Club profile: Zenit St Petersburg

Aug 14, 2019 by Print

The 2018-19 season did not go according to plan for Zenit St. Petersburg, which battled injuries and underwent its first coaching change in six years. The club had a good start in the 7DAYS EuroCup Regular Season, winning three of its first four games, including a brilliant 104-93 victory against Valencia Basket. Zenit became the first time to score at least 100 points against Valencia in EuroCup action. Even though Zenit added only one more win in this phase, it qualified to the Top 16. Joan Plaza replaced Vasiliy Karasev as the team's head coach, but that was not enough to lift the team through a tough Top 16 group that featured two of the eventual semifinalists, UNICS Kazan and Morabanc Andorra. Zenit also had ups and downs in the VTB United League; it beat CSKA Moscow, but lost games that were easier on paper and ranked fifth at the end of the regular season with a 15-11 record. Zenit knocked off Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar in the quarterfinals before being swept by CSKA in the semifinals, losing Games 2 and 3 by a combined margin of 3 points. Zenit plans to build on that disappointment and comes to the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague for the first time looking to leave its mark.


2018-19 EuroCup 6-10 Top 16
2017-18 EuroCup 11-8 Quarterfinal
2016-17 EuroCup 9-7 Quarterfinal
2015-16 EuroCup 13-5 Eighthfinal
2014-15 EuroCup 8-10 Eighthfinal
2012-13 EuroCup 8-4 Last 16
2009-10 EuroCup 3-3 Regular Season
2007-08 ULEB Cup 9-3 Last 32
TOTAL: 117 67-50

Zenit St. Petersburg first became a well-known name in Europe thanks to its successful football club, which boasts Russian League championships and the 2008 UEFA Cup and has seen greats of the game such as Hulk from Brazil and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk of Ukraine wear its colors. St. Petersburg has also experienced basketball greatness too; Spartak, previously known as Kondrashin Belov, won the Saporta Cup twice in the 1970s and later launched the career of Andrei Kirilenko. Dynamo captured the 2004-05 FIBA Europe League with a perfect record under the tutelage of Coach David Blatt. In 2014, Zenit stepped into the ring determined to bring great basketball back to the city. After acquiring the Russian League allocation from Triumph Lyubertsy, Zenit St. Petersburg was founded in 2014 and able to immediately compete at the highest levels both domestically and internationally. Zenit proved up to the challenge as, behind Walter Hodge and Dmitry Kulagin, it qualified for the 2015 EuroCup Eighthfinals before losing against eventual champion Khimki Moscow Region. A year later, along with success in the EuroCup, Zenit had a great domestic run in the VTB League. With Ryan Toolson and Janis Timma among its stars, Zenit finished the regular season in third place and swept Avtodor Saratov in the quarterfinals to make the semifinals for the first time ever. Zenit came within one win of the finals, but lost the series against UNICS Kazan in the maximum five games. Zenit had a 2-0 lead in the 2016-17 VTB semifinals, but ended up losing to Khimki. It also reached the EuroCup playoffs, where it fell to Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar in the quarterfinals. Zenit had a similar 2017-18 season, in which is reached the EuroCup playoffs and the VTB semifinals, but lost to Reggio Emilia and CSKA Moscow, respectively. Kyle Kuric was the EuroCup Top 16 MVP, but he couldn't get Zenit past the quarterfinals. Last season, Zenit fell in the EuroCup Top, 16 but improved after Joan Plaza became its new head coach and ousted Lokomotiv in the VTB quarterfinals before losing against CSKA in the semis. Zenit has a combination of financial muscle, experience, a strong fan base and an extraordinary city, components which together give Zenit an excellent starting point as it makes its maiden voyage into the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague.