2008 Top 16 profile: Tau Ceramica

Jan 29, 2008 by Euroleague.net Print

Regular Season:
3rd, Group A, 9-5

Team Rankings
2nd points
2nd two-point %
5th ranking
3rd rebounds

Neven Spahija
Neven Spahija
Few teams know the competition better than Tau Ceramica, that reached the Final Four in each of the last three seasons. Tau did not find much trouble to reach the Top 16 by finishing third in Group A with a 9-5 record. Tau changed its frontcourt this season, giving much more playing time and prominence to center Tiago Splitter and power forward Mirza Teletovic, two of the most improved players in the competition. Splitter (13.8 ppg., 64.1% 2FG, 5.5 rpg.) has been a dominant force in the paint despite playing just 22 minutes per night. As more important games are ready to come, expect Splitter to contribute even more for Tau. He found his perfect complement in Teletovic (11.6 ppg., 42% 3FG, 5.9 rpg.) has shocked everyone with his deep range, personality and all-around game. Will McDonald (9.7 ppg., 4.6 rpg.) has been solid around the baskets while recently signed Gabe Mouneke (5.2 ppg., 2.6 rpg.) has added range, strength and rebounding skills. Few teams have a more deadly combo at point gu
Igor Rakocevic - Tau Ceramica
Igor Rakocevic
ard that Tau, as Zoran Planinic and Pablo Prigioni not only can share minutes on the floor, but have given coach Neven Spahija plenty of backcourt alternatives. Prigioni (7.2 ppg., 3.9 apg.) has seen his playing time reduced this season but stays as a clutch player with superb court vision, deadly in pick-and-roll situation with new partners like McDonald or Pete Mickeal. Meanwhile, Planinic (11.4 ppg., 59.3% 2FG) has been a solid choice due to his driving skills and advantage against the opposing point guard in the low post. Mickeal (6.8 ppg., 3.3 rpg.) has been slowed by injuries but should bounce back in the Top 16, while Igor Rakocevic (16.8 ppg.) has been filling the baskets non-stop, just as usual, scoring in double digits in all of his 13 games so far. He has helped Tau to become one of the top scoring teams in the competition (3.6 ppg.), as well as one of the best in two-point percentage (56.6%). Defensive ace Sergi Vidal (3.9 ppg.) and little-used Simas Jasaitis (4.5 ppg.) add depth, range and experience to a team that knows well what it needs to make it to the Final Four.
Tau Ceramica general director Carlos Izar: "We managed to avoid CSKA and Panathinaikos in this group, so it is kind of open and anybody can win anywhere. We all can finish first in this group. We will do our best to win and get the home court advantage in the playoffs. We play in three very difficult courts, packed with diehard fans that not basketball very well. At the same time, we will be backed with our big fans in Vitoria, as we have become a place with great basketball tradition. We would need to be a team like Panathinaikos to guarantee a win in those courts. We have to go there to compete not thinking about the audience."