2008 Top 16 profile: Montepaschi Siena

Jan 29, 2008 by Euroleague.net Print

Montepaschi Siena
Regular Season:
3rd, Group A, 10-4

Team Rankings
1st steals
6th 3-point %
8th FT %

Simone Pianigiani and Montepaschi Siena
Simone Pianigiani
Montepaschi Siena returned from a season away from Euroleague Basketball with its best regular season ever. From the start, the Italian champs proved to be a force to be reckoned with and battled their way through Group A to the tune of a 10-4 record and second place in the group. Under head coach Simone Pianigiani, who himself was a Euroleague rookie, Montepaschi fielded a team full of newcomers and was richly rewarded for the gamble. The likes of Terrell McIntyre, Romain Sato and Ksistof Lavrinovic all tested the Euroleague waters for the first time and came back with great success as the Italian champs proved themselves as Final Four contenders. Of course it didn’t hurt to have some classy veteran role players along for the ride like guards Vlado Ilievski and Bootsy Thornton and big men Ben Eze and Shaun Stonerook. Montepaschi’s key this season was its defense – second in the Euroleague with only 69.5 points allowed per game plus a league best 13.9 steals per game. Having McIntyre, who
Romain Sato - Montepaschi Siena
Romain Sato
led the Euroleague in steals, and Stonerook, who finished third, creating fast break opportunities, Montepaschi has had an excellent source of easy baskets. Moreover, a balanced offense with big men that can shoot and guards who can penetrate allows the team to score in halfcourt sets as well. Montepaschi begane the season with a modest 2-2 start, which included a pair of big home wins and a pair of tough road losses, Montepaschi made some noise with a four-game winning streak. Then came crisis as the team lost on both sides of the winter break, but also lost arguably the team’s most productive player, Rimantas Kaukenas, to injury. Rather than fall apart, Montepaschi strengthened itself by adding Keith McLeod to the backcourt, while Sato and McIntyre stepped up with not only great performances, but also the necessary leadership to make sure that this team continues winning in February and March.

Simona Pianigiani Montepaschi Siena head coach: "Panathinaikos is one the favorite teams and not only because they are the champions. Once again we’ll be in a very tough group. Efes and Partizan are two strong teams as well and to win on the road in their court is very difficult for everybody. But we are in the Top 16 and it is normal to face very competitive teams. I only hope to have the team in a good shape. It is good sensation to be here for the fourth time in the last six years. For sure we’ll do our best."
Montepaschi Siena forward Shaun Stonerook: "It is not so bad to face Panathinaikos in the Top 16. We have the skill to close the group first or second. In this case we will avoid the Greek team in the quarterfinals. But in our group there are other two strong teams. So we must not underestimate anybody. We already showed during the regular season to be a tough team. Our last victory in Athens against Olympiacos gave us much confidence. Our plan? Win three games at home and "steal" at least one on the road. We can do that."