Turkish Airlines Euroleague
May 19, 2013
bwin Euroleague Fantasy Challenge
Tel Aviv 2004
Qualifying Rounds 2012
NIKE International Junior Tournament
CHAMPS CHOOSE: Alessandro Abbio, Virtus Bologna
MORE CHAMPS CHOICES:
Gur Shelef, Maccabi Tel Aviv
Rodrigo de la Fuente, FC Barcelona
Alessandro Abbio, Virtus Bologna
Zakhar Pashutin, CSKA Moscow
Johnny Rogers, Panathinaikos
Two-time Euroleague champion Alessandro Abbio will go down in history as the first player to lift the trophy following the first full Euroleague season of a new century, something he did as the captain of a start-studded Kinder Bologna squad in 2001. Abbio, then in his prime, helped Kinder outlast Tau Ceramica in the fifth game of their playoff finals to become the first champs of the new Euroleague. He averaged 10.2 points in the title series and was sorely missed, a year later due to injury, when Kinder tried to repeat but lost at home in a single-game final. After leaving Bologna, Abbio continued to prosper, winning the first ULEB Cup crown in 2003 with Pamesa Valencia despite having been injured late in that season, too. Previously, Abbio had won his first Euroleague crown with Kinder in 1998, not to mention the European Championship gold medal with Italy in 1999.
First of all, fill us in on your career after playing and how you keep involved in basketball?
"I teach mini basket, and that was my wish when I was playing, too. I would like to keep teaching kids in the future, but not kids older than 15 or 16. I loved to play to enjoy myself, and I don't think I can do the same being a coach, although I like to teach kids."
What kind of criteria do you, as an ex-player, apply to choosing an all-decade team like this?
"I used a simple criteria: I chose players whom I played against and whom I know very well as players and as persons. All of them could be good examples for all the youngsters who are starting to play basketball now, but also for established players."
What is your own biggest Euroleague memory thinking back on the last decade?
"My best Euroleague memory has been the 2000-01 season, when we won a triple crown. It was a new competition, with a new formula, an outstanding final series of five games with Tau Vitoria, and we won the fifth and final game in front of our home crowd. It was something special that I lived through as captain of Virtus Bologna, with impressive teammates and a great coach. It also was the season with the semifinals against Fortitudo Bologna, which was something incredible for Bologna, with two teams in the same series."
Finally, as someone whose career started in Turin, how do you about the city being chosen to host the 2011 Final Four?
"I'm very happy because I have great memories of the six seasons I spent playing in Turin. To organize this kind of event means also that basketball is back in the city and I hope also the local team will be back at the top level very soon. After the big experience of the Olympics something changed in Turin, and they are trying to organize big events of culture and sports, to have people visit from all over Europe to see a very interesting city with big history and great monuments. It will be a great moment for local basketball fans and for all the people will come to visit the city."
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
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