Eurocup Regular Season, Group D analysis

Oct 27, 2011 by Print
Valencia Basket Club
BC Telenet Oostende
Asvel Basket
Lukoil Academic
Todor Stoykov
Todor Stoykov
Despite being away from the competition in the last two years, Todor Stoykov of Lukoil Academic is still the Eurocup's all-time top scorer with 1,040 points. Considering the next active player is Rado Rancik of Azovmash - ranked 19th at 637 points -, Stoykov has a good chance to add some distance in the scoring standings and keep showing that his deep range, driving skills and outstanding leadership is out of the question. An All-Eurocup second team selection last season, Nik Caner-Medley plays the competition with a third different Spanish team. Caner-Medley thrives in competitive environments, so expect him to shine brightly in his new team, offering power, strength and outstanding winning mentality.
Nik Caner-Medley - Valencia Basket
Nik Caner-Medley
Leo Westermann - Asvel Basket
Leo Westermann
Asvel Basket is full of young talent - Paul Lacombe, Kim Tillie, Edwin Jackson and many more - but Leo Westermann stands out due to his versatility, size and know-how. A tall guard that has won medals with France at almost all youth levels, Westermann already made his Eurocup debut last season. At age 18, Westermann and Lacombe have a golden chance to keep learning and improving while competing in the Eurocup. Combo guard Quentin Serron is set to have a sudden impact in Telenet Oostende due to his athleticism and hard defense. A good rebounder for a player his size, Serron can do a little bit of everything in offense and help Oostende in many ways.
Quentin Serron - Telenet Oostende
Quentin Serron
Valencia not only added Caner-Medley under the baskets, but reloaded its roster with several players with Eurocup experience such as all-time assists leader - at age 23! - Stefan Markovic or center AJ Ogilvy. It also brought back coach Paco Olmos, which led Valencia to win its first Eurocup title in 2003. Asvel Basket landed its own Vice President of Basketball Operations, global superstar Tony Parker, as well as good role players like Hilton Armstrong, Ronny Turiaf, Jamie Skeen, Dijon Thompson or Phil Goss. With all those additions, Asvel will be ready to face anyone once it overcomes an adjustment period. Oostende added size, experience and versatility with Dusan Djordjevic, Dusan Sakota, Jason Rich and especially Christopher Booker, a blue-collar big man ready to fight against the very best in the competition. Lukoil inked Andre Owens and Akida McLain as its main additions, keeping a lot of players from last season.
Two-time Eurocup champion Valencia Basket is the favourite to reach the Last 16 in Group D, as it has a lot of Eurocup veterans and some of players - former Rising Star Victor Claver, Florent Pietrus, Rafa Martinez, Serhiy Lishchuk and 2009-10 Euroleague guard Nando De Colo - that won the title in 2010. Of course, the competition will not be a bed of roses for Valencia, as all three opponents have the talent to put the Spanish powerhouse into trouble. Asvel has the perfect combination of young talent, ambition and experienced superstars. Parker, Thompson and Armstrong not only will lead the team from the early going, but help players like Westermann, Lacombe or Tillie along the way. Oostende reached the EuroChallenge final four last season and is fully reloaded with its new, experienced signings and a two-time Euroleague winner in Tomas Van den Spiegel. If Oostende is strong at home, backed by its outstanding crowd, the Last 16 should not be an unreachable dream. Lukoil knows the competition inside out and what it takes to survive tough regular season groups. Stoykov, Bruno Sundov, Brandon Heath or Damjan Stojanovski have been together for a while and will try to use that chemistry to be as competitive as they can be.