Club profile: Umana Reyer Venice

Jul 20, 2021 by Print
Club profile: Umana Reyer Venice

Despite coming off an underwhelming 2020-21 7DAYS EuroCup season, Umana Reyer Venice is in the middle of a golden age. After 74 years without lifting trophies, Reyer won four titles in as many seasons, from 2017 to 2020. It has made basketball more popular than ever in one of the most unique cities in the world, and Reyer hopes to make the most out of this popularity to rebound in the 2021-22 EuroCup.

Founded in 1872 as a gymnastics club, Societa Sportiva Costantino Reyer opened its basketball section in 1925. Venice won its first Italian League title in 1942 and managed to defend it in 1943 led by Coach Carmelo Vidal. The club ranked second in 1946, but could not match its great results after World War II and by 1957 Venice went down to the Italian second division. The club returned to the first division in the 1960s and placed fourth in 1969, 1972 and 1974. It made its European competitions debut in the 1976-77 Korac Cup. By the 1980-81 season, Venice had a powerful roster led by an elite foreign duo: Drazen Dalipagic and Spencer Haywood. The club went all the way to the Korac Cup final before losing in overtime against Joventut Badalona, 105-104.

Venice stayed competitive through the 1980s and the early 1990s, but the club went under financially in 1996 and had to start from the Italian fifth division in 1997. By the end of the 2010-11 season, Venice was granted a spot in the Italian first division, thus completing a sensational return to elite basketball. Venice made it to the Italian League playoffs in 2012 and 2013 and in 2015-16 its growing momentum was confirmed with a berth in the 7DAYS EuroCup. Little by little, Reyer became a perennial title contender in Italy. It finally won the domestic league again in 2016-17, for the first time in almost 75 years, and followed that with the 2017-18 FIBA Europe Cup crown. In 2018-19, the team had a strong domestic season and qualified for the playoffs, where it played all of the possible 17 games in the quarterfinals, semifinals and final to lift another Italian League trophy.

The 2019-20 campaign saw Reyer reach the EuroCup Quarterfinals, which were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The club added another highlight by defeating Brindisi 73-67 in the Italian Cup final to win that trophy for the first time. Reyer was bound for the Italian League playoffs, too, before the season was called off. Last season, Reyer did not get past the EuroCup Regular Season and could not add more trophies to its roll of honors, losing against AX Armani Exchange Milan in both the Italian League and the Italian Cup semifinals.

Reyer knows what it takes to be successful and is ready to bounce back right away. Few teams should be more motivated in the 2021-22 EuroCup campaign. This season, with a rich cast of characters who have led Reyer to its current golden era returning, the club will look to continue making history.