Boulogne Metropolitans 92 makes its return to the 7DAYS EuroCup with a new-look roster, which starts at the top. Coach Jure Zdovc, who led Spartak St. Petersburg to the EuroCup semifinals in 2012, returns to lead a team in the competition for the first time in three years, however, he takes charge of a team with limited EuroCup experience; only four current Metropolitans have played in the EuroCup before and together they have combined for 31 appearances and 12 starts. Two of those players are new to the team: Lahaou Konate and Anthony Brown. The other newcomers are point guard Brandon Brown and power forwards Tomer Ginat and Miralem Halilovic.
Metropolitans will be quite deep at the point guard position with Rob Gray and David Michineau returning from last season. Newcomer Brandon Brown is the presumptive starting playmaker after ranking third in the VTB United League in assists (5.9 apg.) last season. Gray, who was the team's second-best scorer (14.5 ppg.) last season, is more of a combo-guard who can shine alongside Brandon Brown. The team captain, Michineau, begins his third season with Metropolitans and promises to be an important scorer and table-setter off the bench. Konate returns to France after a season in Spain to take on a bigger role in the backcourt. Fellow shooting guard Bastien Pinault, back for a second season with Metropolitans, provides deep shooting from the bench. Small forward Anthony Brown, the only Metropolitans player to have played in two previous EuroCup campaigns, is a classic all-around player who will help the team in all aspects on both ends of the floor. The longest-serving Metropolitans player is forward Maxime Roos, who joined the team in 2017. After missing much of last season due to injuries, Roos came on late in the season and will try to pick up where he left off.
Halilovic and Ginat will share the duties at power forward. Halilovic remains in France after spending the past three years with Orleans. Last season he led the French League in scoring with 17.6 points per game and ranked third in rebounding (7.9 rpg.). Ginat leaves his native Israel to play abroad for the first time. He can score inside and out, rebounds well, and is a top-notch passer for a big man. Center Vitalis Chikoko was fifth in the French League in rebounding with 7.1 per game and seventh in scoring with 15.4 points last season. At 21 years of age, reserve center Neal Sako is only getting and looks ready to take on an even bigger role this season.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Miralem Halilovic is a rookie in the EuroCup, although he has vast experience in international basketball. He played briefly in the EuroLeague with Zagreb almost a decade ago and has represented his native Bosnia and Herzegovina in continental action, too. Halilovic has played for clubs in five different countries, but never had a season like this past one. He joined Orleans in 2017 and put up big numbers in his first two seasons there in the French second division. Last year was the first in the top league and Halilovic put up monster numbers with eight double-doubles in 23 contests, including 25 points and 11 rebounds in a victory over Metropolitans. His best game was a 38-point, 14-rebound performance to beat Boulazac. Entirely an inside player – Halilovic attempted just 1 three-pointer all season, he promises to be a pillar for Metropolitans this season and is certainly a player to watch.
Metropolitans hunker down for their fourth EuroCup campaign and hope to at least match their best performance to date, a quarterfinals appearance in 2015. There are a lot of question marks around the team, but also a lot of talented players, who led by an experienced head coach, have the ability to put together an exciting run. The question marks surround the lack of experience and the building of team chemistry. If frontcourt stars Chikoko and Halilovic find common ground quickly, Metropolitans will have one of the toughest frontlines in the competition, which will only make things easier for the plethora of perimeter options at Coach Zdovc's disposal.