Group B analysis

Sep 22, 2015 by Eurocupbasketball.com Print
Group B analysis

Group B will have some familiar faces with both Germany and Italy each featuring two clubs. The German representatives are ALBA Berlin and MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg, which returns to the competition for the first time since the 2007-08 campaign. The two Italian sides are Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia, which returns for the second straight season, and newcomer Enel Basket Brindisi. Le Mans Sarthe Basket of France is a familiar face in its sixth straight Eurocup run. And Spanish side Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas is surely best known after reaching last season’s Eurocup Finals.

OLD PROS

Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas relies on a pair of 37-year-old veterans to play big roles on their team - point guard Albert Oliver and center Sitapha Savane, the latter of whom is back to the club where he previously played seven Eurocup seasons. Savane is a fan-favorite and a reference for many African players who arrived in the Eurocup after him. Former Eurocup champion Mickael Gelabale is expected to lead Le Mans Sarthe Basket - his sixth team in the competition. The most experienced player in this group is Rimantas Kaukenas of Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia. At age 38, Kaukenas is still a deadly shooter who leads by example. Reggio Emilia also counts on Vladimir Veremeenko, the Eurocup's all-time leading rebounder, and Darjus Lavrinovic to make the difference in the paint.

YOUNG GUNS

MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg invested in rookie playmaker Royce O'Neale, a savvy do-it-all player, who can impact the game on both ends of the floor. Tekele Cotton also joined Ludwigsburg straight out of college. Achille Pollonara and Amedeo Della Valle are expected to play bigger roles for Reggio Emilia this season. Oriol Pauli already shined in the Eurocup with Gran Canaria last season and will have even more confidence going forward. Le Mans registered seven players born in the 1990s! Mouphtaou Yarou had great numbers with Radnicki Kragujevac in the 2013-14 Eurocup season (17.1 ppg., 13.1 rpg.) and hopes to do the same with Le Mans.

 

KEY SIGNINGS

ALBA Berlin reloaded its roster with young veterans with Euroleague and Eurocup experience, such as Will Cherry, Elmedin Kikanovic and Dragan Milosavljevic. It also fortified its frontcourt with Ivan Aska and Michael Watt, who had solid seasons in Israel. Enel Basket Brindisi put together a very interesting roster with big man Djorjde Gagic and combo guards Adrian Banks and Scottie Reynolds joining its ranks. Gran Canaria not only brought back Savane, but added depth to its frontcourt with Ovidijus Galdikas, Alen Omic and Pablo Aguilar. Last season's finalists also signed playmaker Kevin Pangos and swingman Xavi Rabaseda. Le Mans's main addition is veteran playmaker Tywain McKee, a do-it-all option to run the offense. Ludwigsburg added Jason Boone inside, as well as guards Rocky Trice and David McCray. Reggio Emilia kept a core of players and added Veremeenko and scoring machine Pietro Aradori - back to the Eurocup with a third different Italian team.

LOWDOWN

ALBA Berlin comes off an outstanding Turkish Airlines Euroleague season in which it was really close to reaching the playoffs. Gran Canaria went all the way to the Eurocup finals after winning 21 of its first 22 games. With that in mind, it is safe to say that ALBA and Gran Canaria look like the main candidates to survive this very tough regular season group. Le Mans put together a very athletic team and if its new additions - Gelabale, McKee and Yarou – live up to their experience, the team could go deep in the 2015-16 Eurocup. Reggio Emilia expects its many shooters to deliver, counting on big men Veremeenko and Lavrinovic to balance their team's offense. Brindisi makes its Eurocup debut, but expects to be highly competitive and fight for a Last 32 spot. Ludwigsburg brought in many new players and if the team is able to build a good team chemistry quickly, it should also be in the battle to make it to the next round, too.