Group C analysis and video interviews

Oct 08, 2015 by Print
Group C analysis and video interviews

Three former Euroleague champions, FC Barcelona Lassa, Panathinaikos Athens and Zalgiris Kaunas, go against one of the fastest-rising teams in Europe, Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar, and two national champs, Stelmet Zielona Gora and Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir.

Euroleague superstars all over

You will find some of the most experienced players in the competition in Group C, stars who have been in the competition for many years. Juan Carlos Navarro of FC Barcelona Lassa is the Euroleague's all-time leading scorer (3,674) and Dimitris Diamantidis of Panathinaikos Athens leads the all-time charts in assists (1,146), steals (414) and performance index ranking (3,538). It is impossible to picture Barcelona and Panathinaikos without Navarro and Diamantidis, respectively. Barcelona signed Carlos Arroyo, who remains a dominant playmaker at age 36. Robertas Javtokas and Paulius Jankunas will team up in Zalgiris Kaunas's paint for the fifth consecutive season. Szymon Szewczyk joined Stelmet Zielona Gora and will play in the Euroleague for the first time since the 2005-06 season - at age 32. The senior-most player in the group is Kerem Gonlum of Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir, who will turn 38 in November. Jankunas is fourth on the Euroleague’s career rebounding list (1,178) and Gonlum is fifth (1,161).

Great home crowds

Some of the best basketball atmospheres will be seen in Group C, starting with Karsiyaka. It boasts the loudest crowd roar at an indoor sports event ever, literally, having set the world record at 126.5 decibels. Threshold of pain begins around 125 dB and a jet taking off makes around the same noise level, so road teams can expect loud fans in Izmir. Zalgiris will get outstanding support at home, as its fans are as dedicated and passionate as any out there. Euroleague games in Kaunas will be a basketball celebration and Zalgiris fans will be their team's sixth man at Zalgirio Arena. Of course, Panathinaikos will be backed by a sea of green fans at Olympic Sports Center Athens. With Lokomotiv and Zielona Gora returning to the Euroleague and Barcelona bringing in many new players to put together an exciting team, great crowds are guaranteed in this group!

Big teams rebuilt

Barcelona landed some seven new players in an attempt to bounce back from a rare title-free season. The team fortified its frontcourt with Samardo Samuels, Shane Lawal and sharpshooter Sasha Vezenkov, while also adding experienced players in Arroyo, Pau Ribas and Stratos Perperoglou. Panathinaikos brought in a new coach, Sasha Djordjevic; two new centers, Miroslav Raduljica and Ognjen Kuzmic; and returned former champion Nick Calathes to run the team's offense alongside Diamantidis. Karsiyaka signed a pair of very good athletes for its backcourt, Joe Ragland and Justin Carter, as well as Gonlum. Zielona Gora made a lot of changes, but the arrivals of Dee Bost, Ponitka, Szewczyk and Vlad Moldoveanu, among others, make the team stronger. Zalgiris brought back Mantas Kalnietis and Martynas Pocius, as well as Renaldas Seibutis and Ian Vougioukas; all are well-rounded players ready to battle and who know what it takes to compete at this level.

All about playmakers

Group C is a lock to deliver great tactical battles, both on the court and the sidelines. Two of the coaches in Group C (Xavi Pascual of Barcelona and Georgios Bartzokas of Lokomotiv) are Euroleague winners, two others (Djorjdevic and Ufuk Sarica of Karsiyaka) won as players and the other two (Gintaras Krapikas of Zalgiris and Saso Filipovski of Zielona Gora) have enjoyed long careers at this level. The group is also full of great point guards; Zalgiris relies on Kalnietis and Lukas Lekavicius at the point, with the help of assistant coach and Euroleague legend Sarunas Jasikevicius, who will have a big influence on them. Arroyo and Tomas Satoransky will give Barcelona plenty of different options, just as Diamantidis and Calathes, who know what it takes to win a Euroleague title together (2011). Lukasz Koszarek and Dee Bost of Zielona Gora is a very interesting point guard duo. Malcolm Delaney and Dontaye Draper will offer experience and plenty of scoring power for Lokomotiv. The arrival of Kenan Sipahi to Karsiyaka to complement Joe Ragland makes their team rock-solid in terms of point guard consistency.