Turkish Airlines Euroleague
May 21, 2013
bwin Euroleague Fantasy Challenge
Tel Aviv 2004
Qualifying Rounds 2012
NIKE International Junior Tournament
2012-13 Pre-Draw Profile: Montepaschi Siena
Montepaschi Siena comes off a historic 2011-12 season in which it became the first team in the 63-year history of the Italian League to win the title for a sixth consecutive season. Montepaschi managed to add the Italian Supercup and the Italian Cup trophies to round out a near-perfect domestic season. The results were not quite as strong in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague, where after winning its Top 16 group, Montepaschi lost in the playoffs to eventual champion Olympiacos. Things will look a bit different in Siena this season after long time coach Simone Pianigiani stepped down and his assistant Luca Banchi was handed the reins. Siena's basketball roots run deep; 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. By 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 against Fortitudo, but with new players like Bootsy Thornton, David Vanterpool and David Andersen, it went on to lift its first Italian League trophy that spring. Following the promotion of Pianigiani to head coach in 2007, things only got better for Siena. Pianigiani led the club to six Italian League titles in a row plus four Italian Cups during his run with the team. Montepaschi also returned to the Final Four in 2008 in Madrid, where it lost in the semifinals to Maccabi Electra, despite the 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 an unlikely run to the 2011 Final Four. 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 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, in which eventual champ Panathinaikos blocked its way to glory in the semifinals. Last season Montepaschi won its fourth consecutive domestic double to dominate Italian basketball like no other team has before. With Banchi now running the show, a new era dawns in Siena though there is no doubt Montepaschi remains focused on reaching its first Euroleague final and challenging for that elusive continental crown.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
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