There are plenty of reasons to believe that Spartak St. Petersburg is one of the top candidates to win the 2012-13 Eurocup. Spartak comes off a really strong Eurocup campaign in which the team went all the way from the Qualifying Round to the Finals with a fantastic 15-1 record. Patrick Beverley earned 2011-12 Eurocup MVP honors and Jure Zdovc was chosen as the Coach of the Year but Spartak stepped down in the semifinals with a close loss against BC Khimki. A fifth-place finish in Russia and a trip to the VTB League quarterfinals rounded a good season for the club, which will open a brand new arena later on this year. Founded in 1935, Spartak is one of the oldest basketball clubs in Europe. Spartak competed in the Soviet Union championship in 1937 and overcame years of obscurity to return to the competition in 1958. It remained in that country's first division from 1960 until the end of the Soviet Union in 1991. The club enjoyed its golden age in the 1970s, starting with a third-place finish in the 1969 Soviet championship. With the late Aleksandr Belov as its superstar and players like Yuri Shtukin, Yuri Pavlov, Leonid Ivanov and Aleksandr Bolshakov complementing him, Spartak reached the 1971 Cup Winners' Cup final, but lost against Simmenthal Milano. It bounced back by lifting the trophy in 1973 and 1975 after downing Jugoplastika Split and Crvena Zvezda, respectively. Spartak also won the 1975 Soviet League and reached the final six other times between 1970 and 1978. Spartak lifted the Soviet Cup in 1987 and the CIS Championship in 1992. The club roared back from a quiet period in 2008-09 by finishing fourth in the Russian League – its highest ranking since 1993 - behind strong performances from Andrew Wisniewski and Yahor Meshcharakou. Spartak made its Eurocup debut in 2009-10, but a last-second overtime loss against Bilbao Basket prevented Spartak from reaching the Last 16. In 2010-11, Spartak reached the Russian League playoffs and the EuroChallenge final four with leaders like Henry Domercant, Anton Ponkrashov and Beverley. Spartak signed coach Zdovc, Yotam Halperin, Loukas Mavrokefalidis, Vladimir Dragicevic and Valery Likhodey, among others, and had a sudden impact in the Eurocup, collecting 11 consecutive wins against teams like Cedevita, Benetton, Bayern Munich or Buducnost to get to the Finals. Spartak has all it takes - talent, experience, arena, ambition - to reach even higher next season.