Last 16, Group I rundown

Jan 19, 2010 by Eurocupbasketball.com Print
Alba Berlin
Aris BSA
Le Mans Sarthe Basket
DKV Joventut
Group I features three teams that were in the Euroleague Qualifying Round before the start of this 2009-10 Eurocup season - Aris BSA, Alba Berlin and Le Mans - plus a former competition champion, none other than DKV Joventut, that lifted the then-called ULEB Cup trophy in 2008. Alba, the 1995 Korac Cup winner, enters the Last 16 as the Group A champion and is undefeated in its own state-of-the-art O2 World. It ranks third in three-point percentage (45%) and ties for first place in least fouls drawn among those teams left in the competition. Aris downed Hapoel in Jerusalem to win regular season Group C, but coach Fotis Katsikaris stepped down two days after that, which may affect the team in the short run. Aris won three different European titles - Saporta Cup, Korac Cup and FIBA Champions Cup - since 1993 and reached the competition final back in 2006. Aris leads the competition in three-point accuracy (48%) but no other qualifier collected less steals (29). Joventut, the only former Euroleague winner left in the competition, wants to stop Lietuvos Rytas from being the only team to win multiple Eurocup titles. Joventut leads the competition in steals but only Brose Baskets committed more fouls than the Spanish powerhouse in this year's Last 16. Le Mans is the only French team left in the competition and hopes to keep its momentum going, as it won 3 of its last 4 regular season games. Le Mans is the best rebounding team in the competition (216).
ALBA BERLIN
Won Group A with a 5-1 record and is on a two-game winning streak.
THE STAR
Julius Jenkins - Alba Berlin
JULIUS JENKINS
A solid scorer like few others in the competition, Jenkins (17 ppg., 45.2% 3FG) is shining in his fourth Eurocup season. He is using his Euroleague experience to get even better, filling the baskets all over the continent.
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Jurica Golemac - Alba Berlin (Photo: Teramo Basket)
JURICA GOLEMAC
He arrived in Berlin late in the Eurocup regular season but instantly made Alba even better with his know-how and experience. Golemac (10 ppg., 4 rpg.) may have been the mission piece in Alba's puzzle.
THE FACT
Blagota Sekulic - Alba Berlin (Photo: Teramo Basket)
Blagota Sekulic is the only Eurocup champion in Alba's roster. He lifted the Eurocup trophy with Real Madrid in 2007.
ARIS BSA 2003
Won Group C with a 5-1 record and is on a three-game winning streak.
THE STAR
Jeremy Richardson - Aris BSA 2003
JEREMY RICHARDSON
He may be a newcomer to European basketball, but Jeremy Richardson looks like a longtime veteran. His rock-solid numbers (14.7 ppg., 52.6% 3FG) and the fact that Juan Dixon left the team turns Richardson into Aris' go-to guy.
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Dragab Labovic and Nikos Hatzivrettas - Aris BSA 2003 (Photo: Aris BSA)
DRAGAN LABOVIC
A late signing in Aris, Dragan Labovic is a young Eurocup veteran that knows what it takes to do well in Europe's second club competition. Expect him to step up in important games, like he previously did in FMP.
THE FACT
Andy Betts - Aris BSA 2003 (Photo: Aris BSA)
Michalis Kakiouzis, Andy Betts and Demos Dikoudis previously played together in AEK, winning the Greek League title with AEK.
LE MANS
Was second in Group B with a 3-3 record and is on a two-game winning streak.
THE STAR
Dewarick Spencer - La Mans
DEE SPENCER
In his debut season in the competition, Spencer is shining perhaps like no other newcomer. Spencer (22.3 ppg.) is the best scorer left in the competition and leads the league in three-pointers made (24) with outstanding accuracy (45.3%).
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Maleye Ndoye - Le Mans (Photo: Le Mans)
MALEYE NDOYE
By taking giant steps in his development as a player, Ndoye has become a natural-born mismatch at small forward. His frame (205cm), deep range (60% 3FG) and athleticism will be very valuable for Le Mans in the upcoming Last 16.
THE FACT
Marc Salyers- La Mans
Marc Salyers is the only Euroleague's Alphonso Ford Top Scoring Trophy winner (2008) in the competition.
DKV JOVENTUT
Was second in Group D with a 5-1 record and is on a four-game winning streak.
THE STAR
Clay Tucker - DKV Joventut
CLAY TUCKER
Has been his team's top scorer (14 ppg.) and also showed he is a team-oriented player (4 apg.). Tucker has struggled a bit in the regular season (37.9% 2FG) but has been unstoppable in the Spanish League. Expect him to shine in the Last 16.
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Kristaps Valters - DKV Joventut
KRISTAPS VALTERS
He has been the Eurocup regular season assists leader (6 apg.) - despite average less than 21 minutes per night. DKV needs Valters and Mario Fernandez to keep their team's run-and-gun show going.
THE FACT
Edu Hernandez-Sonseca - DKV Joventut
Edu Hernandez-Sonseca has the chance to become the only player to win three Eurocup titles. Only him (2007, 2008) and Mindaugas Lukauskis (2005, 2009) won it multiple times.