Group D analysis

Sep 25, 2015 Print
Group D analysis
With two of last season’s semifinalists, Banvit Bandirma of Turkey and Unics Kazan of Russia, Group D will surely be competitive. Greek side Aris Thessaloniki will mark a decade since its Eurocup Finals appearance and hope for another big run. Perennial Montenegrin champion Buducnost VOLI Podgorica always has lofty goals, while Steaua CSM EximBank Bucharest of Romania brings rich tradition and like fellow newcomer Trabzonspor Medical Park has great determination to stand out already in its first Eurocup campaign.

OLD PROS

Aris Thessaloniki will get much needed experience from swingman and former Euroleague champion Michalis Pelekanos as well as big man Vasileios Symtsak. These two veterans are also the two oldest players in this group. The young roster of Buducnost VOLI Podgorica got a huge boost in the paint with the addition of a former Euroleague and Eurocup champ Aleks Maric, while the point guard duties are once again in the hands of Omar Cook, who is approaching a mark of 800 total assists between his Euroleague and Eurocup appearances. Steaua will rely heavily on its versatile swingman Pankracije Barac and point guard Marko Marinovic, the latter being a former Eurocup champion who could become the competition’s all-time leader in assists this season. Marinovic’s 352 career assists are second most in Eurocup history and he needs only 12 more to surpass Stefan Markovic for first place. Most of Unics's points are expected to come from guard Keith Langford, who is only a year removed from being the Alphonso Ford Top Scorer Trophy winner.

Keith Langford - Unics Kazan - EB14_62922

YOUNG GUNS

Aris could get a lot of offensive production out of its power forward position. After two years with Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv, Jake Cohen now gets a chance to have a bigger role with Aris, while athletic big man Okaro White does a lot of scoring himself, but is also a potential defensive stud with his shot-blocking skills. Youngster Bogdan Popa comes back home to Romainia to play for Steaua after developing over the last two years with Unicaja Malaga’s juniors. Trabzonspor Medical Park's forward Candan Berkay is ready to improve in his third consecutive Eurocup campaign. Buducnost has as many as 10 players born in the 1990s registered for this campaign. Among the most promising are speedy point guard Aleksandar Novosel, big forward Vasilije Bacovic, and 17-year old swingman Ognjen Carapic, all of whom are the bright future of this club and are expected to see minutes in the competition this season.

 

KEY SIGNINGS

Entering another campaign with the intention to go all the way, Unics reinforced it frontcourt with one of the Euroleague's best rebounders last season, Art Parakhouski, and an athletic big man in Latavious Williams. On the perimeter Unics has put Quino Colom at point guard and added a very dangerous sharpshooter, Arturas Milaknis. Trabzon inked do-it-all swingman Tarence Kinsey, who will be a glue guy between the likes of playmaker Darius Johnson-Odom and a productive power forward Damian Kulig. Buducnost got a reference in the paint with Maric and added three-point threat in Nemanja Jaramaz. Aris brought in a big-time scorer Jerel McNeal and added a couple of intimidating rim protectors in White and Jamelle Hagins. Meanwhile, Banvit has a completely new team that includes a potent backcourt of point guards A.J. Slaughter and Courtney Fortson, as well as sharpshooter Dominique Johnson, while its new frontline features Adrien Moerman, Jackie Carmichael and big man Gasper Vidmar.

LOWDOWN

Last year's semifinalists, Unics and Banvit, are clear favorites to come out on top of this group, even though these two teams had different strategies when it came to managing rosters over the summer. Unics built on its last year's roster with a couple of key pieces for both its backcourt and frontcourt, while Banvit has a totally revamped roster with no key player left from last season. Aris and Buducnost will be as dangerous as always, especially on their respective home floors behind the support of their fans. Newcomers Steaua and Trabzonspor make this group an intriguing one. Steaua prides itself on being one of the greatest clubs in Romanian history and sees this season as an opportunity to get back to the path of its old glory, while Trabzonspor has big plans for the future and does not intend to be your ordinary Eurocup newcomer.