.
Fournier entered the 3rd quarter at the 5-minute mark with France up 60-28. Evan would miss another 3-pointer, this open look from the left side. All misses have been barely off so it’s not a technique issue. Evan would get a transition lay-up goaltended as he cut nicely behind Egypt’s defense. Fournier missed a 3-pointer just before the third quarter buzzer as France held a 68-36 advantage entering the final 10-minute session.
Evan started the fourth period as his teammates encouraged him to keep shooting and to find his way out of his 3-point slump. He’d convert another fastbreak lay-up as Egypt had just about given up at this point. Starters came back in at the 8:30 mark of the last quarter.
Fournier came back in at the 4:41 mark at point guard. Evan just barely didn’t connect with Kahudi on a backdoor alley oop. Fournier missed a 4th three-pointer before getting a steal and flushing home a 2-hand jam. Evan would then find Kim Tillie for two outstanding assists. Evan was able to show off his bursts of speed at PG that included a free throw line trip on a tough lefty lay-up drive. Still needs to find his 3-point shot though. Hasn’t made one this tournament yet.
France has a day off on Tuesday before continuing on Wednesday with their Group A play in Granada. They’re 2-1 in the group and would 100% guarantee progression to the Round of 16 with one more victory from their next two games. The rest and extra preparation is needed as they take on hosts Spain who have been dominating so far. Tip-off is at 4 p.m. EST and the game can be seen in the United States on ESPN3.com and the Watch ESPN mobile app.