Two years after reaching the semifinals in an impressive EuroCup debut, Dolomiti Energia Trento returns to the competition looking to make more noise. Trento kept a lot of what worked last season when the team used a very balanced offense to reach the Italian League finals, but did bring in a few reinforcements this summer. While adding depth to its backcourt with veteran point guard Jorge Gutierrez and Yannick Franke, Trento also signed a potential go-to guy inside in forward Chane Behanan and got more versatile and athletic in the paint with big man Ojars Silins, who is the only newcomer with previous EuroCup experience.
Trento will trust a combination of veteran point guards and a proven youngster to run the offense this season. Jorge Gutierrez, who the team brought in over the summer, might have to learn the new system quickly after joining late because of playing at the FIBA AmeriCup last month, but the team should be just fine because of the players Trento kept from last season. Club legend Toto Forray is as reliable a back-up as they come as he enters his seventh season with Trento. Another returnee is Shavon Shields, who arrived on-loan last season. Shields is a big guard, but displayed the ability to help his teammates score and turned into one of the team’s most productive perimeter players last spring. Trento’s most-dangerous backcourt player is swingman Joao Gomes, who is as dangerous shooting as he is slashing to the rim; he took more shots than any Trento player last season. Youngster Diego Flaccadori will try to build on last season when he displayed nice shooting range and the ability to score, while Yannick Franke is poised to contribute in his EuroCup debut.
There might be a lack of centimeters in Trento’s frontcourt, but there is certainly a lot of versatility. The arrival of Chane Behanan gives Trento an undersized power forward who thrives in the post, and knows how to finish around the rim. Together with Dominique Sutton, who is entering his third season with Trento, the big men will give a lot of problems to opposing defenses while providing a great helping hand on the glass on both ends of the floor. Filippo Baldi-Rossi was Trento’s most-accurate three-point shooter last season and often serves as a stretch four, which is also the case with Ojars Silins, a frontcourt newcomer whose athleticism and versatility should complement his teammates’ play a lot. Meanwhile, center Luca Lechthaler is the most experienced player on the team, having made his EuroLeague debut back in 2003, and could help as much off the court as he does on it.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Dolomiti Energia Trento has five players who have now been with the team for more than two years, and one of them, Filippo Baldi-Rossi, could be in for a big season. Other than the statistical fact that he is the tallest player on this roster at 2.07 meters, Baldi-Rossi’s talent is what gives Trento great versatility. With his ability to play either as a center or a stretch-four, Baldi-Rossi allows head coach Maurizio Buscaglia to play small, athletic lineups, which should be dangerous offensively but not suffer in the rebounding department. More than anything, however, Baldi-Rossi has already come to the point where he has grown into a double-digit scorer and one of his team’s top rebounders. Feeling even more confident after his debut with the Italian national team and the success they had at EuroBasket 2017, his continuing improvement only leads to the conclusion that Baldi-Rossi might be in for the best season of his career.
Led by 2015-16 7DAYS EuroCup Coach of the Year Maurizio Buscaglia, Trento finds itself in a somewhat of a new position. Having been a EuroCup semifinalist last time around in the competition, and being the reigning Italian League runner-up, the basketball world has surely taken notice of Trento. Now, it is up to the team to meet the expectations, which are suddenly growing due to the club’s results in recent years. But most of Trento’s core from last year is back, and the team even features five players who made a long EuroCup run two seasons ago. Having such depth, a combination of youth and experience, with players that have a deep understanding of the system, all could go a long way in Trento having more EuroCup success in the coming campaign.