Club profile: Virtus Rome

Sep 13, 2013 by Eurocupbasketball.com Print
Club profile: Virtus Rome
Virtus RomeAfter a couple of years with results under the expected standard for a club of this level, Virtus Rome bounced back with a vengeance last season and it's ready to take another go at the Eurocup almost 30 years after its only continental crown. Founded in 1960, Virtus Roma has been one of the strongest names in the Italian League and Europe for many years. Due to playing in a top-level domestic competition, the club never amassed armfuls of titles, but it was Italian League champion in 1983 and Euroleague king in 1984, defeating Barcelona in the finals in come-from-behind fashion. Larry Wright helped the team rally from a 16-point second-half deficit to lift the 1984 Euroleague trophy with the help of Clarence Kea, Renzo Tombolato and Fulvio Polesello. Rome also added a Korac Cup title in 1992, under the name of Il Messaggero, downing Scavolini Pesaro in the two-game final. Dino Radja led Rome to the trophy with the help of Rick Mahorn, Roberto Premier and Andrea Niccolai. The early 1990s was a great time for Rome, which brought in world-renowned players like Mahorn, Radja, Danny Ferry and Brian Shaw, but despite being highly competitive, no more titles were won. The 2002-03 season was an important one for Rome, then led by star guard Carlton Myers. The team soared to one of its best regular seasons ever in the Italian League with a 25-9 record and it rolled into the playoff semifinals, which also qualified Rome for the 2003-04 Euroleague. Even though it failed to advance to the Top 16 in its return to the continent's top competition, the Eternal City was a hot spot again for basketball. The club proved that by landing Dejan Bodiroga and head coach Svetislav Pesic, both recent Euroleague champs, in the summer of 2005. Rome instantly improved its results, posting the best regular season record in the ULEB Cup and making it to the quarterfinals, before going out to former champion Hapoel Jerusalem. Rome also reached the Italian League semifinals and lost the Italian Cup final in overtime. The 2007-08 season proved that Rome was back among the elite as it reached the Euroleague Top 16 and the Italian League finals. Roma went back to the Euroleague Top 16 in 2008-09, but suffered an early exit in the Italian League quarterfinals. In its last European appearance, Virtus Rome reached the Euroleague Top 16 in 2010-11, but didn't reach the Playoffs due to a 2-4 record that earned the team a third place. Last season, Rome had a great performance in the Italian League as it reached the final series, where it lost to Montepaschi Siena. The team also reached the Cup semifinals. Now, back to the Eurocup, Virtus Rome is hoping to keep its momentum going and will try to demonstrate it is back where it belongs.