Morabanc Andorra is back from its sophomore 7DAYS EuroCup season with a new and ambitious coach and a bunch of exciting players eager to lead the team to new heights. Last season, Andorra again reached the Spanish League playoffs, but came up short in the EuroCup, where it failed to advance past the regular season. With Coach Ibon Navarro roaming the sidelines, Andorra is set to play modern, dynamic and aggressive basketball, while using last season's experience to be stronger this time. The team has added versatile big men with deep range in Shayne Whittington and Reggie Upshaw; reliable guards Dylan Ennis and Rafa Luz, and swingman Michele Vitali, who is at the prime of his career.
Andrew Albicy returns as the club's starting point guard and floor general. A pass-first playmaker with great poise and athletic skills, Albicy is experienced enough to take on even more responsibility this season, especially on offense. His backup will be Luz, a very creative point guard and tough defender who always plays with high intensity. Guillem Colom, whose brother Quino was chosen to the All-EuroCup First Team last season, will fight for playing time at both guard spots. Newcomer Vitali is an interesting addition who arrives from one of the team's EuroCup regular season opponents, Germani Brescia Leonessa. He is an all-around player who can drive to the basket, hit the outside shot from any spot and even helps on the boards. Vitali has a high basketball IQ and should connect with Andorra fans instantly due to his determination and character. Combo guard Ennis is a slasher with great quickness who played in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague with Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade last season. His ball-handling skills and ability to create his own shots will be very important to this team. Reserve David Jelinek, who enters his fourth season with the club, provides instant offense and intensity.
Few teams, if any, will have a battery of three-point shooters in its frontcourt as strong as Andorra's and the team will try to make the most of that. David Walker is a three-point specialist, who has made 41.9% of his attempts in 72 Spanish League career games. He shot just 28.1% from downtown (9 of 32) in the EuroCup last season and will be looking to bounce back. Unorthodox but effective, John Shurna will keep firing from beyond the arc at the power forward position. Shurna can also drive to the basket, using his above-average speed as a weapon. The versatile Upshaw is an athletic player with good shooting range who knows how to use his size to power the boards and attack the rim. Upshaw has never played at this level. Whittington can also pull the trigger from downtown and is a fierce rebounder and effective post player. Oliver Stevic provides instant offense, rebounds and character off the bench and young Moussa Diagne is a terrific athlete who seems to get better every year. He re-signed with Andorra for two years and hopes to showcase his best basketball playing for the demanding Coach Navarro.
PLAYER TO WATCH
After being slowed by injuries last season, it is time for Whittington to show he can be one of the best big men in the competition. He is an extremely mobile player and knows how to take advantage of that when playing center. As a power forward, he can use his size to help his team. Whittington's combination of deep shooting range and post skills make him a perfect complement for Diagne, and if Coach Navarro finds the way to use them together effectively, Andorra can be even more dangerous. His previous experience in both the Spanish League and the EuroCup will make his adjustment easier, too.
Andorra will heavily rely on its three-point shooters with Albicy and Luz as their key players; if both of them organize the team's offense well and create open shots for others, a lot of good things can happen. The main goal for Andorra will be getting outside the 7DAYS EuroCup Regular Season, thus entering uncharted territory for the club in European competitions. In order to achieve that, winning at home has to be critical for Andorra; last season, it lost two of its five games at Poliesportiu d'Andorra, which eventually cost it a chance to get to the Top 16. Expect the team to play up-tempo, fun-to-watch basketball and, as the club motto claims, with No Fear! #MaiPor