2011-12 Qualifying Rounds Profile: PAOK BC

Sep 12, 2011 by Euroleague.net Print
PAOK
2010-11 Results
Eurocup
Regular Season:
3-3
Greek League:
3rd place
Greek Cup:
Semifinalist
One of the storied clubs in Greek basketball history, PAOK BC, aims to ace the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Qualifying Rounds this fall and make a return to the continent’s top competition after more than a decade away. PAOK started as a sports club in Thessaloniki in 1926 and opened its basketball section two years later. The first run was short-lived, but after World War II, PAOK turned to basketball again and the rest is history. The club claimed its first Greek League title in 1959, but its glory years did not come until the 1980s. PAOK reached the Greek Cup final in 1982 and was second in the 1983 Greek League behind archrival Aris. In 1984, PAOK took revenge by downing Aris for its first Greek Cup title. Scoring machine Bane Prelevic joined PAOK in 1988 and took the team to a new level. In 1991, Prelevic led PAOK to the Saporta Cup title by downing CAI Zaragoza 76-72 in the final played in Geneva, Switzerland. PAOK conquered its second Greek League in 1992 and got back to the Saporta Cup final, but a buzzer-beating jumper by Ricky Brown gave Real Madrid a 63-65 win and the trophy. PAOK earned the right to play in the 1992-93 Euroleague and battled its way to the Final Four in Athens. Benetton stood in the way and edged PAOK 77-79 in the semifinal. Prelevic, Walter Berry and Zoran Savic led PAOK to the 1994 Korac Cup trophy by sweeping Stefanel Trieste in the two-game final. That season, PAOK returned to the Greek League finals, though it lost to Olympiacos amid controversy. PAOK added Greek Cups in 1995 and 1999 and reached the Greek League finals again in 1998 and 2000. The club moved to PAOK Sports Arena in 2000, but Prelevic retired soon after that and, despite appearing in the 2000-01 Euroleague, PAOK has not competed for any titles since then. Led by Matt Nielsen, PAOK reached the ULEB Cup quarterfinals in 2004-05 before losing against eventual champion Lietuvos Rytas. Last season, PAOK played the Eurocup but missed the Last 16 on a tiebreaker. PAOK nonetheless strung together an impressive run in Greece by placing third in the regular season and reaching the semifinals in both the Greek Cup and league playoffs.

Head coach Soulis Markopoulos has a new-look team for the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Qualifying Rounds that is deep on the perimeter and promises some exciting action. Playmaker Dante Stiggers joined the club late last season and impressed enough to come back and lead the attack again. Rashad Wright and Donnie McGrath will team with Stiggers in the backcourt, which means the team could play at times with multiple ball-handlers. Veteran swingman Ioannis Kalampokis, who has already played in the Euroleague with three different teams, brings that experience and his all-around game to help the squad. The athletic Mihalis Giannakidis promises to make an impact on the defensive end. On the interior, PAOK bided its time before choosing experience and size to go along youngsters Dimitris Arapis, Dimitrios Kalampakas and Nikos Kalles, whoe all saw limited action last season, but will get a chance to prove their respective abilities. The experience belongs to veteran power forward Demos Dikoudis, a former European champion, World Championships silver medalist and Greek League MVP. The size belongs to 2.18-meter Martynas Andriuskevicius, who arrives from the Spanish League to become a major contributor. Together, they must maximize PAOK’S chances of success when the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Qualifying Rounds start in Vilnius on September 29.
Dante Stiggers
Dante Stiggers

ROSTER
Dimitris Arapis
F
Michail Giannakidis
G
Nikos Kalles
C
Dimitrios Kalampakas
F
Dante Stiggers More
G
Rashad Wright More
G
Ioannis Kalampokis More
G
M. Andriuskevicius More
C
Demos Dikoudis More
F
Head Coach:
Anastasios Markopoulos
More