Top 16 Groups breakdown, Group F

Dec 19, 2012 by Euroleague.net Print
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv
Olympiacos Basketball
BC Khimki
Montepaschi Siena
FC Barcelona Regal
Caja Laboral
Fenerbahce Ulker
Besiktas JK
won Group B with an 8-2 record. 11th consecutive Top 16 appearance.
THE STAR
Lior Eliyahu - Maccabi Electra - EB12
LIOR ELIYAHU
Maccabi Electra’s recently appointed captain Lior Eliyahu is the Israeli champs’ most experienced player with two appearances in the Euroleague title game under his belt. Eliyahu’s arsenal is not what one would expect from a 2.07-meter power forward; his game is based on speed, an impressive array of unorthodox moves in the paint and great court vision, all skills which help to make the big men around him better. Eliyahu’s combination of skills, experience and his position as a fan favorite make him the face of Maccabi’s success.
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Malcolm Thomas - Maccabi Electra - EB12
MALCOLM THOMAS
Malcolm Thomas only joined Maccabi shortly before the start of the Euroleague season and took some time to adjust to new surroundings, but his tremendous athleticism has never been in doubt. The more time Thomas has with the team the more he will get a chance to change games with his rim-rocking slam dunks, acrobatic rebounds and high-flying blocks. As the Top 16 gets underway, look for Thomas to assert himself and play a bigger role going forward in the Maccabi frontcourt.
DID YOU KNOW?
David Blatt - Baccabi Electra - EB12

Maccabi Tel Aviv is tied with Real Madrid for the most appearances in the European title game with 14. There is only one team in Top 16 Group F that Maccabi has faced in a Euroleague title game: Caja Laboral, which as Tau Ceramica fell to Maccabi in the 2005 championship game in Moscow. Maccabi has previously faced and beaten Group F foes Montepaschi Siena (Madrid 2008), Caja Laboral (Prague 2006) and FC Barcelona (Thessaloniki 2000) in the semifinals at Euroleague Final Fours.
was second in Group C with an 8-2 record. Is on a seven-game winning streak.
THE STAR
Vassilis Spanoulis - Olympiacos - EB12
VASSILIS SPANOULIS
Two time Euroleague champion and Final Four MVP Vassilis Spanoulis is at his best again this season as evidenced by him earning bwin MVP for November honors. He is among the very best at creating offense and ranks among the league’s top five in both scoring and assists, which keeps defenses from crowding him. With the ball in Spanoulis’s hands, every possession has the potential to be a masterpiece.
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Stratos Perperoglou - Olympiacos - EB12
STRATOS PERPEROGLOU
One of only two preseason additions to the Olympiacos roster, small forward Stratos Perperoglou brings a wealth of experience to the cause with a pair of Euroleague titles to his name. Moreover, Perperoglou’s selfless all-around style makes the team better whenever he takes the floor. Armed with three-point shooting range, excellent court vision and great defensive abilities, Perperoglou could be a game-changer as the Reds look to defend their title.
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Georgios Bartzokas

Olympiacos enters the Top 16 with a seven-game winning streak, which is tied for the club’s second longest streak this century. The team record is 10 wins in a row, set in the 2009-10 season, when the Reds won the last five games of the regular season and the first five of the Top 16 en route to reaching that season’s Euroleague title game in Paris. The year before Olympiacos won seven in a row between the Top 16 and playoffs and eventually reached the Final Four in Berlin. Do those streaks point to another Olympiacos Final Four appearance?
was second in Group A with a 6-4 record. Is undefeated at home.
THE STAR
Zoran Planinic - BC Khimki - EB12
ZORAN PLANINIC
Now in his ninth Euroleague season, Zoran Planinic is delivering his best campaign yet for BC Khimki. The tall and crafty playmaker leads the team in scoring, assists and steals, not to mention his unwavering leadership as its floor general. Last season’s Eurocup Final MVP, Planinic is also a veteran of four Euroleague Final Fours, which proves that he knows what needs to be done to win big games late in the season. As Khimki targets its first Euroleague playoffs appearance, look for Planinic to be front and center.
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Paul Davis - BC Khimki - EB12
PAUL DAVIS
He was slow to make an impact early in the season, but once he got going, Paul Davis proved himself to be one of the top low-post scoring centers in the Euroleague. Davis missed the start of the season through injury and didn’t play 20 minutes until Game 8. But over the last three games, he unveiled his impressive back-to-the-basket arsenal with 15.7 points - including 88.2% free throw shooting – and 4.3 rebounds in just 21 minutes per game. Opposing centers have been warned.
DID YOU KNOW?
Rimas Kurtinaitis - BC Khimki - EB12

