Prokom Trefl Sopot, returning to the Euroleague for the third consecutive year as Polish League champion, aims to stake its claim as a continental challenger in 2006-07. Prokom has built arguably its strongest squad yet for the new season. The team retained last year's core players and coach Eugeniusz Kijewski added some top-notch free agents, which should be enough to see Prokom try for another appearance in the Top 16 and perhaps become the first Polish team to reach the Quarterfinal Playoffs. With four of its top six scorers and two of the top three rebounders back, the additions of center Huseyin Besok, sharpshooter Donatas Slanina, forward Jasmin Hukic and playmaker Justin Hamilton could make Prokom a force to be reckoned with. Moreover, the fact that returning guards Tomas Pacesas and Christian Dalmau accounted for over 40 percent of the team's assists last year may also play big role in developing the chemistry needed to become a Euroleague contender. After reaching the Top 16 in its inaugural Euroleague campaign in 2004-05, Prokom missed out by just one victory last season. This time around, Kijewski's side figures to be strong on defense as always, but features mobile big men, tons of fire power at the wings and athletic point guards, making Prokom more offensive-oriented than in the recent past.
One of those newcomers, Hamilton, figures to be Kijewski's floor general. He boasts outstanding athletic skills that have helped to earn his reputation as one of the best defensive guards in Europe. He will have plenty of running mates in the backcourt. Rashid Atkins joined Prokom midway through last season and helped boost the team to its third straight domestic title, while perennial starter Pacesas and Dalmau, who can play at both guard spots, will also take turns handling the ball.
While that foursome can all score, they'll also be on the lookout for Slanina, a dead-eyed shooter making his return to the, as well as Jeff Noordgard and Hukic, both well-seasoned pros. All three of them provide points in bunches from the perimeter.
Besok will help anchor both the offense and defense in the paint, using his size to intimidate and block shots at one end, his skills to nail turnaround jumpers and to drop hook shots over defenders at the other. He can expect help on the glass from crowd favorite Adam Wojcik, who at age 36 is still the best Polish power forward in the game. That’s not to mention always explosive Filip Dylewicz, and Tomas Masiulis, versatile enough to have come within a couple assists of a triple-double in a Euroleague game last season. Fearless center Michael Andersen will make sure that Besok gets as much rest as necessary.
Having already broken through to the Top 16 once, the first Polish team to accomplish that feat, Prokom has certainly carved a niche as a consistently tough team to beat in the Euroleague. That is true especially at home, with the support of the passionate fans at Olivia Sport Halle. This season, the club is clearly making a push toward even better results. With its depth of proven talent on both ends of the floor, Prokom is a candidate to make the 2006-07 season a special one to remember in Sopot.