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2008-09 Club Profile: Spirou Basket
Sep 29, 2008
Spirou Charleroi, the freshly crowned Belgian champion, was a mainstay of the ULEB Cup and now looks to make an impact on the Eurocup. Spirou Charleroi is actually a young club.
Spirou Basket Roster 2008-09
Born from the ashes of Spirou Monceau, which moved to Charleroi in 1989, the team reached the Belgian League playoffs in 1992 for the first time ever. The turnaround came in 1996 with the Belgian Cup title, turning Spirou into the first club from the Wallone region to win a trophy. Then came the first league title, which led to an appearance in the Euroleague for the first time. Charleroi continued ruling Belgium from 1997 to 1999 and returned to the Euroleague from 2000 to 2002. Its efforts seemed to take away from its strength at home, where no new titles came. That changed when Charleroi found a perfect balance, finding success in the ULEB Cup, while winning domestic titles in Belgium. In 2004, Charleroi reached the ULEB Cup elimination rounds, losing in the eighthfinals against Estudiantes. It also won the Belgian League title following a five-game battle with Liege. The 2003-04 season was another special one for the club. Not only did Spirou win its second straight Belgian League title, but its home court, the Spiroudome, hosted the ULEB Cup Final for the first time. Charleroi made the 2005 ULEB Cup quarterfinals, losing against Pamesa Valencia, and returned to the elimination rounds in 2006, too. A short dry spell ensued – including missing the 2006-07 ULEB Cup – but last season Charleroi came back as strong as ever, returning to the ULEB Cup and sweeping Basket Bree for its seventh Belgian championship. Head coach Drazen Anzulovic, who took over midway through last seasons, returns to start the season this time and brings back a number of key players from that squad, including veteran defensive ace Andre Riddick, big man Len Matela, power forward Wes Wilkinson, playmaker Justin Hamilton and Jerry Johnson and shooting guard Jonathan Tabu. Among the newcomers are swingmen Mladen Sekularac, Pankracije Barac and Dwayne Broyles and center Jure Lalic. The combination of size and athleticism on the roster, combined with the history of success and determination at the club means there is every reason to expect more good things this season from Spirou Charleroi.