View Full Version : Eurocup 08/09 Group by Group Previews

11-20-2008, 02:55 AM
Group A: ASK Riga, Chorale Roanne , Maroussi, Zadar
Source: EurocupBasketball.com (http://www.eurocupbasketball.com/ulebcup/home/news/i/38665/448/eurocup-regular-season-group-a-analysis)

One of the most balanced quartets of teams headed into the Eurocup regular season is Group A, where the fight to reach the Last 16 can be expected to start on opening night. Chorale Roanne of France played the 2007-08 Euroleague and is ready to use that experience, the club's first in 50 years on the continental stage, to go far in the new Eurocup. Zadar of Croatia, a classic European club, reloaded its roster and had a strong start in the Adriatic League, the competition it won in 2003. ASK Riga of Latvia not only survived two qualifying rounds to join Group A, but was the last unbeaten team this season in the Baltic League. ASK hopes to revive the glory days that saw it win Europe's first three club titles, between 1958 to 1960, with a solid first step in the 2008-09 Eurocup. Last but not least, Maroussi Costa Coffee of Greece brings a defensive brand of basketball to counter its offensive-minded Group A opponents. Having won a continental trophy to start this decade, the 2001 Saporta Cup, Maroussi knows what it takes to excel in a competition like the Eurocup.

Roanne has undergone major roster changes in order to prepare to stay competitive in the Eurocup. The club brought back Aaron Harper, one of the stars of Roanne's French Cup and Semaine des As title teams in 2007. Center Taj Gray will be its major reference in the paint due to his post moves and scoring skills. Marcellus Sommerville is a modern power forward, ready to pull the trigger from downtown if Gray is double-teamed. Meanwhile, Chris Monroe is a tall swingman ready to help Roanne with his all-around skills. Pass-first playmakers Marc-Antoine Pellin and Pierric Poupet, as well as small forward Karim Souchu, round a solid team ready to win anytime, anywhere. Zadar keeps some of the players that helped the team to reach the Adriatic League final four last season, such as Juby Johnson, rebounding ace Todor Gecevski or combo guard Rok Stipcevic, not to mention returning head coach Aleksandar Petrovic. Zadar added veteran three-poing threat Marlon Garnett, up-and-coming forward Deyan Ivanov, as well as solid guards Damir Rancic and Malix Dixon. Zadar will be a tough opponent, especially at home, backed by thousands of its diehard fans.

Maroussi did not hesitate to play a major role in the off-season market and build a competitive team. The club added athletic guard Nikolay Padius, a ULEB Cup finalist with Aris in 2006, as well as playmaker Billy Keys, small forward Jarod Stevenson, aggressive swingman Pat Calathes and center Loukas Mavrokefalidis. Greek players like Fanis Koubouras, Costa Halarabidis, Kostas Kaimakoglou or Andreas Glyniadakis - who played the 2008 Olympic Games with his national team - will be basic for coach Soulis Markopoulos. Controlling the game rhythm against three high-scoring opponents will be a big key for Maroussi. After surviving the qualifying rounds, ASK Riga survived is ready to keep making noise. Corey Brewer, the ULEB Cup's second-best scorer all-time, will have the chance face Zadar, his former team. Power forward Ricardo Marsh, center Bruno Sundov and three-point specialist Uvis Helmanis will be the main pillars of a deep team that also features playmaker Sandis Valters, big man Raitis Grafs and versatile forward Milutin Aleksic. ASK was injury-plagued in the ULEB Cup last season, but now, backed by its loyal fans, is ready to rebound and fight for a Last 16 spot in the Eurocup.

For Team Profiles: (Click on team name)
ASK Riga (http://www.euroleague.net/ulebcup/home/news/i/34121/448/item) (Latvia)
Chorale Roanne (http://www.euroleague.net/ulebcup/home/news/i/34764/448/item) (France)
Maroussi Costa Coffee (http://www.euroleague.net/ulebcup/home/news/i/34768/448/item) (Greece)
Zadar (http://www.euroleague.net/ulebcup/home/news/i/35686/448/item) (Croatia)

as more articles come up, I will post them in this thread

11-20-2008, 08:27 PM
Group B: Dynamo Moscow, Lukoil Academic, Barons/LMT Riga, Unics Kazan
Source: EurocupBasketball.com (http://www.eurocupbasketball.com/ulebcup/home/news/i/38780/448/eurocup-regular-season-group-b-analysis)

