Devotion
by: Javier Gancedo, Euroleague.net
November 19, 2014
Deividas Gailius - Neptunas Klaipeda - EB14_61914
Neptunas Klaipeda has been one of the most pleasant surprises in the 2014-15 Turkish Airlines Euroleague. The debutant has been very competitive in Group D, especially at home, where it beat Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade and Eurocup champion Valencia Basket and lost in overtime against mighty Olympiacos Piraeus. Not bad for a newcomer that had no previous Euroleague or Eurocup experience just two years ago. Neptunas has opted to sign players who either played for Neptunas in the past or were born in Klaipeda; as many as nine of its players are familiar with the team in some way. One of them is scoring guard Deividas Gailius, who just like his club, is making his Euroleague debut with Neptunas this season. Gailius leads Neptunas in scoring (14 ppg.) and shined last week with 19 points, including consecutive dunks that stopped a Valencia comeback. Gailius is happy to be back home and feels he belongs at this level, as he told us in this interview. "It is the strongest league in Europe, but I don't feel like I am new here. I feel good in this league and I think I tried to show what I can do," Gailius told Euroleague.net. "We have a good group of players and a very good coach. Everything is nice here. I am happy to be home, playing the Euroleague." more
by: Javier Gancedo, Euroleague.net
November 11, 2014
Andrey Vorontsevich - CSKA Moscow - EB14_61504
CSKA Moscow leads Group B and is one of four undefeated teams in the competition with four wins in as many games. Despite battling injuries since the start of the season, CSKA has been rock-solid as the core of players who have been together for many years have taken care of business. No player has played more consecutive years for the Russian powerhouse than power forward Andrey Vorontsevich, who is enjoying a stellar role this season. With Victor Khryapa and Demetris Nichols sidelined early, Vorontsevich stepped up big, averaging 9.3 points on 80% two-point shooting, 6.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.3 blocks in four games. His performance index rating average (16.8) is bettered only by Milos Teodosic (19.3). Vorontsevich has entered the prime of his career at age 27 in his ninth season with the club. He was just 20 when CSKA won its last Euroleague title in Madrid 2008. With the Final Four going back to the Spanish capital, Vorontsevich knows what is needed to go all the way, but is cautious about it. Togetherness is the key, as he explained in this Euroleague.net interview. "If we play really great defense – and we can do that – we can do it. We need all of our players to win the championship. Not one, two, five players, all 15 in the team have to help us win the title," Vorontsevich told Euroleague.net. "We need to support each other, help and understand each other, stay together no matter how we play. It will be easier for us if we stay together." more
by: Javier Gancedo, Euroleague.net
November 5, 2014
Vassilis Spanoulis - Olympiacos Piraeus - EB14_60847
Good things don't come by accident and Vassilis Spanoulis, the bwin MVP for October, is a good example for that. After winning back-to-back Turkish Airlines Euroleague titles with Olympiacos Piraeus, Spanoulis could not lead his team to any trophies last season and injuries prevented him from helping the Greek national team at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup. Spanoulis bounced back in style and started to prepare for the season with individual workouts 20 days before Olympiacos opened its training camp. He has been simply unstoppable so far; Spanoulis was the decisive factor in the Reds' road wins in Valencia and Klaipeda, where he had a career-high 34 points against Neptunas. In short, Spanoulis had everything to do with Olympiacos holding a 3-0 record and sitting alone atop regular season Group D – and he remains as ambitious as always. The feeling of winning three Euroleague titles motivates him to keep going, as he told us in this Euroleague.net interview. "I cannot describe the feeling of winning the Euroleague, being on top of Europe... I cannot compare it to anything, it is unbelievable," Spanoulis told Euroleague.net. "Every time you win it, you feel proud of your teammates, your club, your administration." more
by: Javier Gancedo, Euroleague.net
October 29, 2014
Alex Abrines - FC Barcelona - EB14
Following a successful Euroleague Asia Tour, FC Barcelona has gotten off to a great start to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague season. Barcelona downed FC Bayern Munich 84-82 in an outstanding game and then went on to defeat difficult EA7 Emporio Armani Milan 63-78 in bouncing back from some bad memories at Mediolanum Forum. One of its pillars has been shooting guard Alex Abrines, who is slowly but steadily taking over as one of the leaders in this team. Abrines leads Barcelona in scoring (14 ppg.) and has been deadly from all distances, hitting 4-of-5 two-point shots and 5-of-8 attempts from downtown. In two years, Abrines has almost doubled his playing time - from 11 to 20 minutes per game - is playing with great confidence and determination and facing some the best players, which has helped him develop more and more, as he explained in this Euroleague.net interview. "The fact that you play two games a week and feel more and more important in this team helps a lot," Abrines told Euroleague.net. "You learn a lot in practice, but where you learn the most is competing against the best players, and those are in the Euroleague." more