In getting ready for its fourth season in the 7DAYS EuroCup, Dolomiti Energia Trento made a big change by appointing Nicola Brienza head coach in place of former EuroCup Coach of the Year Maurizio Buscaglia, who had served as Trento’s head of bench since 2010. Trento kept part of its core from last season and added some big weapons to it. Guard James Blackmon is a prolific scorer, while small forward George King hurts opponents from long range. On the other hand, Rashard Kelly and Justin Knox will provide Trento with much-needed size and muscle closer to the basket. All four players will be making their respective EuroCup debuts this season, just like the three teenagers who joined the team – shooting guards Alessandro Voltolini and Matteo Picarelli and center Maximilian Ladurner.
If past seasons are any indicator, point guard Aaron Craft is where a lot of things on both ends of the floor start for Trento. In his third season and second stint with the club, Craft not only runs the team's offense, but sets the tone with his pressure on defense. He has one of the most reliable back-ups in the competition in Toto Forray, a Trento legend who brings tremendous energy and passion as he enters his ninth season with the club. James Blackmon will serve as a go-to guy on offense and his scoring abilities certainly put him in the conversation as a candidate for top scorer. George King, in his first season in Europe, is another scoring threat and a dangerous three-point shooter. Swingman Fabio Mian, another good shooter, will look to expand his role in his second season with the club, while teenage shooting guards - homegrown 17-year old Alessandro Voltolini and an 18-year old Matteo Picarelli – will use any chance to grab invaluable experience.
Trento will put a lot of faith in its frontcourt additions to battle under the rims. Rashard Kelly, although undersized at 1.98 meters, is a great rebounder while Justin Knox, a veteran center, has the size and the muscle for toughest of inside battles. Both players also bring energy and emotions that fans appreciate. Luca Lechthaler, in his fifth consecutive season with the club, will be a leader and a much-needed veteran presence in his likely limited role off the bench. While these three men will be doing the work under the baskets, former All-EuroCup First Team forward Davide Pascolo and his young understudy Andrea Mezzanotte will be the stretch fours to open the floor. Maximilian Ladurner is a promising young big man, who at 17 years of age will be gaining experience this season.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Playmaker Aaron Craft found his place under the sun with Trento last season when he came back to the club midway through the regular season. Craft shined in four EuroCup appearances, averaging 9.3 assists, including a career-high 13 in a huge comeback overtime road win against Zenit St Petersburg. Even though he is not a great scorer, Craft has all the leadership skills any team would desire. He not only thrives in running the offense, but shines on defense, too. While with Trento, he led Italian League in steals twice in the past three years, including 2.1 per game last season. Now with the team from the start of the training camp, Craft is poised for a big season and to lead Trento to big things.
Entering the EuroCup for the fourth time in the last five seasons, former semifinalist Trento hopes to get back to winning ways after last season when it managed only three wins and missed out on making the Top 16 for the first time. This time, however, also marks the start of a new era for Trento with Coach Brienza in charge. He will have plenty of depth in the backcourt with experienced point guards alongside prolific scorers and dangerous shooters, which figures to be team's big strength this season. With a home court that is traditionally tough to conquer, Trento will be looking to make another extended run in the competition.