Some of the biggest highlights in the Eurocup regular season are set to take place in Group B, with four talented teams fighting for the two Last 16 tickets available. Dynamo Moscow of Russia won the ULEB Cup title in 2006 and reached the semifinals last season. Dynamo is ready to shine in the Eurocup as one of the teams to beat yet again this season. Bulgarian powerhouse Lukoil Academic in its Europe's second club competition for the sixth consecutive seasons and as usual, its goal is to survive the first round and see what it can achieve from that moment. It will not be an easy task, however, as its Group B opponents also have potential to go very deep in the competition. Reigning Latvian League champion Barons/LMT also won the FIBA Eurocup last season and are ready to take a bigger challenge in the 2008-09 Eurocup. Last but not least, even when Unics Kazan of Russia reached Group B through the Qualifying Rounds, it cannot be underestimated. In fact, Unics reached the ULEB Cup semifinals in 2007 and the Final Eight last season.

Dynamo has put together arguably one of the best rosters in club history, landing marquee free agents all around Europe and even beyond. Coach David Blatt, who won EuroBasket 2007 with Russia, is the new boss in town. Dynamo kept a powerful core of experienced players such as Travis Hansen, Robertas Javtokas, Sergey Monya, Dmitry Domani or Sergey Bykov, as well as adding some of the best free agents available. Former All-Euroleague second team selection Darjus Lavrinovic, versatile forward Bostjan Nachbar, shooting guard Jannero Pargo, playmaker Hollis Price or combo guard Arriel McDonald, a ULEB Cup finalist with Akasvayu that returned to his former club, round a deep, solid roster with no limits.

Lukoil is back with Todor Stoykov, the ULEB Cup's all-time scorer and its assists leader, too. Stoykov plays a key veteran role in a team that features Bulgarian talents Chavdar Kostov and Hristo Nikolov, shooting guard Riste Stefanov, big man Kenny Adeleke, swingman Tim Pickett and recently signed playmaker Kevin Kruger.

Barons/LMT opted to keep the core of players that led the club to its biggest-ever success last season, such as veteran forward Dainius Adomaitis, guard Giedrius Gustas, scoring machine Armands Skele, center Kaspars Berzins and above all, star power forward Demetrius Alexander, its true leader on court. Barons improved its roster with several key additions, like forwards Adrian Henning and Corey Smith, playmaker Todd Abernethy or big man Charles Rhodes. Its options rely on Alexander and Skele as Barons' franchise players, as well as being strong at home, just as it has been in the Baltic League so far this season.

Unics Kazan survived tough tests against Energa Czarni and 2004 ULEB Cup champion Hapoel Migdal Jerusalem in the qualifying rounds to reach the regular season. Do-it-all forward Tariq Kirksay will be its main reference due to its outstanding versatility and game knowledge. Unics also landed a well-rounded group of veterans ready to deliver right away, such as scoring guards Terrell Lyday and Marko Popovic, as well as power forwards Kresimir Loncar and Vladimir Veremeenko. Sharp shooter Sergey Chikalkin and up-and-coming center Dmitri Sokolov are set to play major roles for Unics this season.

Club Profile Links:

Barons/LMT Riga (http://www.euroleague.net/ulebcup/home/news/i/34813/448/item) (Latvia)
Dyano Moscow (http://www.euroleague.net/ulebcup/home/news/i/35727/448/item) (Russia)
Lukoil Academic (http://www.euroleague.net/ulebcup/home/news/i/35352/448/item) (Bulgaria)
Unics Kazan (http://www.euroleague.net/item/34144) (Russia)

11-21-2008, 07:33 AM
Group C: Besiktas Cola Turka, BC Khimki, Benetton Basket Tamoil, Le Havre
Source: EurocupBasketball.com (http://www.eurocupbasketball.com/ulebcup/home/news/i/38894/448/eurocup-regular-season-group-c-analysis)

Sparks will fly in Group C with three mighty powers and one newcomer taking aim at two tickets to the Last 16. Besiktas Cola Turka, BC Khimki, Benetton Basket Tamoil and Le Havre promise some tense games to be played over the coming months, with the outcome likely up for grabs till the very end. Besiktas of Turkey reached last season’s ULEB Cup Final Eight and looks to add to that with an impressive roster that targets big success. Khimki, which bowed out to eventual champion DKV Joventut in the Last 16 last season, has a star-studded roster that features most of last year’s studs along with some impressive new faces.

