World basketball map: Estonia

World basketball map: Estonia

We are recalling all foreign players that have ever played in the League, telling about foreign championships and National teams of different countries in World basketball map project. Today we’re going to talk about basketball in Estonia.

Population: 1,3 mln
Players in the history of League: 38.
Full list of playersGregor Arbet, Timo Eichfuss, Rain Veideman, Siim-Sander Vene, Vilyar Veski, Silver Jurno, Gert Dorbek, Martin Dorbek, Erik Dorbek, Janari Joesaar, Kristjan Kangur, Indrek Kaupank, Erik Keedus, Rait Keerles, Kristjan Kitsing, Tanel Kurbas, Kristjan Makke, Kristo Mangelsoo, Sten Olmre, Kristo Orula, Martin Paasoja, Jaan Puidet, Rain Raadik, Toomas Raadik, Sander Raieste, Marko Riis, Heiko Runnula, Kaido Saks, Sten Sokk, Tanel Sokk, Janar Soo, Madis Soodla, Reimo Tamm, Matthias Tass, Joosep Toome, Egert Haller, Reinar Hallik, Mihkel Schleikher.

In the history of VTB United League there have been 38 Estonian players. Only one of them, Siim-Sander Vene hasn’t played in Kalev. In 2009/10 forward was Zalgiris player, in 2010/11 played for VEF and in 2016/17 season wore Nizhny Novgorod jersey.

Average scoring leader among Estonian players is Rain Veideman (10,1 points per game), seasons spent leader is Gregor Arbet (9 seasons) and games played leader is Martin Dorbek (148 games).

One of the most brightest and popular Estonian players in the history of championship is Janari Joesaar. In 2019 Kalev forward participated in VTB League All-Star Game and Slam Dunk contest, in 2019/20 season he was averaging 11,5 points.

Moreover, there were 2 Estonian coaches in VTB League history – Aivar Kuusma and Alar Varrak.

Basketball in Estonia

League: Latvian-Estonian basketball League
Founded: in 2018
Number of teams: 15
League’s web-site

Estonian League that was founded in 1925 and still exists. Best Estonian teams participate in play-off where they fight for the title. The most titled Estonian teams are Tartu University (26 wins), KK Kalev (18 teams) and Kalev Cramo (11 wins).

Since 2018 the main tournament for Estonian teams is Latvian-Estonian League. There are 15 teams participating in the championship, 8 of them are from Estonia: VTB United League Kalev Cramo, also Rapla, Parnu, Rakvere Tarvas, Tallinna Kalev, TALTECH, Tartu and Valga-Valka.

In the first Latvian-Estonian League season 2018/19 for Kalev they took 3rd place. At the moment of 2019/20 season suspension Tallinn team held 3rd place as well.

Interesting fact

Estonian National team became the first team to win a game at Olympic games basketball tournament. On August 1936 the Estonians beat France 34:29.

Estonian National team

FIBA rank: 49
FIBA members: since 1934
Achievements: Olympic Games participations, 5 Eurobasket participations

Estonian National team became FIBA members in 1934, and 2 years later debuted on Olympic Games. On the tournament in 1936 the Estonians took 1 win of 3 possible.

Since 1940 till 1991 the Estonian players had been representing USSR National team on international tournaments.

Throughout the history Estonia have participated in Europe championships 5 times – in 1937, 1939, 1993, 2001 and 2015. The best result was shown in 1937 and 1939 – 5th place.

In 2015 Estonian National team took 20th place on Europe championship taking 1 win in 5 games. On the group stage the Estonians beat Ukraine 78:71.

Today Estonia is ranked 49th by FIBA, 26th – among European teams.

The most popular Estonian players in the history

Tiit Sokk. Olympic Games champion, 2-time World Cup silver medalist, USSR and Estonia champion. Sokk, that was playing as point guard in 1991 was announced the athlete of the year in Estonia and in 2010 entered Estonian basketball Hall of Fame.

Heino Enden. World and Europe champion, Eurobasket silver medalist and 2-time USSR champion. Since 1978 till 1983 Enden had played for Kalev, since 1983 till 1988 for CSKA and since 1988 till 1989 for Pyrinto.

Jaak Lipso. World champion, 3-time Eurobasket champion and Olympic Games silver medalist. As a CSKA player he won Euroleague twice and won USSR championship 6 times. Moreover, he became Estonian SSR champion 5 times as Tartu and Kalev player.

Martin Muursepp. Eurochallenge champion and MVP, Estonia 2-time champion, Russia champion, 2-time Estonian Cup owner and 2-time Greece Cup winner. Furthermore, he is 4-time Basketball of the year in Estonia. He became the first Estonian player to play in the NBA.

Kristjan Kangur. 5-time Estonia champion, 2-time Italy champion, 4-time Estonian Cup owner, Italy and France Cup winner. He is an 8-time Estonian basketball player of the year.

Dmitriy Kolinov