New coach Vincenzo Esposito has a number of recent arrivals at his disposal, and getting them to quickly gel with the returning players could be the key to the Italian team’s campaign. Experienced American big man Tyler Cain nearly averaged a double-double in the Italian league with Varese last season, and he returns to the EuroCup for the first time since representing VEF Riga in 2012. He will be joined in the frontcourt by 21 year-old Tomasso Guariglia, who impressed last year for Fortitudo Agrigento in the Italian second division. Three more Americans have also been added: forward Ken Horton joins from Astana, young guard Bronson Koenig has signed from Mornar, and veteran shooter DeAndre Lansdowne completes the roster after averaging 18.6 points per game in the German League for Braunschweig last season.
The offense will again be orchestrated by 33 year-old Luca Vitali, who led the team with 4 assists per game in Brescia's debut EuroCup campaign, and he will be joined in the leadership category by vastly experienced swingman and defensive expert David Moss. Lansdowne will be under immediate pressure to deliver baskets as he arrives to replace last season's leading scorers, Jordan Hamilton and Bryon Allen. In addition to new signing Koenig, there should also be enhanced roles for Marco Ceron and Tomasso Laquintana, who had a combined average of just 8.5 points and 1.6 assists last season but will need to carry a greater share of the load this time around.
Without any doubt a key player for Brescia will be Awudu Abass. The former Milan man spent more time on the floor than any teammate last season – nearly 29 minutes per game – and he led the team in rebounding with 6.3 boards per game as well as averaging 10.8 points in scoring. Brian Saccheti and Horton will also be important on the perimeter, and inside the paint veteran Andrea Zerini will look to protect the rim after averaging 1 blocked shot per game in 2018-19. New duo Cain and Guariglia add more size and will certainly see their share of playing time.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Replacing the departing Bryon and Hamilton is a major task after they combined for an average of 29.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 5.6 assists over the course of last season. To soften the blow of their departures, Brescia will look for Lansdowne to replicate the sensational scoring form he produced in German domestic action last season. This will be the first taste of European competition for the 30 year-old, who has also represented Pioneros de Delicias in Mexico along with Hertener Loewen Basketball and Hamburg Towers in Germany. To reach the Top 16, Brescia needs him to have a great campaign.
Making a fast start will be crucial for a Brescia team that put itself in a tough spot by losing its first three games last season. Starting with three home games out of four is a big opportunity, and the Italian team will aim to win at least two of those to establish a strong position for the remainder of the regular season. This is a team with plenty of experience, containing seven players aged 30 or older, and combined with the know-how of new coach Esposito – who had a three-decade playing career and has now been coaching for 10 years – that savvy could give Brescia a decent shot at progressing past the regular season.