Benetton is a traditional European power with a mix of seasoned Euroleague veterans and some hungry newcomers that has all the tools to leave its mark. And Le Havre, which battled through the qualifying rounds to reach the regular season, brings plenty of intensity as it makes its competition debut.

Besiktas and new head coach Hakan Demir bring back only two players that saw meaningful minutes last season – reserve playmaker Mehmet Yagmur and forward Cevher Ozer – but boast some of the most seasoned players in the history of the competition. In fact, swingman Marcus Faison, big man Mario Austin and point guard Mire Chatman rank fourth, fifth and 10th, respectively, on the competition’s career scoring charts. Austin, the 2006 ULEB Cup regular season MVP, joins Adem Oren and Ozer in the paint to give balance to a dynamic perimeter attack. Chatman and Yagmur run the show, creating opportunities for Faison, Haluk Yildrim and Muratcan Guler. Benetton looks to four players with Euroleague experience to help lead its team, including center Sandro Nicevic, among Besiktas’s stars last year. Nicevic, Rado Rancik, Judson Wallace and youngster Andrea Renzi form a strong interior trio for head coach Oktay Mahmuti. Gary Neal is the No. 1 offensive weapon, with Bobby Dixon scoring and creating for others at points guard. Swingmen Domen Lorbek and Matteo Soragna are also key contributors on this talented squad.

Khimki Moscow won its first-ever trophy last season – the Russian Cup – and will look to add the Eurocup next to it on the shelf with its impressive roster. The club made worldwide headlines over the summer by signing former Euroleague stars Carlos Delfino and Jorge Garbajosa – both medallists at the recent Summer Olympic Games. However they won’t need to carry head coach Kestutis Menzura’s team that also features former ULEB Cup final MVP Kelly McCarty, defending ULEB Cup champ Jerome Moiso, dominating center Maciej Lampe, veteran playmaker Milt Palacio and budding swingman Anton Ponkrashov, among others on a squad that is destined for big things.

Le Havre joins the big boys with a hungry roster that features a number of established players. The backcourt of TJ Thompson and Fabien Causeur and big center Romain Duport return from last season’s squad that surprised many with a strong domestic campaign. Bingo Merriex and Marcus Slaughter add power inside and veterans Danny Strong and Slaven Rimac provide the experience needed to compete with the top clubs in Europe as Le Havre looks to gain respect and take a big step forward in the European scene this season.

Club Profile Links:

Benetton Basket Tamoil (http://www.euroleague.net/ulebcup/home/news/i/34172/448/item) (Italy)
Besiktas Cola Turka (http://www.euroleague.net/ulebcup/home/news/i/35552/448/item) (Turkey)
Khimki Moscow (Russia) Profile Not Available
Le Havre (http://www.euroleague.net/ulebcup/home/news/i/34491/448/item) (France)

11-21-2008, 11:23 AM
Group D: Aris BSA, Bnei HaSharon, Panellinios, Turk Telecom
Source: Euroleague.net (http://www.euroleague.net/ulebcup/home/news/i/38957/448/item)

Group D will have a distinctly Mediterranean feel with two Greek clubs, one from Turkey and another from Israel. Aris BSA 2003 returns to the competition after a few strong runs in the Euroleague, including back-to-back appearances in the Top 16 in the last two years. Aris was the ULEB Cup runner-up in 2006. Panellinios BC is back after a tough season last year, but it proved it belongs by ousting Telekom Bonn and BC Kyiv in the qualifying rounds. Turk Telekom saw its promising season cut short prematurely, but is back with many of the same players looking to go further than ever. And Bnei Eshet Tours Hasharon will make its competition debut with the same deep and determined roster that has made it one of the best teams in Israel in recent seasons.

Aris BSA 2003 and head coach Andrea Mazzon are ready to lead an assault on Group D and the Eurocup. Aris brings back three key players from last season – starting small forward Dimitris Tsaldaris, center Lazaros Agadakos and shooter Savvas Iliadis – and adds some big time talent for a new run. Spencer Nelson leads a frontcourt that includes Blagota Sekulic and Nikos Barlos, while Keydren Clark and Nikos Argyropoulos lead the charge at point guard and Sean Marshall and Anton Gavel pack plenty of punch on the wings. Once Mazzon brings these forces together, Aris has the potential for another run at the crown.