Khimki enters the Top 16 with a seven-game home-court winning streak in Euroleague action. Its overall record at home in the Euroleague is an impressive 15-3. The last team to beat Khimki at home was Maccabi Electra on a David Blu last-second three-pointer in November 2010. Maccabi visits Khimki next in Top 16, Game 4. Guard Vitaly Fridzon has been there for it all; he has missed just one Euroleague game in Khmki’s three seasons in Europe’s premier competition.
was third in Group B with a 5-5 record, overcoming a 0-3 start.
THE STAR
Bobby Brown - Montepaschi Siena - EB12_42246
BOBBY BROWN
Playmaker Bobby Brown pieced together two of the greatest back-to-back individual performances in league history in Games 4 and 5 to establish himself as the top dog for the Italian champs. His masterful regular season finished with Brown as the competition’s leading scorer and ranked third in assists. Simply an offensive dynamo, some defenses have little option but to foul Brown to stop him. Expect his assault on the stat pages to continue through the Top 16.
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Daniel Hackett - Montepaschi Siena - EB12_42393
DANIEL HACKETT
Like many on the rebuilt Montepaschi Siena squad, athletic combo-guard Daniel Hackett was slow coming out of the gate, but once he hit his stride, Hackett has been a game-changing force off the bench. He dished at least 5 assists in half the regular season games and has contributed immensely with great defensive pressure. Hackett has been shooting below his career percentages and when his shots start to fall, he will give Coach Banchi another serious weapon off the bench.
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Luca Banchi - Montepaschi Siena vs. Cleveland Cavaliers - American Tour 2012 (photo Montepaschi Siena)

Montepaschi Siena has been to the Euroleague Final Four on four occasions – Barcelona 2003, Tel Aviv 2004, Madrid 2008 and Barceona 2011 – but has never won a semifinal game? It owns the Euroleague record for most Final Four appearances without ever playing in the title game. Montepaschi’s three third-place finishes are tied with three of the continent’s winningest clubs, CSKA Moscow, Panathinaikos Athens and FC Barcelona Regal, for the most ever.
won Group D with a 9-1 record. Is undefeated on the road.
THE STAR
Juan Carlos Navarro - FC Barcelona Regal - EB 12-13
JUAN CARLOS NAVARRO
Despite battling a plantar fascitis injury all season long, scoring guard Juan Carlos Navarro has done what he does best - fill the baskets all around the continent. Navarro leads Barcelona in scoring (13 ppg.) and fouls drawn (3.6 per game), hitting 41.3% of his shots from downtown. He is the Euroleague's all-time top scorer and needs just 25 points to be the first player to break the 3,000 points in competition history - yet another milestone in his legendary career.
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Ante Tomic - FC Barcelona Regal - EB12_41065
ANTE TOMIC
Despite arriving in Barcelona last summer, Ante Tomic has already become a key piece for his new club. Tomic earned bwin co-MVP honors in Week 7 with a career-best performance index ranking of 28. He leads Barcelona in rebounds (5.2 rpg.), blocks (1.6 bpg.) and performance index ranking (12.5 per game) - all in less than 21 minutes per night. Tomic has a lot of room for improvement, as he has struggled from the foul line (46.2%) and should get even better in the Top 16.
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Xavi Pascual - FC Barcelona Regal - EB12_41911

Barcelona is looking for its 13th Final Four appearance since the format was chosen back in 1988. It leads the all-time standings with 12 appearances, lifting titles in 2003 and 2010. Barcelona has always made it to the Top 16 since this phase was created in 2001-02 - only Panathinaikos and Maccabi can claim that honor. It looks for its eighth consecutive playoffs appearance and will try to reach the Final Four for the fourth time in 5 years.
was fourth in Group C with a 4-6 record. Won its last three games.
THE STAR
Andres Nocioni - Caja Laboral - EB12_40992
ANDRES NOCIONI
A two-time All-Euroleague second team selection, Andres Nocioni is the perfect example to what it is called the "Baskonia character". Nocioni is Vitoria's leader due to his passion, intensity and compromise with his teammates. His good numbers (10.9 ppg., 81.1% FT, 2.8 rpg.) do not match the impact he has in Vitoria's game - the way he motivated his own teammates and fans at Fernando Buesa Arena. Nocioni is much more than a player for Caja Laboral.
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Nemanja Bjelica - Caja Laboral - EB12
NEMANJA BJELICA
He has gone from little-used prospect to a star in the making in barely two seasons. Nemanja Bjelica is a modern power forward with great ballhandling, poise and talent. He is helping Vitoria more than ever, leading his team in rebounds (5.4 rpg.) and performance index ranking (11.4 per game), as well as being a really efficient scorer (10.6 ppg., 61.9% 2FG, 85.7% FT). He ranks fifth among Top 16 players in offensive rebounds (2.5 orpg.).
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Zan Tabak

