It was a tough regular season for MoraBanc Andorra, as a rash of injuries and other problems kept the team from playing with a full squad at any time. Only five players played in all 10 games during the season and one of them, Oriol Pauli, was sidelined for the entire pre-season. Even so, Andorra managed to qualify for the Top 16 and - with most of its players expected back in action by its next game plus the pride of representing a whole country – should make the squad much more competitive in the next phase.
Things did not start well for Andorra, as it registered a 76-82 home loss against AS Monaco in Round 1 and trailed 47-31 late in the first half of its Round 2 game against Telenet Antwerp Giants. Andorra allowed just 13 points in the final 20 minutes, tying a EuroCup record, and recorded a 60-71 win. Two more home wins, 76-66 against Lietkabelis Panevezys and 82-69 against Antwerp - allowed Andorra to punch its ticket to the Top 16 for the third consecutive season.
One of the players who has been available all season is playmaker Clevin Hannah, already a EuroCup veteran in his fourth season in the competition. Hannah is a great scorer with one-on-one skills and great determination. He has stepped up in crucial moments, too, scoring 12 points in Andorra's come-from-behind win in Belgium and getting 27 in his team's Round 10 game against Lietkabelis, in which Andorra clinched its Top 16 berth. Hannah should play even better with a healthy squad around him as more challenging opponents come up.
Moussa Diagne has only played 10 minutes and 15 seconds in this EuroCup season and should be back soon. When healthy, Diagne is a force of nature, a mobile center with great timing for rebounds and blocked shots, as well as an effective scorer who seems to improve his post moves and extend his shooting range every season. He is expected to be one of Andorra's pillars, leading a physical frontcourt ready to battle hard in the paint.
Did you know?
In EuroCup history, some 18 teams have advanced past the regular season with a losing record. Only three of them have managed to go through another stage. Pallacanestro Cantu had a 4-6 regular-season record and reached the eighthfinals in the 2014-15 season, EWE Baskets Oldenburg did the same in 2015-16 and a year later, a 3-5 regular season record did not prevent Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar from reaching the 2017 semifinals. Andorra is the second team to survive the regular season with a 3-7 record; Buducnost VOLI Podgorica did that in 2013-14 when it lost in the Last 32 round.
None of Andorra's injured players are sidelined long-term, so Coach Ibon Navarro can expect to have a deeper and more competitive team going forward. A frontline with physical players such as Diagne, Babatunde Olumuyiwa, Bandja Sy, Malick Dime and Tyson Perez should make Andorra feared in the paint. Andorra also features versatile players in Pauli, Tomasz Gielo and Haukur Palsson, and backcourt leaders Hannah and Jeremy Senglin. When injury-free, Andorra has one of the deepest rosters in the EuroCup and that could pay off in the Top 16.