Pre-draw profile: Gescrap BB

Dec 27, 2011 by Print
Marko Banic - Gescrap BB
Marko Banic
Gescrap BBThe scenes at Bilbao Arena after the final game of the 2011-12 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Regular Season won’t soon be forgotten for Gescrap BB fans. The “men in black” knocked off rival Caja Laboral to reach the Top 16 in their debut season in the continent’s premier basketball competition. In just its 12th season, Gescrap BB is on the cusp of true greatness and is now eager to prove to the rest of Europe how great it can be by marching through the Top 16 and fighting for a spot in the playoffs. Founded in 2000, Bilbao has marched along a road of success that started in the Spanish third division. Not the first professional basketball club in the city, Bilbao tapped into a ready base of eager basketball fans as it moved up almost a division per year under head coach Txus Vidorreta and future All-Euroleague superstar Tiago Splitter. In 2004, Bilbao aced the second-division playoffs to qualify for the top Spanish League. Bilbao finished 14th overall in its debut Spanish League season and started to make noise soon after. Bilbao used a core of players featuring Javier Salgado, Marko Banic, Martin Rancik, Luke Recker and Andy Panko to finish 10th in the 2006-07 Spanish League. The next year Marcelinho Huertas and Quincy Lewis helped Bilbao climb even higher and get to the Spanish League playoff quarterfinals, the Spanish King's Cup semifinals and the Spanish Supercup title game. In 2008-09, Bilbao beat all expectations in its Eurocup debut season, finishing the regular season unbeaten and winning its Last 16 group to reach the Final Eight. Bilbao then beat Zadar 76-67 in the quarterfinals behind 21 points from Janis Blums, but was unable to beat BC Khimki in the semifinals. The club also returned to the Spanish League playoffs that season. Fotis Katsikaris became head coach early in the 2009-10 season and Bilbao returned to the Eurocup semifinals with stars like Banic, Alex Mumbru and Axel Hervelle leading the way until losing against Alba Berlin in the semis. Banic was chosen as the 2009-10 Eurocup MVP. Last season Bilbao focused on the Spanish League and did not stop until it had knocked off Power Electronics Valencia in the quarterfinals and Real Madrid in the semis to register its best results in the competition. The momentum ran out against FC Barcelona Regal in the finals, but what had been accomplished was already enough to earn a Euroleague berth and give this always-ambitious club a chance to take its game to a new level against the very best on the continent. Starting with an opening night victory over Olympiacos and continuing with tough road wins in Vitoria and Istanbul –plus the fact that four of its losses came by single digits – Gescrap BB proved it was up to the Euroleague challenge. Now the challenge continues in the Top 16 and there is little doubt that this team will be ready on each and every night to fight for more prestigious wins and for a shot at the playoffs.