2010-11 Team Focus: Cholet Basket

Sep 23, 2010 by Euroleague.net Print
Fabien Causeur
Antwayne Robinson
Luc-Arthur Vebobe
Meredis Houmounou
Sammy Mejia
Claude Marquis
Christophe Leonard
Romain Dupont
Randal Falker
Vule Avdalovic
DeMarcus Nelson
Kevin Idomenee
Head Coach: Erman Kunter
Coach Talk with Erman Kunter
Cholet BasketCholet Basket has written a brilliant page in its team history by winning the French League and earning the right to reach the Euroleague for the first time in a decade. To take advantage of that opportunity, Cholet will try to challenge for a Top 16 spot in difficult Group C. Cholet returns top gun Sammy Mejia, who led the team to the French crown last season, while it also welcomes experienced playmaker Vule Advalovic and swingman DeMarcus Nelson for an interesting, versatile backcourt. Cholet is set to run the floor just as it did last season with athletic big men Antywane Robinson and Randal Falker back to lead its frontcourt. Blue-collar center Claude Marquis, back after being sent on loan last season, rebounding machine Luc-Arthur Vebobe and promising big man Romain Duport round a deep frontcourt battery. Cholet is ready to make opponents uncomfortable in this year's regular season, especially at home, as the team battles hard to show it belongs.

Randal Falker - Cholet Basket

Cholet did not hesitate to bring a talented floor general with great determination in Advalovic. At age 28, Avdalovic is ready to show injuries are a thing of the past and he has a good chance to prove his defensive skills and court sense on the biggest European stage. A pair of up-and-coming youngsters, Meredis Houmounou and Kevin Idomenee, will back up Avdalovic, offering their intensity and athleticism off the bench. Fabien Causeur is set to see playing time at both guards due to his ball-handling, defense and penetration skills. He may see more minutes at backup point guard depending on Houmounou's progression. Mejia will keep doing what he does best – scoring from every angle. A great shooter with unlimited range, Mejia wll lead Cholet's backcourt yet again this season. He will have a good complement in Nelson, a solid defensive player who knows how to use his explosiveness to score in transition. Christophe Leonard may see some minutes as the backup small forward.

Robinson and Falker return to play the bulk of the minutes around the baskets. Robinson, who can play at both forward spots, has deep shooting range and runs the floor really well. He will see most of the minutes at power forward to make the most out of his athletic skills. Falker is an undersized big man who never gives up. A great offensive rebounder, Falker offers tremendous intensity and hustle. Marquis is an old-school center with solid post skills, size and strength. A classic player set to play his 12th season with Cholet, Marquis will be more motivated than anyone to lead the team to bigger heights. Vebobe is a very interesting addition, as he was the French League's best rebounder last season. Vebobe is right at the prime of his career with a unique chance to showcase his intensity, power and aggressiveness. All the Cholet big men, however, struggle at the free throw line, which can be a problem in the long run. Duport has a lot to improve, but being 2.17 meters tall, he will alter shots and intimidate while trying to improve his post skills and overall offensive game. The various options coach Erman Kunter has up front give Cholet many possibilities against all opponents.
Sammy Mejia - Cholet Basket
Now entering the prime of his career, swingman Sammy Mejia steps up to the Euroleague with a chance to establish himself as one of the best scorers in Europe. Last season he was the Eurocup’s regular season scoring king and Cholet Basket’s top gun in the French League. This year, for the first time since finishing college, Mejia will spend a second straight season with the same team, and that alone should help him find his groove early enough to be confident playing against Europe's best teams.

When it comes to scoring, there is little Mejia can’t do. He is a fantastic jump shooter with great range, which means the new longer three-point line should not affect him much. His ball control and quickness helps keep defenders off balance so Mejia can get to the rim, where owns an array of moves with which to finish. One thing that separates Mejia from other elite scorers is his playmaking ability. A skilled passer with excellent court vision, Mejia punishes double teams because he can seemingly without effort find and hit the open man for easy points. Rounding out a strong all-around game is his prowess at rebounding. Mejia’s nose for the ball helps him track down missed shots on the defensive end that often lead to points in transition. On the offensive side, Mejia fearlessly attacks the glass and gets more than his fair share for a shooting guard.

Throughout three seasons in European basketball, Mejia has steadily improved by adapting his game to his team’s needs. On a balanced Cholet team, that can mean not only scoring, but creating shots for teammates and locking down on opponent's key scorer on defense. Mejia does it all with spirit and determination. Surely the step up in caliber to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague will be his greatest test yet, but few would be surprised to see him ace this test and stand out this season among the very best.