Turkish Airlines Euroleague
June 20, 2013
bwin Euroleague Fantasy Challenge
Tel Aviv 2004
Qualifying Rounds 2012
NIKE International Junior Tournament
Team Focus: Caja Laboral
SAN EMETERIO, F.
2010-11: 10-10, Playoffs
2009-10: 11-9, Playoffs
2008-09: 14-7, Playoffs
2007-08: 16-9, Final Four
2006-07: 20-4, Final Four
2005-06: 18-7, Final Four
2004-05: 13-11, Final Four
2003-04: 13-7, Top 16
2002-03: 11-9, Top 16
2001-02: 13-7, Top 16
2000-01: 15-7, Playoffs Final
Turkish Airlines Euroleague powerhouse Caja Laboral returns to the competition with a fully reloaded roster ready to battle hard. Laboral is the only team that has reached the Euroleague Quarterfinal Playoffs every season since that phase was created in the 2004-05 season, a fact that says plenty about the club’s consistency and competitiveness in the competition. Laboral, however, has not been to the Final Four since 2008 and starts a new era with both new players and familiar faces ready to compete and show their trademark "Baskonia character" that makes the local diehard fans proud of their own. Laboral brought back club legend Pablo Prigioni and signed up-and-coming playmaker Thomas Heurtel, scoring ace Reggie Williams, veteran forward Milko Bjelica, big man Kevin Seraphin and All-Eurocup center Maciej Lampe, who underwent hip surgery and will miss the entire Euroleague regular season. All-Euroleague swingman Fernando San Emeterio and three-point bomber Mirza Teletovic are back along with Brad Oleson, Pau Ribas and Nemanja Bjelica. Dusko Ivanovic, the most successful head coach in club history, re-signed to carry on leading the club. It is a new team with a different look, but its ambitions and goals remain exactly the same - to beat anyone, anywhere.
Coach Ivanovic knows exactly what to expect from Prigioni, who led the club to four consecutive Final Four appearances between 2005 and 2008. Prigioni, a two-time All-Euroleague Second Team selection, is an outstanding on-the-ball defensive stopper, who never plays out of control, and boasts good court vision and extremely valuable experience. His backup will be Heurtel, a quick and creative playmaker with good passing skills. Heurtel hopes to make the most out of his good ball-handling and deep shooting range in his Euroleague debut season. Williams arrives to Laboral ready to fill the baskets. A two-time NCAA scoring champ, Williams knows how to create his own shot and has a great feel for the game. Ribas and Oleson will see a lot of minutes at the wings. Ribas is a very good defensive combo guard with size and quick legs, who can also hit long jumpers with consistency. Oleson is an aggressive scorer with great driving skills and perhaps even more important, great determination. San Emeterio comes back after a breakout season to offer his all-around game. Always thinking team first, San Emeterio is Laboral’s silent leader. He can lead the team's defense - even helping on the boards – drive to the basket with great body control and knock down the outside jumper. In other words, San Emeterio is every coach's dream and above all, a winner always hungry for success.
Teletovic is set to lead the Laboral frontcourt for the sixth consecutive season. Aggressive, athletic and very talented, Teletovic tied a Euroleague record by downing 9 three-pointers in a regular season game against Zalgiris last year. Much more than a shooter with unlimited range, Teletovic can fire up the crowd with his powerful dunks and has become a better defensive player over the years. With Lampe sidelined long-term, Seraphin steps in to offer size, post moves and a physical presence in the paint. A good rebounder at both ends, Seraphin will be his team's main reference in the paint until Lampe comes back. Nemanja Bjelica is a versatile ace who is able to play anywhere from point guard to power forward – even though he will see most of his minutes at small forward. His combination of size, ball-handling ability, shooting range and high basketball IQ is rarely seen elsewhere. Milko Bjelica is a good rebounder and pick-and-roll player with enough Euroleague experience to deliver right away. Dejan Musli, once an unstoppable player at the Nike International Junior Tournament, may see more playing time this season.
The pieces are in place for another exciting season at Fernando Buesa Arena. Expect Laboral to undergo an adjustment period with a few newcomers and some rising stars still coming together with the veterans, but as always, the team will be ready to fight and give its best at the right time.
Saturday, October 01, 2011
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