Turkish Airlines Euroleague
May 20, 2013
bwin Euroleague Fantasy Challenge
Tel Aviv 2004
Qualifying Rounds 2012
NIKE International Junior Tournament
2011-12 Qualifying Rounds Profile: KK Cibona
Cibona Zagreb faces a new challenge for the 2011-12 season – extending its streak of 20 straight seasons in Europe’s premier basketball competition – when it enters the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Qualifying Rounds. The crown jewel of Croatian club basketball, Cibona looks to rebound from a tough season in which the club was winless in the Euroleague, finished at the bottom half in the Adriatic League and was ousted in the semifinals in the Croatian Cup and league playoffs. Such a season is not the norm for a club with such a great tradition, including five continental titles and two Euroleague crowns. Founded in 1946, Cibona won its first trophy - the Yugoslavian Cup - in 1969 and added a Korac Cup in 1972 with Nikola Plecas and Damir Rukavina as its main players. Cibona lifted the Cup Winners' Cup trophy in 1982 by downing Real Madrid in the final, plus three Yugoslavian championships and five Yugoslavian Cup titles between 1980 and 1985. The late Drazen Petrovic soon helped Cibona become the best team in Europe along with brother Aca and players like Mihovil Nakic, Zoran Cutura, Franjo Arapovic and Danko Cvjeticanin. Drazen Petrovic had 26 of his 36 points in the second half of the 1985 Euroleague final as Cibona downed Real Madrid 87-78 to claim its first Euroleague title. The Petrovic brothers then led the team to a second title in 1986 by beating Zalgiris 94-82 in Budapest, Hungary. Cibona added a second Cup Winners' Cup title in 1987 by beating Scavolini Pesaro and made it the Korac Cup finals in 1988 before Drazen Petrovic left the team for good. However after the Croatian League opened in the early 1990s, Cibona built another dynasty with 11 consecutive national titles and five Croatian Cups through 2002. Cibona soon started to reach the Euroleague Top 16 on regular basis, often bringing a lot of drama to the final games of the regular season. After a few quiet seasons, Cibona bounced back in 2008-09 by winning both the Croatian League and Cup titles and making it back to the Euroleague Top 16. Two years ago Cibona defended the Croatian crown, got back to the Top 16 again and lost the Adriatic League final on a miracle, 16-meter buzzer-beating shot in the title game against Partizan. Last season the club turned to a battery of young talents and though they blossomed throughout the season, Cibona was unable to turn their progress into victories.
Cibona steps into the Qualifying Round with a blend of experience and young talent. Head coach Josip Vrankovic can call on seven players that return from last season’s squad, including several candidates for breakout seasons. Though shooting guard Gordan Giricek may be Cibona’s best-known player, he will get plenty of help from the team’s other blossoming talents. Small forward Damjan Rudez comes off a brilliant Eurocup campaign with Cedevita; Tomislav Zubcic was among the top young big men in the Euroleague last season; power forward Goran Suton is a lethal dose of size and outside shooting and young Karlo Vragovic brings a healthy measure of excitement to the floor. In addition, swingmen Goran Vrbanc and Toni Brnas, power forward Ante Krapic and center Jure Lalic played meaningful roles last year. With the possibility of still adding a player or two, Cibona promises to get to the Qualifying Rounds with a full arsenal that will make it force to be reckoned with.
5 - Gordan Giricek
8 - Toni Brnas
12 - Mario Filipovic
14 Jure Lalic
15 - Tomislav Zubcic
20 - Marin Rozic
23 - Stipe Krstanovic
24 - Karlo Vragovic
32 - Goran Vrbanc
50 Ante Krapic
Friday, September 16, 2011
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