Turkish Airlines Euroleague
March 08, 2014
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AXA F.C. Barcelona lands passing wizard Sanchez
August 13, 2007
Its second major signing in a matter of days saw AXA F.C. Barcelona add former Euroleague champion Pepe Sanchez at point guard over the weekend. Sanchez (192, 30) moves to Barcelona from further south in Malaga, Spain, where his heroics helped lift Unicaja to its first Final Four last season. Sanchez averaged 7 points and 2.9 assists in 21 minutes per game for Unicaja last season, but his numbers belie his influence as one of the most creative passers in the world, especially at the ends of games. Sanchez is a reigning Olympic champion, having won the gold medal in 2004 as Argentina's starting point guard. He had been World Championships runner-up the previous summer, 2003, and had won the Euroleague with Panathinaikos in 2002, his first season on the continent. As such, Sanchez is among the few players ever to win an Olympic gold medal and a Euroleague title. Sanchez was a key factor as Unicaja climbed to the elite of Europe the last three seasons by winning its first Spanish King's Cup and first Spanish League title. Last season, his last-second assist and three-point shot in consecutive games saved Unicaja from being eliminated during the Euroleague regular season, after which the team soared to the 2007 Final Four in Athens, where it finished third. Earlier, Sanchez enjoyed a successful NCAA career at Temple University before playing for Philadelphia and Detroit of the NBA.
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