Panellinios BC is off to a strong start after plowing through Bonn and Kyiv in the qualifying rounds. Anthony Grundy and Brad Newly have proven to be a powerful combo on the wings, scoring from the perimeter and with penetration. The duo of Jurica Golemac and Ivan Radenovic has supplied points in the paint and rebounds. Veteran guard Georgios Kalitzis is a major piece thanks to his defense and leadership, while Emmanouil Papamakarios adds scoring and Djuro Ostojic brings experience and size off the bench. If Panellinios keeps its momentum going, head coach Elias Zouros has a chance to take his club to new heights.

Turk Telekom went 9-1 in the ULEB Cup regular season last year, but stumbled in the Last 32 when star forward Michael Wright was injured. Wright is back now along with Erwin Dudley and Kris Lang to give head coach Ercument Sunter a strong frontline. Kennedy Winston arrived from Euroleague force Panathinaikos to add athleticism at the small forward spot, while Rod Blakney came from Olympiacos to play point guard. Veterans Serkan Erdogan and Tutku Acik round out the backcourt of an experienced squad with the tools and the hunger to go far this season.

Bnei Hasharon comes to the Eurocup with a nice mix of youth and experience as well as defensive aces and offensive weapons. Meir Tapiro, one of only three players to record a triple-double in ULEB Cup history, teams with former ULEB Cup champ Erez Katz to give the club a strong foundation in the backcourt. The athletic Ori Ichaki and seasoned swingman Cookie Belcher combine to give head coach Ariel Beit Halachmi what he needs at the guard spots. Rookie Richard Roby is a lethal scorer at small forward, while two more first-year players, Haminn Quantance and Shawn James, team with veteran shot-blocking ace Ousmane Cisse to give the club incredible rebounding and defensive power in the paint.

Club Profile Links:

Aris BSA (http://www.euroleague.net/ulebcup/home/news/i/36049/448/item) (Greece)
Bnei HaSharon (http://www.euroleague.net/ulebcup/home/news/i/35565/448/item) (Israel)
Panellinios (http://www.euroleague.net/item/33999) (Greece)
Turk Telecom (http://www.euroleague.net/ulebcup/home/news/i/34891/448/item) (Turkey)

11-22-2008, 08:10 PM
Group E: ASVEL Basket, Azovmash Mariupol, Kalise Gran Canaria, Lietuvos Rytas
Source: Euroleague.net (http://www.euroleague.net/ulebcup/home/news/i/38961/448/item)

Four teams with impressive European track records will battle it out in an evenly matched Group E, which could wind up being the most exciting of the eight Eurocup regular season groups this year. All four advanced at least one stage in their respective competitions last season. Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius was a Euroleague participant, winning its regular season group and coming within one victory of the Quarterfinal Playoffs. Kalise Gran Canaria won its ULEB Cup regular season group and reached the Last 16 before bowing out, while Asvel Basket finished second to Gran Canaria in that same group and went to the Last 32. Ukrainian champion Azovmash Mariupol won five of six to finish the regular season and also reach the Last 32. This time around, only two of these teams will be able to play on after January and it could go to the last game before we know which two.

Lietuvos Rytas is arguably the best team in the history of this competition. The powerhouse from Lithuania was the ULEB Cup champion in 2005 and reached the title game in 2007. Four players on the current roster took part in that final and seven are back from last year’s team, with veteran head coach Antanas Sireika now on the sidelines. The duo of Matt Nielsen and Marijona Petravicius anchor the team inside, with the dependable Donatas Zavackas and developing big men Michailis Anisimovas and Milko Bjelica bringingplenty of power off the bench. Small forward Chuck Eidson is one of the team’s most important players, teaming well with Arturas Jomantas and Mindaugas Lukauskis on the wings, while Branko Milisavljevic and Marius Prekevicius split time at point guard. With even more young talent waiting in the wings, L. Rytas has the squad to reach far one more time. Kalise Gran Canaria is also a veteran of the competition and over the course of time has managed to go far thanks in part to its tremendous home-court advantage. Head coach Salvador Maldonado has developed a winner in part due to keeping many players together for a long time. In fact, six return from last year’s squad.

Gran Canaria is quite deep in the paint this year with Joel Freeland, Sitapha Savane, Daniel Kickert and Albert Moncasi. Carl English leads a backcourt that features Marcus Norris and Josh Fisher, while Melvin Sanders, Jim Moran and James Augustine team up on the wings. The combination of continuity, depth, a super home-court advantage and of course talent could spell another long run for Gran Canaria.

