Neptunas Klaipeda, Estrella Roja, Valencia Basket, Galatasaray and Olympiacos will be the rivals for Baskonia in the First Round.
The European show is back at the Buesa Arena for another year. A new promising edition of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague kicks off on Wednesday at 20:30. Our first rival, the competition rookie Neptunas Klaipeda will be for sure a tough contender for the pupils of Marco Crespi.
The show is ready to go and we take on this First Round with lots of illusion. We will face in our group great teams and with the same objective as ours, getting to the Top 16 during the following weeks.
Group D: Laboral Kutxa Baskonia, Olympiacos, Galatasaray, Estrella Roja, Neptunas Klaipeda and Valencia Basket.
First rival: Neptunas Klaipeda
A complete stranger in the competition, but not less dangerous for that. The Lithuanian team makes his debut this year in the Euroleague even though they disputed the Eurocup last year.
They have 11 Lithuanian players and just one American on their roster. The last one is well known in Vitoria. Mustafa Shakur will come back on Wednesday to the Buesa Arena after playing for Baskonia in the 2008-2009 season. Neptunas Klaipeda celebrates 50 years and will try to take advantage and give an opportunity to the players of the city of Klaipeda, apart from other Lithuanian players.
The Greek colossus: Olympiacos
Not much presentation needed for one of the historic participants of the competition. Once again, the Greeks get in the way of Baskonia this time in the first round and without their last coach, Bartzokas, who resigned after losing the Greek Cup. The team follows the line of last year with experienced players. In addition, it has made great signings such as Darden and Lafayette, who add to the quality of the roster.
Olympiacos features one of the most extensive and complete rosters of the competition. Leaded by the genius Spanoulis are used to set the tone of the game wherever they play.
Galatasaray, quality and seniority
They already demonstrated last year that they can be a tough contender by getting to the Top 8. They’ll be the second rival to visit the Buesa Arena in this season in which they keep the core of the group that put in trouble quite a lot of the greatest teams last year.
They feature great players with lots of experience. Arroyo will be once again the leader of the Turkish that have overcome the loss of players with great signings such as Pocius or Gonlum.
Valencia Basket, again in the fight for the Euroleague
The team coached by Velimir Perasovic will come back to the Euroleague after conquering the last Eurocup. The Valencian team will receive Baskonia in the fourth week at the Fonteta. Valencia has been able to maintain some of the important players that made last year success possible.
Even though they lost last year’s MVP Justin Doellman or another great player such as Lafayette, they have managed to reinforce their roster in various positions. The pupils of Marco Crespi will have to face players such as Vives, Loncar, Van Rossom, Lischuk or Harangody.
Estrella Roja, a rival to close out the First Round
The Serbian team will be the rival to close out the First Round of the Euroleague. A well-known by Baskonia, they already faced Estrella Roja in the same round last year. The team coached by the Montenegrin Radonjic counts with quality players that will be very tough to beat at home.
Players such as Nikola Rebic, Marcus Williams, Branko Lazic or Charles Jenkins will put in trouble more than one team during this edition.