2010-11 Team Focus: Panellinios BC

Oct 01, 2010 by Eurocupbasketball.com Print
After an eventful summer, Panellinios BC is back in the Eurocup with a new look, but the same desire to win basketball games and grow as a club. Despite reaching the Eurocup Finals for the first time last season, Panellinios went through a tumultuous summer, but came away with a strong team, albeit somewhat different from the squad that surprised so many as it climbed through the competition on the way to the semifinals last season. Perhaps the biggest change was the hiring of Thanassis Skourtopoulos as head coach. Skourtopoulos returns to the club where he was once an assistant to lead Panellinios back to glory. Only two prominent players from last season’s squad, guard Manolis Papamakarios and veteran center Djuro Ostojic, remain, but the club has been busy adding to the roster with quality players that bring talent and spirit needed for another Eurocup run. In fact one player who tasted a bit more success than Panellinios last year is swingman Derrick Byars, who reached the Eurocup title game with Alba Berlin. Byars, a physical scorer, will team up with another newcomer in the backcourt. Point guard Lamont McIntosh brings with him two past seasons of advancing at least one stage in the Eurocup and will try to bring that winning spirit to Panellinios. Meanwhile Papamakarios returns to offer clutch shooting and passing. Scorer Damir Rancic could provide instant offense from the shooting guard position. In the paint, the big names are Ostojic and Vangelis Sklavos. Ostojic was a reserve last season, but is a proven team player and an excellent rebounder. His experience could be vital this year. Like Ostojic, Sklavos has experience at the Euroleague level and a versatile game that allows him to make an impact at either forward spot. With more players still on the way to round out the roster, Panellinios will be a work in progress, but the final result should be something worth waiting for.

On the heels of one of the best seasons in the club’s recent history, Panellinios BC looks to capitalize and take another step forward to solidify itself as a top team in Greece and Europe. Panellinios is one of the oldest basketball clubs in Europe, having opened its basketball section in 1929 and winning the Athens regional title that same year. Coach Nikos Nisiotis played an important role in the development of the sport in the 1930s and '40s. Panellinios won two more championships in 1939 and 1940, just before World War II. The team returned known as "the Golden Pentada" after the war, winning three more national championships between 1946 and 1960, led by super scorer Antonis Christeas. The Golden Pentada was the base for the 1952 Greek basketball Olympic team in Helsinki. Once the Greek League was created in 1963, Panellinios had the initiative to set the basis for the Greek Basketball Federation. Panellinios stayed in the top division for 23 straight years, finishing third in 1970 and 1978. Tough times came throughout the 1990s, however, as the team battled in the second and third divisions until it returned to the first division in 2004. Soon Panellinios made the first of four consecutive trips to the Greek League playoffs, though it always lost in the quarterfinals. Panellinios qualified for the ULEB Cup in the 2007-08 season and the Eurocup the following year, but never advanced past the regular season. Last year however, it crashed through all barriers. Starting in the Eurocup Qualifying Rounds, Panellinios took no prisoners, knocking off eventual German champ Brose Baskets and Italian power Benetton Treviso en route to a ticket to the Eurocup Finals. At home, Panellinios downed PAOK in the playoffs to advance to the semifinals for the first time as well. Despite its success, Panellinios is eager to taste more and will be challenging hard to match and improve on its results again this year.
Panellinios BC
Manolis Papamakarios - Panellinios BC
Manolis Papamakarios
PROVISIONAL ROSTER
Derrick Byars
F
202
Lamont McIntosh
G
191
Manolis Papamakarios
G
190
Djuro Ostojic
C
211
Damir Rancic
G
199
Vangelis Sklavos
F
202
Coach: Thanasis Skourtopoulos