Laboral Kutxa makes it four teams in Berlin
All of the Final Four teams are now in Berlin; Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz reached its final destination for the weekend, but it wasn’t smooth sailing. Laboral's flight was delayed and the team did not have all of its luggage when it arrived. One of the most excited players was Davis Bertans, who is in his Final Four, just like all of his teammates other than Ioannis Bourousis. "This is going to be a great weekend," Bertans said upon arrival. Like we said, Bourousis is in his fifth Final Four, and is the only Laboral player with previous Final Four experience. But fellow big man Darko Planinic said the Greek veteran did not spend too much time explaining what to expect at the event. At the Final Four, there is no extra motivation needed, anyway. And Laboral is plenty pumped to play a couple more great games, as it did for most of the season. Kim Tillie had the chance to say hello to Ricky Hickman and Kyle Hines upon arrival. Of course, when all teams hit the court, it will be a whole different story. All teams are here… Let the fun begin!
Berlin - Wednesday, May 11, 22:32
CSKA Moscow checks in looking cool, collected
It was pretty obvious that CSKA has been here before when it arrived at the Berlin Hilton. The third team to land in the German capital, the players calmly marched into the hotel and happily greeted all those that waited in the hotel lobby. Assistant coach Darryl Middleton caught up with Final Four Ambassador Joe Arlauckas; Aaron Jackson ran into Lokomotiv guard Dontaye Draper and Euroleague Legend and former CSKA star Theorodos Papaloukas mingled among his former CSKA teammates and friends. Even the Final Four newcomers, such as Dmitry Kulagin and Cory Higgins, seemed comfortable despite all the hoopla around, never mind the seasoned vets like Milos Teodosic and Kyle Hines. Just how will this cool attitude affect CSKA’s chances to bring home the trophy? We will know in the coming days.
Berlin - Wednesday, May 11, 22:25
Lokomotiv is Team No. 2 in Berlin
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar has hit the ground looking calm and ready. It was the second team to arrive in the German capital for the games. During the week, its star guard Malcolm Delaney was a bit concerned about finding a suit, which is mandatory for the Euroleague Awards Ceremony and the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four Opening Press Conference. In the end, it was not much of a big deal. "I found one really quick," Delaney told us upon arrival. "There are plenty of places in Krasnodar, so it wasn't difficult," he added. We will have to wait until tomorrow to see it. Victor Claver arrived with his gear packed in a Spanish national team duffel. Claver helped Spain to three EuroBasket titles, but insisted the bag is no lucky charm "No, not at all!," Claver laughed. "It is just the bag I have!" Matjaz Smodis, in his role as a Final Four Ambassador, caught up with Lokomotiv point guard Dontaye Draper. The two were teammates with Croatian team Cedevita Zagreb in the 2011-12 season and Smodis used this opportunity in the hotel lobby to get the latest news from the Lokomotiv camp and an update on some of the injuries team has been dealing with since the end of the Euroleague Playoffs.
Berlin - Wednesday, May 11, 20:24
Fenerbahce in the house!
The first team has arrived! Fenerbahce Istanbul checked in at the Hilton Berlin shortly before 15:00 CET. the Fenerbahce wore matching khaki pants and midnight blue shirts, while the coaching staff was also dressed sharp with navy blue pants and sky blue shirts. Their suitcases arrived before the them and were ready for everyone to go straight up to the rooms in a most-efficient manner. Euroleague.net had the chance to briefly talk to Bogdan Bogdanovic upon arrival. "It is great to finally be in Berlin!" the two-time Rising Star award winner said upon arrival. "We can't wait for the Final Four to start!" Jan Vesely was the first player to get into the hotel and quickly borrowed a Twitter mirror - a tablet with a mirror frame with a Twitter logo - to do a selfie with Bogdanovic. Zeljko Obradovic moved in away from any attention; experience always matters and he knows how to avoid the euphoria upon arrival. With one team already around, the Final Four week has officially started in Berlin!
Berlin - Wednesday, May 11, 15:25
Welcome to Berlin!
Welcome to the 2016 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four LIVE BLOG! As always, the Euroleague.net staff will provide an ongoing update of what is going on in Berlin until a new champion is crowned. Although it’s hard to say that Final Four weekend ever starts before the first teams arrive, the German capital was certainly getting ready for it days before. On Tuesday, Mercedes-Benz Arena put the finishing touches on its Euroleague uniform, with all the appropriate banners, posters and furnishings adorning the hall from the entrances through the VIP areas and in the locker rooms and on the court. Likewise, the hotels that house the players, VIPs, Euroleague staff and some of the accredited media also put on its Euroleague finish.
This is the first Final Four in Berlin since 2009, which was one of the best events in European sports history with four close games, a thrilling atmosphere in the stands and a top-class arena located in a great city. There is no reason to believe this year's Final Four will not be even better. Few basketball experts, if any, thought Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar and Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz would make it to the Final Four when the season started, but both teams earned their way to Berlin by playing great basketball. CSKA Moscow is in its 13th Final Four in 14 years, which is an amazing achievement, and Fenerbahce Istanbul has another shot at becoming the first-ever Turkish team to lift the Euroleague trophy. Euroleague.net has been inside Mercedes-Benz Arena and is set to get you started with a Slide Show on how it is getting ready for this big basketball party. Expect behind-the-scenes information and coverage of everything going on in Berlin. Stay tuned!
Berlin - Wednesday, May 11, 13:35