Caja Laboral won its last three regular season games to book the last Top 16 ticket in Group D. The club registered three regular season home losses but if the club stays loyal to its recent Top 16 history in Vitoria, that is about to change. Since playoffs started in 2004-05, Caja Laboral went past the Top 16 in its seven appearances, accumulating a 17-3 home record - and 30-12 overall. With a deep roster and in good momentum, the sky is the limit for Vitoria.
was fourth in Group A with a 5-5 record. Is 4-1 at home.
THE STAR
Bo McCalebb - Fenerbahce Ulker - EB12_42386
BO McCALEBB
Despite being trouble by injuries midway through the season, Bo McCalebb has been Fenerbahce Ulker's main reference on offense. McCalebb has led Fener in scoring (12.3 ppg.), assists (2.4 apg.) and steals (1.3 spg.), hitting 89.5% of his free throw attempts (17-of-19). McCalebb was last season's Alphonso Ford Top Scoring trophy winner. He scored 12 points or better in each Top 16 game last season. With the same coach and in a new environment, the sky is the limit for McCalebb.
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Emir Preldzic - Fenerbahce Ulker - EB12_40857
EMIR PRELDZIC
At age 25, Emir Preldzic is playing with more consistency than ever, leading Fenerbahce Ulker in performance index ranking (11.3 per game). His size, ballhandling and court vision is paying more dividends than ever. Preldzic earned bwin Week 1 MVP honors with a career-best showing - 20 points, 31 index - against BC Khimki Moscow Region. Already a young Euroleague veteran in his sixth season in the competition, it is time for Preldzic to excel in a long, extended Top 16.
DID YOU KNOW?
Simone Pianigiani - Montepaschi Siena_39443

Fenerbahce Ulker was the last Turkish team to make it to the playoffs in the 2007-08 season, losing against Montepaschi Siena. Fener and Anadolu Efes have been to the Top 16 three times apiece since then and Galatasaray Medical Park made it last season. All Turkish teams have combined for a 14-28 Top 16 record since Fener made it to the playoffs. Fener has the roster, experience and fan base to lead Turkish basketball back to the playoffs - and even beyond.
was third in Group D with a 5-5 record. Is a Euroleague newcomer.
THE STAR
Curtis Jerrells - Besiktas JK Istanbul - EB12_41367
CURTIS JERRELLS
In his third Euroleague season with as many different teams, Jerrells has fit perfectly as the first option in coach Erman Kunter's team. Jerrells leads Besiktas in scoring (15.5 ppg.), assists (2.8 apg.), steals (0.9 apg.), fouls drawn (4.3 per game) and performance index ranking (14.6 per game). Jerrells ranks fourth overall in field goals made (57) and has been deadly (85.2% FT) from the foul line. Jerrells will keep leading Besiktas in its first-ever Top 16 appearance.
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Daniel Ewing - Besiktas JK - EB12
DANIEL EWING
A new arrival in Besiktas, Daniel Ewing already showed how much he can help the team, helping it to beat Lietuvos Rytas with 14 points and 4 assists. Ewing played three Euroleague seasons with Prokom, helping the team to reach the playoffs in 2009-10. After a season with Azovmash Mariupol, Ewing returns to the competition ready to play a key veteran role, helping Jerrells and Tutku Acik with the point guard duties and giving coach Kunter a new scoring threat.
DID YOU KNOW?
Erman Kunter

Not many Euroleague newcomers have managed to go past the Top 16, but two teams managed to do so last season - Unics Kazan and Bilbao Basket. Unics managed to survive a group featuring Panathinaikos, EA7 Emporio Armani and Fenerbahce Ulker. Bilbao ranked second over Real Madrid and Unicaja Malaga, right behind Montepaschi Siena. None of them reached the Final Four but Besiktas has to follow the same recipe - take one game at the time and never give up.