When ratiopharm Ulm and Promitheas Patras engage in their Round 5 clash on Wednesday, it will also be another opportunity for key backcourt pieces for each team, Ulm's Thomas Klepeisz and Kendrick Ray of Promitheas, to continue with the fine performances that each has been delivering in the early going this season.
The two players have not been part of the EuroCup for long. Ray is in his first season, while Klepeisz - before the four games he's played this season, made just three appearances last season with Ulm due to injury problems.
But Klepeisz enters this game coming off one of the finest performances by any player in the competition so far this season. He collected 14 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists in a double-overtime road win at Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana last week.
Klepeisz has started the last two games for Ulm, both victories that needed extra sessions, and for the season he is averaging 9.5 points per game. The 30-year old has knocked down at least one three-pointer in each of the four games and has been an important contributor on the glass for Ulm with 4.8 rebounds.
Over the last three games, Klepeisz has been heavily involved in playmaking and dished 14 assists after not having a single helper in the season opener.
Ray, on the other hand, leads Promitheas in scoring with 13.3 points per game. He posted double-digits in scoring in each of his four games. Ray was especially productive in the last two games, collecting 16 points, 10 rebounds and 3 assists in the loss against Mincidelice JL Bourg en Bresse and 14 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists in the victory over Frutti Extra Bursaspor last week.
Like Klepeisz, who did not have a single assist in the season opener, Ray did not hit a three-pointer or grab a rebound in Round 1. Since then, he is shooting 7 for 16 from three-point range and has pulled down 20 rebounds in three games.
It is interesting that the two men have identical three-point shooting numbers, each going 7 for 18 so far. The two also have the same number of steals and have been contributing almost equally on the glass. As the first scoring option for the team, Ray is taking far more two-point shots than Klepeisz, while the Ulm guard is averaging more assists.
Now, the two players will be on the opposite sides, hoping their all-around contributions will help their respective teams build on their recent successes to tally another win in EuroCup action.