Last 16, Group J rundown

Jan 21, 2010 by Eurocupbasketball.com Print
Power Electronics Valencia
Unics Kazan
Galatasaray Cafe Crown
Hapoel Jerusalem
No Last 16 group is as rich as Group J, which features the first two ULEB Cup champions, three of the top 10 winningest teams in competition history and all four have been to at least the semifinals. Power Electronics Valencia won the first edition of the ULEB Cup in 2003 and returned to the semis again in 2005. It has the second-most wins of any team in ULEB Cup/Eurocup history, 49. Valencia can take aim at FMP for the most wins with 54 in the Last 16. Hapoel Jerusalem won the 2004 ULEB Cup and returned to the semis two years later. Its 43 wins in the competition are the seventh most ever. Unics Kazan played in the 2007 semis and is tied for seventh in Eurocup history with 42 wins. Galatasaray Café Crown is playing in the Eurocup for just the second time, but reached the 2008 semifinals in its lone previous season. While all those achievements are in the past, they set the stage for an exciting group of teams rich in history and hungry for more. Expect plenty of points as Galatasaray was the top scoring regular season team with 87.5 points per game, Hapoel was third (83.8 ppg.) and Kazan sixth (83 ppg.). There is no shortage on individual talent either with four of the top 10 and eight of the top 20 players in index ranking from the regular season and six of the top 20 scorers coming from these four teams.
POWER ELECTRONICS VALENCIA
Won Group B with a 5-1 mark by winning its first five games.
THE STAR
Victor Claver - Power Electronics Valencia
VICTOR CLAVER
Though he continues to get better, Claver has demonstrated that his time to shine has begun. The athletic and versatile forward can score inside and from downtown, rebound, play defense and inspire his team to victory.
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Thomas Kelati - Power Electronics Valencia
THOMAS KELATI
Thomas Kelati did not find his stride in the first part of the season, but as a former double-digit scorer in the Euroleague who shares that competition’s record for most threes in a game, he should not be overlooked.
THE FACT
Serhiy Lishchuk - Power Electronics Valencia
Valencia has never lost a Eurocup game on its home floor. It has won 18 straight and is 32-0-1 overall in five seasons. Its lone draw came against DKV Joventut in February 2005 in the second leg of the eighthfinals, a series the club won.
UNICS KAZAN
Won Group D with a 5-1 mark by winning its first five games.
THE STAR
Marko Popovic - Unics Kazan
MARKO POPOVIC
Marko Popovic is in the midst of a brilliant season with a slew of offensive stats that stack up as the best of his career. He was one of only two players in the competition to finish the regular season among the top 10 in both scoring and assists.
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Saulius Stombergas - Unics Kazan
SAULIUS STOMBERGAS
The former Euroleague champion came back from a year of retirement looking to win. His experience and offensive savvy could be a difference maker in close games.
THE FACT
Unics Kazan celebrates
Kazan’s biggest Eurocup win and worst loss both came against Group J opponent Hapoel Jerusalem. Kazan routed Hapoel 98-45 in January 2008 and was destroyed 107-68 in Jerusalem in November ’07.
GALATASARAY CAFE CROWN
Finished second in Group A with a 3-3 record by winning all its home games.
THE STAR
Radoslav Rancik - Galatasaray cafe Crown (photo Galatasaray Dergisi © Serdar ÇELEBI)
RADOSLAV RANCIK
Rado Rancik established himself as Galatasaray’s top weapon with a 39-point outburst and MVP honors in Week 1 and he hasn’t let up, scoring at least 15 points in every game finishing sixth in the regular season in scoring.
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Fatih Solak - Galatasaray cafe Crown (photo Galatasaray Dergisi © Serdar ÇELEBI)
FATIH SOLAK
On a team where so much revolves around the starting unit, Solak provides a refreshing option to shake things up off the bench. The big center’s rebounding and shot-blocking skills could prove handy in big games.
THE FACT
Players Galatasaray cafe Crown celebrates (photo Galatasaray Dergisi © Serdar ÇELEBI)
Reached semifinals in only previous Eurocup season two years ago. Four players from that roster remain on the Galatasaray roster.
HAPOEL JERUSALEM
Finished second in Group C with a 3-3 record.
THE STAR
Pooh Jeter - Hapoel Jerusalem (photo Gintaras Siuparys)
POOH JETER
Pooh Jeter joined the club just before the Eurocup season and came off the bench for the first four games, but his lightening-quick speed and excellent shooting have made him Hapoel’s go-to guy and the player opponents must stop.
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Brandon Hunter - Hapoel Jerusalem
BRANDON HUNTER
Brandon Hunter was the Week 5 MVP, but did not deliver much in Jerusalem’s other games. His size, strength and ability to rebound and score in the paint make him a player Hapoel will try to maximize in the Last 16.
THE FACT
Uri Kokia - Hapoel Jerusalem (photo Gintaras Siuparys)
Head coach Guy Goodes was an assistant to Power Electrics Valencia head coach Neven Spahija at Maccabi Tel Aviv during the 2006-07 season.