Azovmash Mariupol can look to a pair of Euroleague studs to lead its charge as it looks to confirm its status as a rising European power. With Alphonso Ford Top Scorer Trophy winner Marc Salyers at forward and two-time Euroleague champ Tomas Van den Spiegel at center, Azovmash has cornerstones to build on. Playmaker Khalid El-Amin adds leadership and plenty of explosive play from the point guard spot, while Panagiotis Liadelis, Tomas Delinikaitis and Aleksandar Capin can fill the baskets alongside him. Serhiy Lishchuk should compliment Van den Spigel at center with forwards Uchenna Nsomwu and Dijon Thompson rounding out a solid frontcourt that give the fans in Mariupol plenty to be optimistic about.

Traditional French power Asvel Basket has an experienced squad that will look to restore the club to greatness. Asvel lacks size, but more than makes up for that with speed and athleticism. Ali Traore, Eric Campbell and Chevy Troutman and Amara Sy make up a veteran frontline, while Laurent Foirest and Aymeric Jeanneau solidify a backcourt that includes explosive scorer J.R. Reynolds and sharpshooter Ben Dewar. That crew, under the guidance of head coach Vincent Collet, should be one worth watching this season.

Club Profile Links:

Asvel Basket (http://www.euroleague.net/ulebcup/home/news/i/34919/448/item) (France)
Azovmash Mariupol (http://www.euroleague.net/ulebcup/home/news/i/36049/448/item) (Ukraine)
Kalise Gran Canaria (http://www.euroleague.net/ulebcup/home/news/i/34524/448/item) (Spain)
Lietuvos Rytas (http://www.euroleague.net/ulebcup/home/news/i/35915/448/item) (Lithuania)

11-23-2008, 07:49 PM
Group F: Brose Baskets, Red Star, Spirou Basket, Turow Zgorzelec
Source: Euroleague.net (http://www.euroleague.net/ulebcup/home/news/i/38962/448/item)

Four teams with plenty of recent success will look for more this season in Eurocup regular season Group F. PGE Turow Zgorzelec of Poland made its European debut last season a smashing one by advancing all the way to the ULEB Cup Final Eight. The team that finally stopped Turow’s run was Dynamo Moscow, coached by the current BC Red Star head coach, Svetislav Pesic. Red Star is loaded with rising stars that helped the club go to last year’s Last 16. Brose Baskets Bamberg was in the Euroleague last season and still has a handful of those players back for its Eurocup run. And Belgian champion Spirou Charleroi is one of the original ULEB Cup teams and boasts one of its signature players in Andre Riddick, who is the competition’s all-time leader in rebounds, steals and blocked shots.

PGE Turow was the Cinderella story of last season’s ULEB Cup, but unfortunately that success saw many of the more familiar faces move on. However head coach Saso Filipovski is back with a squad that has a chance to duplicate that success. Reserves Iwo Kitzinger and Robert Witka are the two players that carry the torch from last season, but they are joined by some talented new faces. Centers John Turek and Darian Townes form a formidable tandem in the paint along with power forward Chris Daniels, while Donald Copeland and Damir Miljkovic balance them with their three-point shooting. Playmaker Bryan Bailey helps run the show and if all goes according to plan, Turow may continue its accent to the upper echelon of European club.

Brose Baskets Bamberg of Germany has a new look this year, despite bringing back four key contributors from last year. Filiberto Rivera and Michael Jordan share the point guard spot next to shooting guards Demond Greene and Robert Garrett. Predrag Suput, Jared Newson and Eric Taylor fill the forward spots, while Alexander Johnson and budding star Tim Ohlbrecht man the paint. New head coach Chris Fleming, the architect of Artland Dragons recent success, will guide this squad from the sidelines as Bamberg takes aim at another special season.

Red Star has one of its strongest rosters in years with a host of homegrown talent, some key imported additions and a coaching great on the sidelines. Forward Tadija Dragicevic is the undeniable star of the team, but he has plenty of support around him. Marko Keselj, Elmedin Kikanovic, Vladimir Stimac and Lawrence Roberts provide plenty of force inside that, joining Dragicevic for a deep and talented frontline. Playmaker Marko Marinovic and shooting guard Andre Owens form the starting backcourt with Boris Bakic spelling them off the bench. With Pesic around to make up for his players’ lack of big game experience, Red Star could be at the start of a golden era.

