The team from the Serbian capital has a new look and a very young team. Head coach Miroslav Nikolic returned to the bench of the Serbian powerhouse almost two decades after his previous stint. Joining him is another returnee to the club, forward Marko Cakarevic, who was named Serbian League MVP while playing under Coach Nikolic last season at Dynamic Belgrade. Two other players, guard Andreja Stevanovic and forward Strahinja Gavrilovic, played for Nikolic at Dynamic last season, too. However, it is Partizan's new faces in the backcourt, Patrick Miller and rookie Nigel Williams-Goss, who are expected to carry the biggest load. Talented teenage guard Aleksandar Aranitovic will look to kick-start his professional career and big man Obrad Tomic will also make his debut in the competition, with teenager Marko Pecarski and Djoko Salic as his backups.
Nearly every Partizan offensive possession will go either through Williams-Goss or Miller. The two point guards capable of playing both guard positions are more likely to play alongside one another than to back each other up. When together in the backcourt, Williams-Goss and Miller could be a matchup nightmare for the opposition and create plenty of good looks for their teammates. One of those likely to get many of those opportunities is versatile small forward Marko Cakarevic, who is expected to be one of the main scoring options in Coach Nikolic's plans. Partizan’s homegrown 20-year old Vanja Marinkovic and the three-years-older Mihajilo Andric will try to show how dangerous of long-distance shooters they are and how valuable to this team they can be, while Andreja Stevanovic will lurk on the wings looking for opportunities to leave his mark, too.
Team captain and veteran forward Novica Velickovic is not only the oldest player on the team at 31 years of age, but also a key piece of the front line. His versatility, ability to clean the glass, defend, bruise inside and sink shots from long range will go a long way for Partizan. Another player who will try to do a lot of the same is Strahinja Gavrilovic, which should create more space inside for starting big man Obrad Tomic, the team's potential reference in the paint, with Marko Pecarski and Djoko Salic playing behind him. The team hopes that as the season goes along, the 17-year old Pecarski and 22-year old Salic will keep developing. Pecarski has been a dominant teenager playing above his age and Salic returns to Partizan for a second shot; both are determined to prove their talents and bring their A-games onto the big stage.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Partizan has plenty of young talent whose development will surely intrigue basketball fans across the continent, but it is one of the oldest players on the team to keep an eye on. Marko Cakarevic is a veteran small forward in his second stint with Partizan, where he previously spent two seasons and played limited roles in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. But now, five seasons later, Cakarevic is coming off the best season of his career and returning to Partizan poised to showcase those same high-level performances on the EuroCup stage. Cakarevic can make an impact on both ends of the floor and with his ability to play both forward positions, he enables Coach Nikolic to play plenty of minutes with various smaller lineups and make him a true x-factor on this team.
The team from the Serbian capital has the youngest roster in the entire competition, with only two players, Novica Velickovic and Marko Cakarevic, older than 25. They will certainly come out every night with energy and plenty of motivation and hunger. While they might lack experience, backed by their devoted fans Partizan will make a tough opponent for any team, and determined to prove Aleksandar Nikolic Arena, formerly known as Pionir Hall, is still one of the toughest road venues in Europe when Partizan plays there.