2009-10 Team Focus: Montepaschi Siena

Oct 06, 2009 by Euroleague.net Print
Montepaschi Siena
4
Henry Domercant
G
1.93
5
Terrell McIntyre
G
1.75
6
Nikos Zisis
G
1.95
7
Lorenzo D'Ercole
G
1.93
8
Ben Eze
C
2.08
9
Marco Carraretto
G
1.96
10
Romain Sato
F
1.94
12
Ksistof Lavrinovic
C
2.09
14
Tomas Ress
C
2.08
18
Denis Marconato
C
2.10
17
David Hawkins
F
1.93
20
Shaun Stonerook
F
2.01
Head Coach: Simone Pianigiani
Simone Pianigiani
The unmistakable king of Italian basketball over the last half-decade, Montepaschi Siena, comes into the 2009-10 season having fine-tuned an already mean machine of a team with the singular goal of heading straight to the top of the Euroleague. With four national titles and three Euroleague Final Four appearances in the last seven seasons, Montepaschi is writing a chapter for itself in Italian basketball history. Its clear ambition, however, is to take success to its final step by conquering the Euroleague. With that in mind, Montepaschi heads into the 2009-10 season with its entire starting five back, led by do-it-all playmaker Terrell McIntyre, the All-Euroleague First Team point guard. The often unstoppable Henry Domercant returns at scoring guard, as does super-athlete Romain Sato at small forward, defensive ace Shaun Stonerook at power forward and shot-blocker Benjamin Eze at center. Also back is sixth man Ksistof Lavrinovic, a former All-Euroleague selection himself. At the same time, Montepaschi has changed pieces in the backcourt, bringing in former Euroleague champion Nikos Zisis at point guard and defensive ace David Hawkins on the wing. In the paint, Montepaschi has opted to go with experience in the person of Denis Marconato. After three seasons on the bench, head coach Simone Pianigiani has established a playing style and a level of professionalism that make Montepaschi one of the most self-assured teams anywhere. With continuity on the roster and high-level Euroleague experience from its newcomers, Montepaschi enters the season with a legitimate chance to challenge for a Final Four berth - and more.

Terrell McIntyre - Montepaschi Siena


McIntyre is the clear leader on this team after being chosen to the All-Euroleague First Team in each of the past two seasons. Last season, McIntyre led Montepaschi in minutes played, points scored, two-point shooting, three-pointers made and assists. This season McIntyre may have even more freedom in the backcourt alongside Zisis, a former Euroleague and Italian League champ, whose experience should help him blend in quickly and whose court vision and shot should make him a lethal partner for McIntyre. Henry Domercant started at shooting guard last season due to his awesome scoring ability, which at times not even the best defender can limit. Hawkins, meanwhile, should fit right into an aggressive defense that has seen Montepaschi lead the Euroleague in steals over the last two seasons. His great athleticism has allowed him to get to the basket and average double figures in points three years in a row. Entering his fourth season at the club, swingman Marco Carraretto brings a trusty three-point cannon off the bench. Rookie playmaker Lorenzo D'Ercole returns from having been on loan at other clubs to fight for minutes behind McIntyre and Zisis.

The tandem of Romain Sato and Shaun Stonerook has been incredibly effective for Montepaschi over three seasons now. Sato is a true all-around player who has the speed and power to crash the boards and thwart opposing players as well as the skills to create shots and bury triples on offense. Stonerook has led the league in steals the past two seasons. Though most famous for his work on the defensive end, he will punish anyone that leaves him open from outside. Benjamin Eze is among the league's best shot-blockers and a ferocious dunker if he gets the ball near the rim. Lavrinovic has grown comfortable coming off the bench to confuse opposing defenses. He has the skills to disrupt any defense as an elite three-point shooter, but with his big body can also pound in the paint with an array of low post moves. The experienced Marconato joins the squad to help out on defense with rebounding and shot-blocking in a way few others can. Thomas Ress rounds out the big man rotation as a finesse player with a good jumper and solid passer. With its mix of speed, strength, skill, intelligence and mental focus, a lineup doesn't get much more solid than the one with which Montepaschi enters the Euroleague season. Add in the supportive fans in Siena, and Montepaschi should have everyone on the edges of their seats this season with spectacular basketball and the promise of glory.
Nikos Zisis
NIKOS ZISIS, GUARD
With his 10 years of Euroleague experience already, it's hard to believe that new Montepaschi Siena point guard Nikos Zisis just turned 26. Starting a new season with his fourth Euroleague club, Zisis enters the prime of his career with a reputation that boils down to one word: winner. Each step of his precocious career, Zisis has won, which is why Montepaschi made a priority of bringing him to its already-solid team over the summer. A former Euroleague champ with four national championships in three countries, plus several more medals with the Greek national team, his credentials are as impressive as they get, and just one of many reasons Zisis will be key to helping Montepaschi reach its high ambitions this season.

Over the past five Euroleague seasons, only two players have averaged more than 4 assists and 10 points two times each: Zisis and new teammate Terrell McIntyre, who was the All-Euroleague First Team point guard the last two seasons. Together, this duo will ensure no letdown in Montepaschi's ability to dictate tempo and control games for as much of the entire 40 minutes as possible. And when they play side-by-side, Montepaschi will have two of the pro basketball's best decision-makers to turn to.

Zisis was quite young when he moved to Athens to join AEK's junior system, but it paid off as he shot through the ranks and played a role as a teenager in the club winning the 2002 Greek League for its first such crown in nearly 40 years. After proving himself at every level in Greece, including helping the national team to gold at EuroBasket 2005, Zisis moved to Italy for two successful years at Benetton Treviso, during which he won the 2006 Italian League and took silver at the 2006 World Championships. Next stop was Russia, where he arrived at age 24 and piled up even more experience, playing a backup role for CSKA Moscow through two Final Four appearances - including the team's 2008 Euroleague title run - as well as winning back-to-back Russian League crowns.

Throughout the years, Zisis's role has been different from team to team, but his all-around skills remain the same. Most of all, Zisis is always an unselfish player who constantly reads the game to ensure his team its best chance of winning. Montepaschi has done a lot of winning until now, but with Zisis on board as the only previous Euroleague champion in the locker room, his young but experienced hand could be the one that helps push a great team over the top.