Getting stopped in the Top 16 for the second season in a row after having reached the semifinals three years back, MoraBanc Andorra went looking for reinforcements at almost every position to confront the upcoming 7DAYS EuroCup Regular Season. With continuity on the bench in head coach Ibon Navarro, a solid core of players who know the club well, and an injection of talented newcomers, the pride of the principality is ready to make some noise again.
With team leader Clevin Hannah, the team's top scorer last season, and backup Sergi Garcia at the point position, Andorra tabbed combo guard Codi Miller-McIntyre to guarantee more points from the backcourt. After that trio, size and interchangeability on the perimeter is one of Andorra's calling cards, with steady swingman Drew Crawford (1.96) and rising star Mario Nakic (2.02 meters) joining longtime stalwarts David Jelinek and Guillem Colom on the perimeter. The versatility of Crawford and Nakic will allow Navarro to play big and small lineups, especially when one of the high-potential additions of the off-season, small forward (2.02) Amine Noua, moves to the power position. Experienced Oriol Pauli was the starter at small forward last season and brings additional speed and know-how to the perimeter game.
Andorra boasts a very athletic, if a tad undersized, trio of big men coming back to the fold. The biggest and most experienced of them, Moussa Diagne, played just one EuroCup game last season due to injury, but was a steady presence in Andorra's paint for three seasons before that. Rebounding force Babatunde Olumuyiwa was steady in his EuroCup debut last season. Most intriguing when he wasn't injured last season was 2.02-meter jumping jack Tyson Perez, who has the athleticism to change games. Veteran Nacho Llovet will get help at power forward from another experienced EuroCup hand, Conor Morgan, who moved across from fellow Spanish League side Joventut Badalona during the summer.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Amine Noua is making his first move outside his only pro club to date to fill what should be an important role with Andorra. The last time he was seen in the EuroCup, the talented 24-year-old forward was averaging 10.8 points and making 43.2% of his three-pointers with LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne, with whom he has since added two seasons' worth of valuable experience in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. If anything, Noua has lacked until now the aggressiveness to make the most of his varied talents. But the fast-moving system that Navarro uses to seek early scoring opportunities doesn't allow for much hesitation, which might be just what Noua needs to flourish. His talent is evident, and when he learns to thrive consistently, watch out.
In four EuroCup seasons so far, Andorra has had the luxury of being ambitious without pressure, but has been held back lately by injury troubles. Navarro's high-paced system is a lot to handle for opponents but can also give way to freelancing. If the guard trio can manage all that movement to get more high-quality shots than the team had last year, when it finished dead last in two-point accuracy, Andorra's stock will rise precipitously and this will be a team to keep your eye on as the season progresses.