EuroLeague signings: Inside moves

Sep 20, 2021 by Print
EuroLeague signings: Inside moves

It was an unusually busy summer market for the tallest men on Turkish Airlines EuroLeague courts, with some big players with big names changing teams in attempts to alter the balance of power in the paint. Here are some of the major centers and power forwards who will be wearing new EuroLeague jerseys this season.

Devin Booker, Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul

Despite having an injury-troubled season, Devin Booker posted great numbers with Khimki Moscow Region. He shot the ball well from all distances (58.7% 2FG, 37.5% 3FG) and averaged 13.1 points and 5.7 rebounds in 15 EuroLeague games. Booker is a great athlete who often finishes above the rim as well as a great offensive rebounder (2.1 orpg. last season). He is set to start his fourth EuroLeague season and is used to playing with a lot of talented players around him. He looks like a great fit for Fenerbahce.

Moustapha Fall, Olympiacos Piraeus

His combination of size, quick hands and determination is rarely seen at any level. Moustapha Fall shocked fans and experts alike in his first EuroLeague season with LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne. Fall ended up averaging 8.8 points on 70.1% two-point shooting (fifth overall), 5.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists. He has learned to use his size in the paint to generate advantages, not just for him, but also for his brand new Olympiacos Piraeus teammates.

Othello Hunter, FC Bayern Munich

FC Bayern Munich needed size and experience in the paint and found the perfect player in Othello Hunter, who is still going strong at age 35. Hunter posted good numbers for Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv in his eighth EuroLeague season with 8.0 points and 5.3 rebounds in 27 games. Hunter was third in offensive rebounds (2.4 per game), only trailing Nikola Milutinov and Edy Tavares. A EuroLeague champion with CSKA Moscow in 2019, Hunter has the know-how and intensity required to lead Bayern's frontcourt.

Tonye Jekiri, UNICS Kazan

Tonye Jekiri has established himself as a formidable force in the paint over the past two seasons with LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne and Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz, which led to UNICS Kazan signing him as a frontcourt anchor. He has been a top-five rebounder over the past two seasons both in accumulated boards (350) and by minute (11.6 per 40 minutes) and has averaged a double-double every seven games. He should remain among the league’s best rebounders in his first season with UNICS.

Jordan Mickey, Zenit St Petersburg

Even though Khimki Moscow Region did not have its best season, Jordan Mickey stood tall as the team's silent leader. He averaged 15.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and was third in the league with 1.5 blocks per game in 28 EuroLeague appearances last season. Mickey runs the floor well for a center and arrives in Zenit St Petersburg with three years of EuroLeague experience. Zenit head coach Xavi Pascual puts defense first and, in that sense, Mickey is an excellent fit.

Dinos Mitoglou, AX Armani Exchange Milan

Getting out of your comfort zone is often key to improving as a player and Dinos Mitoglou knows that better than most. Mitoglou played three years of college basketball at Wake Forest University before joining Panathinaikos OPAP Athens in 2017. He comes off a breakout season in which he averaged 9.3 points and 5.4 rebounds in 34 EuroLeague games. Mitoglou, who was the ninth-best per-minute rebounder (10.7 per 40 minutes) in the 2020-21 EuroLeague, joins AX Armani Exchange Milan to keep growing in a new environment.

Achille Polonara, Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul

No other player showed more improvement than power forward Achille Polonara last season. In 2019-20, Polonara averaged 3.1 points on 22.5% three-point shooting and 2.8 rebounds in 27 EuroLeague games with Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz. A year later, Polonara was worth 12.2 points on 44.3% three-point shooting, 6.6 rebounds, 1.2 steals and a PIR of 16.5. That's almost four times his 2019-20 PIR average, 4.2. Fully established as a EuroLeague star, Polonara will look to carve out a similar role with Fenerbahce.

Jalen Reynolds, Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv

Jalen Reynolds already played for Maccabi late in the 2019-20 EuroLeague season and averaged 5.7 points and 5.3 rebounds. When he left to FC Bayern Munich, nobody expected Reynolds to be back, but he surprised everybody with a career-defining campaign. Reynolds averaged 13.6 points on excellent shooting percentages (59.8% 2FG, 87.2% FT) and 5.8 rebounds in 39 games to help Bayern make the playoffs. He is back in Tel Aviv to offer his trademark intensity, hustle and winning mentality.

Sertac Sanli, FC Barcelona

Sertac Sanli was critical to Anadolu Efes Istanbul's success. Sanli showcased his elite pick-and-roll skills as a mobile center with three-point range, great hands and outstanding determination. He averaged 7.8 points in 34 games and only Tibor Pleiss and EuroLeague MVP Vasilije Micic had a better PIR average per 40 minutes (22.0) for the champs last season. Sanli arrives in Barcelona with confidence as he heads abroad for the first time.

Guerschon Yabusele, Real Madrid

Real Madrid added versatility and presence in the paint by signing power forward Guerschon Yabusele, who comes off a strong season with LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne. Yabusele averaged 11.0 points on 38.4% three-point shooting (taking 3.7 per game) and 4.2 rebounds in 30 EuroLeague games with ASVEL. He had one of his best games – with 21 points and 7 rebounds – against Real in the Spanish capital. At age 25, Yabusele is ready for bigger challenges, like playing for the winningest team in European basketball history.