Avellino will join the ranks of the European basketball elite this season when it plays in the Euroleague for the first time. After the best season in the club’s history, during which the trio of Marques Green, Devin Smith and Eric Williams led Air Avellino to its first title ever, the Italian Cup, as well as a tie for the second-best record in the Italian League and a spot in the semifinals, the team will actually make its European club competition debut at the highest possible level. The club was founded some 60 years ago in 1948 as the Felice Scandone Sports Society and then merged with Libertas Avellino two years later. CSI-Cestistica Irpina also joined forces with the club in 1966. Avellino was promoted and relegated multiple times between 1974 and 1995, when it settled in the Series B-1. After only two seasons, head coach Gianluca Tucci guided the team to the Serie A-2 league, after beating Bergamo, coached by the legendary Carlo Recalcati, in the playoffs. The turn of the millennium was the start of a new era for Avellino basketballa s the club advanced to Italy’s top league for the first time. After a successful debut season in which the team placed ninth, the difficulty of the strong Italian League took its toll. In the ensuing seasons, Avellino would finish the regular season placed 14, 15, 16 and 12, with Zare Markovski coaching the team for the last three of those seasons. In 2006, Markovski left and the club dropped to 17th and into the relegation zone, however was saved thanks to the inability of Roseto Basket, which had earned promotion, to assume its place at the top level. Veteran coach Matteo Boniciolli took ever after that and after keeping the team out of relegation two years ago, formed the side that would take Italy by surprise last season. Avellino was the toast of Italian basketball, reaching the TIM Cup Final Eight for the first time.
Once there, the team made itself at home, beating La Fortezza 67-73 in the final as Smith scored 18 points on 6-for-8 three-point shooting and was named MVP. That victory seemed to make the team even stronger in the second half of the season as Green shined in earning league MVP honors. Together the club finished 23-11 and matched Lottomatica Roma for the second-best record in the league behind only Montepaschi. Sweeping Capo d'Orlando in the playoff quarterfinals and reaching the semis for the first time would prove to be the result needed to secure a Euroleague berth. Roma would prove to be too strong in the semifinals, but even the 0-3 loss could not put a damper on a historic season. Now comes the new challenge of proving itself again, something the players and fans of Air Avellino air ready for.