Turkish Airlines Euroleague
May 25, 2013
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2011-12 Qualifying Rounds Profile: Belgacom Spirou Basket
After getting the chance to taste Europe’s premier basketball last season, Belgacom Spirou Basket returns to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Qualifying Rounds eager to duplicate its success and to return to the regular season. Spirou went undefeated at home in three Qualifying Rounds games last season just to climb to the Euroleague Regular Season, where it arrived with energy and provided plenty of excitement, even though Spirou missed out on the Top 16. Born from the ashes of Spirou Monceau, which moved to Charleroi in 1989, the team reached the Belgian League playoffs in 1992 for the first time ever. The turnaround came in 1996 with the Belgian Cup title, turning Spirou into the first club from the Wallone Rregion to win a trophy. Then came the first league title, which led to an appearance in the Euroleague for the first time. Charleroi continued ruling Belgium from 1997 to 1999 and returned to the Euroleague from 2000 to 2002. Its efforts seemed to take away from its strength at home, where no new titles came. That changed when Charleroi found a perfect balance, finding success in the ULEB Cup, while winning domestic titles in Belgium. In 2004, Charleroi reached the ULEB Cup elimination rounds, losing in the eighthfinals against Estudiantes. It also won the Belgian League title following a five-game battle with Liege. The 2003-04 season was another special one for the club. Not only did Spirou win its second straight Belgian League title, but its home court, the Spiroudome, hosted the ULEB Cup Final for the first time. Charleroi made the 2005 ULEB Cup quarterfinals and returned to the elimination rounds in 2006. A short dry spell ensued – including missing the 2006-07 ULEB Cup – but by the next season Charleroi was back. Spirou has now reeled off four successive Belgian League crowns – including a double in 2009! But last season was one of the club’s greatest in recent history as veteran head coach Giovanni Bozzi returned to the bench and guided a balanced team led by veteran center Andre Riddick and point guard Demond Mallet back to the Euroleague.
Bozzi has Riddick and Mallet back in addition to guards Chris Hill, Dwayne Broyles and Justin Hamilton plus center Christophe Beghin, who together give Spirou an experienced nucleus to build around. Mallet figures to run the offense again, while using the scoring talents of Hill and Broyles to generate points. Newcomer Jiri Welsch is an all-around threat on the wings, who gives the team another great passing and scoring option. Another veteran with much Euroleague experience, Mickael Gelabale, fortifies the club at forward and gives Bozzi many tactical opportunities because of his versatility. Caleb Green and Tornike Shengalia will share time at power forward. The former is an athletic rebounder and the latter is a rising star who could be due for a breakout season. Riddick anchors the team on defense, but gives way to Beghin when low-post scoring is needed. All told, Bozzi boats eight players with past Euroleague experience, which is a definite plus heading into the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Qualifying Rounds as Spirou aims for another big year.
4 - Chris Hill
5 - Jiri Welsch
6 - Dwayne Broyles
7 - Justin Hamilton
8 - Mickael Gelabale
9 - Caleb Green
10 - Andre Riddick
11 - Amaury Jadin
12 - Demond Mallet
13 - Boris Penninck
14 - Tornike Shengalia
15 - Christophe Beghin
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
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