Belgian champion Spirou Charleroi has a veteran squad with some players that have played together for some time. The trio of Justin Hamilton, Jerry Johnson and Gerrit Major handles the playmaking duties, while Jonathan Tabu, Dwayne Broyles and Pankracije Barac share time on the wings. Meanwhile a frontline of Riddick, Wes Wilkinson, Mladen Sekularac and Len Matela provides head coach Drazen Anzulovic with plenty of depth and experience. All told, the chemistry and talents on this team could bring Spirou deep into the Eurocup this season.

Club Profile Links:

Brose Baskets (http://www.euroleague.net/ulebcup/home/news/i/35620/448/item) (Germany)
Red Star (http://www.euroleague.net/ulebcup/home/news/i/34402/448/item) (Serbia)
Spirou Basket (http://www.euroleague.net/ulebcup/home/news/i/35778/448/item) Belgium
Turow Zgorzelec (http://www.euroleague.net/ulebcup/home/news/i/34939/448/item) (Poland)

11-24-2008, 11:52 PM
Group F: Artland Dragons, BC FMP, Fortitudo Bologna, Pamesa Valencia
Source: EurocupBasketball.com (http://www.eurocupbasketball.com/ulebcup/home/news/i/38963/448)

Competition is set to be tough in Group G, with four deep, experience teams ready to face each other. Every game will count in this group, with traditional and up-and-coming teams. Original ULEB Cup champion Pamesa Valencia reached the Final Eight last season and returns with the same core of players ready to reach even higher this year. Fortitudo Bologna did not reach the ULEB Cup elimination rounds last season and is now hoping to bounce back with an improved roster. Fortitudo made it to the Euroleague final in 2004, its best result in European competitions, losing against Maccabi Tel Aviv. Artland Dragons is one of the fastest rising teams in European basketball, as it went out of nowhere to reach the 2007 German League finals and win the German Cup last season. Last but not last, BC FMP has the biggest run in Europe's second club competition and survived the elimination rounds, downing mighty Ural Great in the process. As one of the best farmyard clubs in Europe, FMP will be flooded with young talent ready to step up big in the Eurocup scenario.

Pamesa won the ULEB Cup title in 2003, reached the semifinals in 2005 and made it to the Final Eight last season. The club kept playmakers Vule Avdalovic and Shammond Williams, former ULEB Cup final MVP Ruben Douglas, up-and-coming forward Victor Claver or center Albert Miralles as its core of players. Pamesa renewed its froncourt with the addition of Kosta Perovic, Ermal Kuqo and Florent Pietrus, as well as finding a talented swingman in Rafa Martinez. As usual, Pamesa will be a major candidate to reach the Final Four and even go further. Fortitudo has a new star in Qyntel Woods, an incredible athlete with outstanding driving skills. Left-handed homegrown forward Stefano Mancinelli, combo guard Joseph Forte or playmaker Marcelo Huertas will share most minutes at all backcourt spots, whil Fortitudo also signed a battery of big men featuring Dalibor Bagaric, Kieron Achara and three-point threat Uros Slokar. Once Fortitudo undergoes an adjustment period, it will become a very tough team to beat.

Artland has always relied on American players to build up a competitive rosters. Its main players are scoring ace Adam Hess, playmaker Lamont McIntosh and center Darren Fenn, who offers rebounds, mid-range shots and post skills. Guard Will Blalock, experienced big man Darius Hall, center Chad Prewitt and scoring guard Zack Whiting round the core of a team in which its most important German player, Dirk Madrich, plays a key role off the bench. Artland counts on its athleticism and up-tempo game to beat the expectations and advance to the Last 16. As in every season, FMP lost some key players but is ready to bring in up-and-coming replacements right away. Over the last five years, players like Dejan Milojevic, Ognjen Askrabic, Ivan Zoroski, Milos Teodosic, Marko Marinovic, Zoran Erceg, Dusko Savanovic or Milan Macvan. None of them is with FMP in the 2008-09 season, but the club have a new franchise player in power forward Dragan Labovic. He leads a young talented team in which players like Filip Covic, Predrag Samardziski, Nemanja Protic, Mladen Jeremic or Miroslav Raduljica. Teen sensations Dejan Musli and Andreja Milutinovic will be key players for FMP in the very near future.

