2011-12 Team Profile: Montepaschi Siena

Aug 09, 2011 by Euroleague.net Print
Montepaschi Siena
2010-11 Results
Euroleague
Regular Season:
8-2
Top 16:
4-2
Playoffs:
3-1
Final Four:
3rd Place
Italian League:
Champion
Italian Cup:
Champion
After a season that was expected to be transitional but produced the team’s fourth Final Four appearance in nine years, Montepaschi Siena heads into the 2011-12 Turkish Airlines Euroleague with plenty of good momentum to build upon. Siena’s third-place finish in the Euroleague, its record fifth consecutive Italian League crown and its third straight Italian Cup title made last season arguably the best in club history. Those successes were even more meaningful for the fact that Siena had lost four starters the previous summer and suffered key injuries in the middle of the season. In the Euroleague, Siena set the pace by winning its regular season group over defending champion Regal FC Barcelona. Two defeats to start the Top 16 following an injury to its best scorer until then, Bo McCalebb, seemed to point Siena to an early exit. Instead, the team rallied with four consecutive victories into the Quarterfinal Playoffs. There, the process was repeated, as Siena responded to a record 48-point loss to Olympiacos in Game 1 with three consecutive victories to reach the Final Four. Although eventual champion Panathinaikos blocked its way to glory in the semifinals, Siena finished its season by taking the third-place game against Real Madrid and finishing with a 16-6 record. Thus was the Siena's ever-growing tradition honored once again. Indeed, the club's basketball roots run deep, as Mens Sana Basket claims to be the first Italian club to play the sport soon after Dr. James Naismith invented basketball in 1891. Siena did not reach the Italian first division until 1973 and graduated to European competitions in the late 1990s. Soon, in 2002, Vrbica Stefanov, Milenko Topic and Petar Naumoski brought home the club's very first trophy, the Saporta Cup. The next season, Siena marked its Euroleague debut by going all the way to the Final Four led by Michalis Kakiouzis, Mirsad Turkcan and the late Alphonso Ford. Montepaschi returned to the Final Four in 2004 and fell again in the semifinals, this time in a overtime thriller, but with new players like Bootsy Thornton, David Vanterpool and David Andersen, went on to lift its first Italian League trophy that spring. Since the promotion of Simone Pianigiani to head coach in 2007, things have only gotten better for Siena. Pianigiani has led the club to five Italian League titles in a row, a first in Italy, while also winning the last three Italian Cups. Montepaschi returned to the Final Four in 2008, losing in the semifinals to Maccabi Electra, despite the solid efforts of players like Terrell McIntyre, Romain Sato, Rimas Kaukenas, Ksistof Lavrinovic and Shaun Stonerook. The latter trio was joined by Nikos Zisis, Marko Jaric, Malik Hairston and McCalebb for last season's unlikely run to the 2011 Final Four, which proved again that Siena runs a model modern organization that has made a small city a hot spot of professional basketball. There is no time like present for Montepaschi Siena as it prepares to challenge again for Turkish Airlines Euroleague glory in the 2011-12 season.