View Full Version : EUROLEAGUE American Tour: CSKA starts tour in Orlando

10-09-2008, 09:37 PM
The first Euroleague Basketball American Tour has touched down in a land of make-believe - Orlando, Florida. Euroleague champions CSKA Moscow arrived in Orlando early today on the first stop of a nine-day trip to both the United States and Canada. CSKA's stay in Florida will be highlighted by an exhibition game on Friday night against the local NBA team, the Orlando Magic.

CSKA spent almost 15 hours in travelling from Moscow to Orlando on Tuesday, and arrived without power forward Andrey Vorontsevich, who aggravated an old leg injury in practice right before the team left Moscow. Vorontsevich was having tests done to the injury in Moscow on Wednesday and joins another talented young big man, Artem Zabelin, on the injured list. Zabelin also stayed in Moscow to rehabilitate his injured knee.

Despite its half-century standing in the elite of European basketball clubs, Friday's game will be CSKA's first ever in North America. After Florida, CSKA will continue its trip to Canada for a game next Tuesday against the Toronto Raptors.

"For me, it's important that a team with so many new players, as we have, gets this chance to stay together for 10 days," CSKA head coach Ettore Messina said in Orlando. "Obviously, it is also a challenge. We represent the Euroleague here, Russian basketball, and of course ourselves, too, and we want to show a good image for all of those organizations. At the same time, from the experience of previous games here, we know that NBA teams take these matchups extremely seriously, and the fact that we play by their rules can make a big difference in the games."

CSKA's arrival to the United States comes two years after its first and only NBA Europe Live tournament opened with a victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in Moscow.

"Personally, I think that for us, we have these two games left to prepare for our season, and the season in Europe is what's most important," said all-Euroleague forward Trajan Langdon, last season's Final Four MVP. "We start the Russian League with Ural Great at home when we get back, and then we have Armani Jeans Milano at home to start the Euroleague. Coming here to North America, we just want to play well and perform well, regardless of the outcomes. We want to prepare our season, and these games are great for that, even though in the big picture they're not important. I see it as a good way to test ourselves and see where we stand right now."

The Magic have their own milestone celebration underway as the club has unveiled new uniforms to mark its 20th anniversary season.

The Euroleague Basketball North American Tour goes from Orlando to Canada, where CSKA meets the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday, October 14. It continues when Regal F.C. Barcelona faces the NBA runner-up Lakers in Los Angeles on Saturday, October 18, and then either Toronto or the Los Angeles Clippers the next day. The tour concludes with Lietuvos Rytas visiting the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, California on Tuesday, October 21.