FIBA Europe Cup: Group B preview
MUNICH (FIBA Europe Cup) - The second of our group-by-group previews of all FIBA Europe Cup teams takes you to Group B, which includes teams from Belgium, France, Hungary and the Netherlands.
Incidentally, the two teams in the group with FIBA Europe Cup experience actually faced each other last season as well. Donar Groningen (NED) and Kormend (HUN) have been drawn into the same Regular Season group for the second year running.
Having shared a victory each, neither team made it past the First Round of competition unfortunately and will be hoping for better results this year.
Dutch champs Donar return for another try
Having reclaimed the Dutch Basketball League (DBL) trophy last season, Donar Groningen returns to the FIBA Europe Cup with aspirations of improving on last year’s result and advancing to the Second Round of the competition.
Talking about the domestic championship, Donar finished the Regular Season in third position, but knocked out both of the higher-seeded teams on the way to a fifth national title in the club’s history.
After joining the club only in January last year, Lance Jeter made a huge impact in the post-season and picked up the DBL Play-Offs MVP award. Naturally, retaining the American point guard was among the most important tasks the club accomplished over the summer.
Often referred to as the club with the most fans in the Netherlands, Donar will not be an easy opponent for any of their Group B rivals, especially when they play at home in the rocking MartiniPlaza.
Kormend reshuffle the deck for new season
Three-time Hungarian champions Kormend were a staple in the FIBA EuroChallenge and are now returning to the FIBA Europe Cup for the second season in a row after a First Round exit last year.
Despite the fact Kormend might not be the hot commodity in Hungarian basketball at the moment, the team has enjoyed reasonable success since the foundation of the club in 1962.
Historically, the club has been more successful in knock-out competitions, with the club’s trophy cabinet proudly displaying seven domestic cups, including the one won last season after defeating eventual Hungarian champions Szolnoki Olaj in the title game.
It was the first trophy for the club since winning the national championship in 2003, despite quite a few second and third place finishes in both domestic competitions.
However, Kormend could not overcome their opponents from Szolnok, when their paths crossed once more in the Hungarian league Semi-Finals. As consolation, coach Teo Cizmic’s side did win the bronze-medal series against Atomeromu.
Cizmic stayed in charge of Kormend, but reshuffled the deck when it comes to the roster, keeping only a handful of players from last season, namely Parrish Petty, who averaged 15.4 points per game in the Hungarian League.
Limburg United continue astronomic climb in FIBA Europe Cup
Founded merely two seasons ago in 2014, Limburg United’s astronomic ascent has already landed them a spot in the FIBA Europe Cup, where the young Belgian side will be testing international waters for the first time.
With sights set on making the club a power in Belgian basketball, they have handed over the keys to former Antwerp Giants assistant Brian Lynch, who was given a five-year time frame to build from the bottom up.
After reaching the Belgian Basketball League Quarter-Finals in their debut in 2014-15, Limburg United improved on the result last season. Having made the Semi-Final round, coach Lynch’s team gave Regular Season winners and eventual champions Telenet Oostende a scare by stretching the series to five games.
As a new club and a growing organisation, Limburg United is definitely on the right track and could surprise quite a few people in the team’s maiden FIBA Europe Cup campaign.
Return to international basketball for BCM Gravelines
One of four French sides in the FIBA Europe Cup, BCM Gravelines will debut in the FIBA Europe Cup, marking the club’s return to the international basketball stage after a two-year absence.
Having missed the French LNB Pro A Play-Offs on two previous occasions, the team got another taste of the post-season in 2015-16, but lost the Quarter-Final series against Le Mans Sarthe Basket.
Experienced coach Christian Monschau, who has been at helm since 2008, has always been known for a physical and athletic brand of basketball and has had reasonable success with it over the years, leading his side to two LNB Leader Cup victories back in 2011 and 2013.
Also in the club’s trophy case is the French Cup from 2005 and the LNB Pro B title from way back in 1988.
Gravelines, who are known for the great atmosphere in their home court Sportica, will undoubtedly will be one of the favourites to advance from Group B, led primarily by the talented duo of Justin Cobbs and Steven Gray.