Virtus Segafredo Bologna can mount its assault for the 7DAYS EuroCup title upon a loaded backcourt after adding Josh Adams to an already stellar cast of talent. The 25-year-old arrived from Unicaja Malaga, where he compiled impressive statistics last season in 15 EuroCup appearances. The club has also made a series of frontcourt additions including power forward Amar Alibegovic, who among the Italian-League leaders in rebounds last season and is now stepping up into continental competition for the first time. More size was added with the arrival of big man Amedeo Tessitori, who has represented several Italian clubs and the Italian national team. A recognizable new face is Awudu Abass, who starred in the EuroCup for Germani Brescia Leonessa last season and previously spent two years in the EuroLeague with AX Armani Exchange Milan.
Virtus bases its attack on the supreme talents of one of the most gifted individual performers in the 7DAYS EuroCup, former EuroLeague MVP and champion Milos Teodosic. The veteran pass-master is returning for his second season at the club after an outstanding first campaign, which saw him average 17.8 points and 5.5 assists to earn the Regular Season MVP honor. Teodosic will again receive ample support from fellow Serb Stefan Markovic, who ranked second in last season’s EuroCup with 5.8 assists per game. Shooting star Adams adds yet another dimension to the super-talented backcourt following his arrival from Malaga, with back-up being provided by the young duo of Alessandro Pajola – who appeared in all 16 games from the bench last season – and teenager Lorzeno Deri. If Teodosic, Markovic and Adams can stay healthy, Virtus will surely be one of the most entertaining and explosive teams in the competition.
Coach Sasa Obradovic, who is heading into his third season with Virtus, will also be feeling good about his options closer to the basket. That starts with the retention of last season’s key man inside the paint, Julian Gamble. Making his debut in the competition, the American dovetailed nicely with bench-booster Vince Hunter. Both Gamble and Hunter averaged 2.0 offensive rebounds per game, ranking in the competition’s top 10. Another important performer is Giampaolo Ricci, who started 15 of his team’s 16 games and spent more minutes on the court than any other Virtus player except Teodosic. Like Ricci, a key returning player who can be relied upon to provide a bit of everything is Kyle Weems. New signings Alibegovic and Tessitori have been specifically recruited to add more size and physicality: at 2.07 and 2.08 meters, respectively, they are now the tallest players on the Virtus roster.
PLAYER TO WATCH
It’s impossible to look any further than Teodosic – not just as the star man within the Virtus ranks, but probably across the whole competition. The gifted playmaker will feel he has unfinished business after being curtailed by last season’s early finish and his sparkling performances to lead Virtus into the quarterfinals with an impressive cumulative 12-4 record showed that he has lost none of his old magic. He got better as the season went on, scoring at least 14 points in all six Top 16 games and finishing that phase with an average of 19.2 points per game. He now seeks to finish what he started. Teodosic will without a doubt again be one of the most important – and entertaining – players in this season’s 7DAYS EuroCup.
Virtus is firmly aiming to maintain its ascent towards the elite of European basketball and will expect nothing less than a serious challenge for the EuroCup title. Virtus was well and truly on track to secure silverware when last season was ended early, having marched into the EuroCup quarterfinals and ranking a clear first in the Italian league, losing just six games across both competitions. With the experienced Coach Obradovic able to call upon more or less the same roster, plus a handful of promising new arrivals, Virtus has every right to hope it can continue where it left off in March and again become a main candidate for the trophy.