Club Profile Links:
Artland Dragons (http://www.euroleague.net/ulebcup/home/news/i/34959/448/item) (Germany)
BC FMP (http://www.euroleague.net/ulebcup/home/news/i/34122/448/item) (Serbia)
Fortutido Bologna (http://www.euroleague.net/ulebcup/home/news/i/35641/448/item) (Italy)
Pamesa Valencia (http://www.euroleague.net/ulebcup/home/news/i/35959/448/item) (Spain)

11-25-2008, 04:30 AM
Group H: CEZ Nymburk, Hemofarm Stada, iurbentia Bilbao, KK Buducnost
Source: EurocupBasketball.com (http://www.eurocupbasketball.com/ulebcup/home/news/i/38967/448)

Group H is expected to be one of the most balanced ones in the Eurocup regular season, as all four teams had solid starts in their respective domestic competitions and have all options to make it to the Last 16. Hemofarm Stada of Serbia is a modern classic in Europe's second competition, as it reached the ULEB Cup semifinals in 2005 and 2006. Perennial Montenegrin League champion Buducnost reached Group H through the qualifying rounds and hopes to take revenge of its defeat against Hemofarm in the Last 32 two-way round last season. Both Hemofarm and Buducnost rely on a group of homegrown players to reach deep in the Eurocup this season. Czech powerhouse CEZ Basketball Nymburk reached the elimination rounds last season, breaking all existing ULEB Cup home attendance records last season. Nymburk hopes to use that experience to advance to the next round, too. Meanwhile, iurbentia Bilbao Basket is a newcomer to European club competitions with well-rounded, experienced players who are used to play with each other. Those that underestimate Bilbao Basket will pay a high price for that.

Hemofarm has kept a base of players that have been together for several seasons, with sharp shooter Nebojsa Joksimovic and center Vladan Vukosavljevic as its main references in offense. Milan Macvan is set to play a major role, as he is set to become one of the best power forwards in Europe. Rebounding ace Milovoje Bozovic, up-and-coming guard Stefan Markovic, experienced forward Bojan Krstovic and playmaker Miljan Pavkovic. Hemofarm also has big hopes on 222cm center Boban Marjanovic, too. Buducnost also has opted to give playing time to its youngest talents, who have immediately delivered at the beginning of this season. As such, its new franchise player is power forward Vladimir Dasic, a 20-year old talent ready to prove his value in the Eurocup. Small forward Vladimir Micov and defensive centers Nenad Misanovic will be the main pillars of their team, along with Dasic. Nemanja Gordic, Marko Simonovic, Ivan Maras, Nikola Otasevic or Milos Bojovic round a deep, solid roster that may well become the surprise team in the Eurocup this season.

Nymburk shocked everyone in the ULEB Cup last season and despite losing franchise forward Rado Rancik, it managed to land well-rounded veteran Goran Jagodnik, a former Hemofarm forward who can score in many ways. Jagodnik is Nymburk's major addition, as the club managed to keep most of the main players it had last season. As such, sharp shooter Blake Schilb, big man Petr Benda, small forward Ladislav Sokolovsky, playmaker Arthur Lee or swingman Michal Kremen. With sellout crowds in its home games in Pardubice and one year of experience on its back, Nymburk is stronger than it has ever been. Bilbao Basket comes off an outstanding season, in which it reached the Spanish League playoffs and the Spanish King's Cup semifinals. Bilbao Basket has the complete package. Javi Salgado and Janis Blums are solid choices at point guard. The club has offers like battery of sharp shooters like Luke Recker, Quincy Lewis, Predrag Savovic and Reinaldas Seibutis, as well as a deep frontcourt with defensive centers Fred Weis and Salva Guardia or star forward Marko Banic. Bilbao Basket has always been a very ambitious club that went from the Spanish third division to the ACB playoffs in record time. Its first Eurocup appearance is another step forwards for the club.

Club Profile Links:
CEZ Nymburk (http://www.euroleague.net/ulebcup/home/news/i/35648/448/item) (Czech Republic)
Hemofarm Stada (http://www.euroleague.net/ulebcup/home/news/i/36011/448/item) (Serbia)
iurbentia Bilbao (http://www.euroleague.net/ulebcup/home/news/i/34987/448/item) (Spain)
KK Buducnost (http://www.euroleague.net/ulebcup/home/news/i/34355/448/item) (Montenegro)