Team Focus 2010-11: Cajasol

Sep 07, 2010 by Eurocupbasketball.com Print
A Eurocup newcomer ready to make some noise, Cajasol is ready to keep its momentum going coming off its best season in a decade. Cajasol has put together a strong, competitive roster with experience, talent and interesting young prospects. Its leader, however, will be coach Joan Plaza, who won the competition with Real Madrid in 2007. Coach Plaza has allowed every basketball fan in Seville to look forward to a brighter future. Cajasol relies on a very strong backcourt featuring Earl Calloway, Louis Bullock and team captain Tariq Kirksay. Calloway is an old-school point guard with great court sense and who thrives in transition game, as well as an aggressive defender with good feel for steals. At age 34, Bullock faces a new challenge in his career and is set to do what he does best - score in every possible way. Bullock also won the competition in 2007 and wants to go all the way again. Kirksay is a one-of-a-kind player in defense, able to get each and every long rebound, collect steals and do anything his team needs to win basketball games. Kirksay, the 2006-07 ULEB Cup best rebounder, can take his opponent to the low post for easy points in the paint. Athletic playmaker Tomas Satoransky, sharp shooter Txemi Urtasun and young forward Joan Sastre are ready to help the team off the bench. Cajasol has a deep frontcourt with size and power. Paul Davis is a tall, strong center ready to make the difference in the low post and intimidate in defense. Kaloyan Ivanov is one of the best rebounders of his generation. He can power the boards at both ends and never gives up. Mindaugas Katelynas is a versatile big man able to play at both forward spots. Athletic and with great mobility for his size, Katelynas uses his one-on-one and driving skills to be a factor in offense. Juanjo Triguero offers post skills, size and defense. He improves every season and the Eurocup is a great battlefield to prove it. Mario Cabanas never gives up and provides intensity and the ocassional outside shot off the bench.

Founded in 1987 with a loyal sponsor that owns the club and has been there all the way, Cajasol needed just two years to reach the Spanish elite. Head coach Jose Alberto Pesquera and star center Abdul Jeelani allowed the then-called Caja San Fernando to reach the Spanish first division in 1989. Always with Pesquera as head coach and reliable foreigns like Dan Bingenheimer and Darrell Lockhart as its stars, Caja established itself as a tough team to beat in Spain, especially in Sevilla. Homegrown star Raul Perez and new foreigners like Brian Jackson or Darryl Middleton allowed Caja to go one step higher, finishing fifth in 1993 and sixth in 1994, earning the right to take part in the Korac Cup without much success. Pesquera stepped down as coach to become sports director and with Aca Petrovic as the new boss, the club beat the expectations and reach the Spanish League finals in 1996. Michael Anderson was its own superstar along with Richard Scott, Warren Kidd, Perez and Benito Doblado. That allowed Caja to make his Euroleague debut in the 1996-97 season, registering wins against Cibona, Olimpija or Virtus Bologna and reaching the eighthfinals against Fortitudo. The club did even better in the 1998-99 season, now with Javier Imbroda as head coach and Andre Turner as its reference playmaker. The club led the competition for several weeks and reached both the Spanish League and the Spanish King's Cup finals, losing against FC Barcelona and Tau Ceramica, respectively. Turner, Scott, Mike Smith or Nacho Romero led the team in the 1999-00 Euroleague but Caja did not reach the playoffs. Caja returned to the Spanish League playoffs that season but lost against Tau in the quarterfinals despite having the home court avdantage. The club did not make the playoffs in the next 10 years despite having players like Lou Roe, Donatas Slanina, Antonio Granger or Hollis Price and coaches like Velimir Perasovic, Marco Crespi or Manel Comas. With Plaza leading the team and stars like Kirksay, Calloway or Dusko Savanovic, Cajasol had a brilliant 2009-10 season that allowed the team to return to the Spanish League playoffs. A new future has been opened for Cajasol, as the club tried to get its best results in European club competitions.
Cajasol
Tariq Kirksay - Cajasol (Photo: Cajasol)
Tariq Kirksay
PROVISIONAL ROSTER
Juan Triguero
C
212
Mario Cabanas
C
207
Tomas Satoransky
G
199
Txemi Urtasun
G
193
Mindaugas Katelynas
F
205
Joan Sastre
F
201
Tariq Kirksay
F
199
Louis Bullock
G
185
Earl Calloway
G
190
Paul Davis
C
211
Kaloyan Ivanov
F
205
Coach: Joan Plaza