2008 Top 16 Profile: AXA FC Barcelona

Jan 30, 2008 by Euroleague.net Print

AXA FC Barcelona 
Regular Season:
3rd, Group C, 9-5

Team Rankings
2nd 2-Point %
9th rebounds
3rd assists

Dusko Ivanovic - AXA FC Barcelona
Dusko Ivanovic
As a team ready to compete when the Final Four gets closer, AXA FC Barcelona knows it is time to give its best from now on. Barcelona used a six-game winning streak in competitive Group C to reach the Top 16 without much trouble and it is now ready to challenge all the big names in the competition. The team overcame injuries and a slow start to finish third in Group C right behind Panathinaikos and archrivals Real Madrid. Coach Dusko Ivanovic has been loyal to his brand of basketball, featuring intense man-to-man defense and a patient offense based on a rock-solid frontcourt and the inspiration of a star-flooded backcourt. As such, Barcelona enters the Top 16 as one of the best teams in two-point percentage and assists. Barcelona found a reference player in Roger Grimau, whose aggressivity, intensity and superb driving skills has allowed players like Gianluca Basile or Jaka Lakovic to get more open shots throughout the season. Lakovic has been more confortable playing shooting guard alongs
Jaka Lakovic - AXA FC Barcelona
Jaka Lakovic
ide pass-first playmaker Pepe Sanchez, who has tried to keep everyone happy with his superb court vision. Players like Ersan Ilyasova and Alex Acker have not lived up to the big expectations, however, but they have the most important games ahead of them to prove all the critics wrong. Acker and especially Ilyasova have improved in the last month of competition and are ready for more. Barcelona has had a major frontcourt reference in Mario Kasun, who was sidelined in the final regular season games. Whether he will be fully recovered or not remains to be seen. As such, experienced big man Denis Marconato, do-it-all forward Jordi Trias and especially center Fran Vazquez have to step up right when it matters. Above all, Barcelona has a package of experience, talent, depth and athleticism that turns the team into a potential nightmare for all its opponents.

AXA FC Barcelona general manager Zoran Savic: "We could have imagined the composition of our group before the draw, but now it's clear. This is a tough group, but it may become easy in the near future. I think that Groups D and E are more difficult than the other two. We start with two games away, but we will play at home three of the last four games. There is no easy team in the Top 16. All of them have quality and potential. I hope that Olympiacos will manage the things in the proper way and we will make it"