Virtus has added several new faces to the roster this summer and the most famous of them was former All-EuroLeague point guard Milos Teodosic. He is joined by EuroCup legend Stefan Markovic at that position, but all posts were covered during the off-season: Frank Gaines, the Italian League top scorer last season, will bring in the points, Vince Hunter and Julian Gamble make a fearsome duo in the paint, while Stefan Nikolic and Giampaolo Ricci bring versatility on the wings. Finally, all-rounder Kyle Weems will try to replicate his solid EuroCup run from last season with Tofas Bursa.
The plays for Virtus will start from the hands of two tried and true point guards who have become staple names in European basketball the last decade. Teodosic needs no introduction as he is a EuroLeague champ and MVP and a three-time member of the All-EuroLeague First Team. His skills and experience will take Virtus to the next level right off the bat and he will be joined by Markovic, the EuroCup's all-time assist king in his 10th season in the competition. This duo is joined by Gaines, the top scorer in the Italian League last season with 20.3 points per game. David Cournooh remains on the team and will be a valuable backup when the time comes and Alessandro Pajola is in his third season with the team with the goal to become more important in the plans of Coach Sasha Obradovic. Finally, the backcourt is rounded out with Weems, a versatile small forward who averaged 7.9 points, 3.4 boards, 1.2 steals and 1.9 assists with Tofas Bursa in 10 EuroCup games last season.
The frontcourt of Virtus starts with Filippo Baldi Rossi, a solid big man in his third season with the team with which he grew up. He's had solid performances in his limited playing time and will try to become a bigger contributor after extending his contract last summer. Gamble arrives from France and he specializes in blocks (1.2 per game last season), but also added 10.2 points and 5.1 boards. Hunter also arrived from Greece as one of the best scorers in that country (18.0 ppg.) and a leader for AEK Athens. Nikolic comes back to Virtus after a stellar season in the Italian second division and will want to prove that he belongs at the top level, while Ricci will make his EuroCup debut as one of the Italian forwards with a bright future at the moment.
PLAYER TO WATCH
It's no mystery that superstar Milos Teodosic will have all eyes on him from the very first tip-off. And it's understandable. One of the best point guards in the last decade arrives to the EuroCup and everybody expects him to make a big splash. Teodosic was a 2016 EuroLeague champion with CSKA Moscow, a 2009-10 EuroLeague MVP with Olympiacos and a three-time member of the All-EuroLeague First team plus three more appearances in the Second Team. He also won many accolades in international competitions with the national team of Serbia and when word was out that he would come back from the NBA, few expected that he would end up in Bologna, but the intervention of Coach Djordjevic probably had an impact on Teodosic's decision. Everything is set to welcome Teodosic back to the EuroCup, as he played two seasons with FMP between 2004 and 2007. If injuries respect him, Teodosic will surely become one of the marquee names of the competition this season.
It's a big question mark for Virtus in the EuroCup this season. The team did not get to the Italian League playoffs last season and, upon learning that it was back in the EuroCup, the club has made a solid bet on new faces for a roster that looks pretty solid, at least on paper. Coach Djordjevic arrived to the season preparations late due to his coaching duties at the World Cup with Serbia, but that is just a small thing in a team that will have to make chemistry its first main goal, and the sooner the better. The right tools for the job are there, now it's just a matter to see if they intertwine well in order to make the machine work form the get-go.