Turkish Airlines Euroleague
December 10, 2013
Eurocup Regular Season, Group A analysis
October 21, 2011
BC Donetsk has looked for experienced players to do well right away in its Eurocup debut season. The club did not hesitate to find a reliable point guard in Vule Avdalovic, right at the prime of his career at age 30. His court sense, high basketball IQ and experience - he reached the Eurocup Final Eight with Valencia Basket in 2009 - will be very valuable to this team. Despite seeing limited playing time, Moshe Mizrahi can inspire Hapoel Migdal to reach high in this Eurocup season. Mizrahi lifted the then-called ULEB Cup trophy with Hapoel in 2004, going against all odds. His know-how could be essential for the Israeli powerhouse.
Coming off a very good Turkish Airlines Euroleague season, Tomislac Zubcic of Cibona is set to have a extended role in the 2011-12 Eurocup. A big man with range, ballhandling and quickness, Zubcic can run to the basket from the high post or use his post skills - especially his jump hook - around the baskets. Another up-and-coming talent ready to rock the Eurocup is Andrew Albicy of BCM Gravelines. Albicy is a lightning quick point guard able to change the game rhythm with his up-tempo game and driving skills. Already member of the French national team at age 21, Albicy will provide character to his team in his Eurocup debut season.
Cibona reloaded its roster and has a new team structure in which point guard Brian Chase, scoring machine Antwain Barbour and big man Goran Suton are meant to be its new leaders. Barbour is set to use his deep range and athleticism to fill the baskets all over the competition. Hapoel landed small forward Luke Jackson, a strong choice due to his size, talent and all-around game. Shot blocking machine Jarvis Varnado and tall playmaker DJ Strawberry have also arrived in the Holy City ready to make some noise in the Eurocup. Gravelines kept its main players but added Albicy and up-and-coming big man Ludovic Vaty, as well as bringing back center JK Edwards after a season in one of its next opponents, Donetsk. The Ukrainian powerhouse landed Avdalovic, 2008-09 Eurocup regular season index ranking leader Ivan Radenovic, scoring ace Ramel Curry and experience big man Vladan Vukosavljevic, among others.
It is really hard to predict this group, as all four teams changed a lot this summer. Hapoel won the competition in 2004 and has always competed well, but missed the Last 16 when it seemed to have everything on its side last season. The Israeli powerhouse will be ready to bounce back and has the talent and experience to do so. If Jackson and Brian Randle step up early, Hapoel could be in a good position to go to the Last 16 - and take it from there. Cibona, now coached by Josip Vrankovic, may be a Eurocup newcomer, but has played the Euroleague in each of the previous 20 seasons. With a brand new, ambitious team, Cibona will give its best to do well right away. Donetsk has all it takes to reach deep in the 2011-12 Eurocup - an ambitious coach like Sasa Obradovic, talented players in all positions and an elite floor general in Avdalovic. Donetsk was the first team to start working this summer and that may be an advantage in terms of adjustment and chemistry. Gravelines has a fast, young, athletic lineup ready to be strong at home. Eurocup veterans Cyril Akpomedah and Juby Johnson will play a major role in a team that may surprise any opponent along the way.