SHe has only retained 5 of the 14 players who ever wore his jersey last season: Giedraitis, Peters, and the young Sedekerskis, Kurucs, and Raieste. A revolution that has seen 4 of its 6 top contributors in points and valuation heading to other clubs this summer. Together and with all the outputs, the Basques have “lost” more than 60% of the total team in both categories. A tsunami that, in other circumstances or on other equipment, could cause great uncertainties and cautious expectations.
This is not the case of the Baskonia, used to this type of summer transformation. And it is that, in the last decade, there have been many seasons in which more than half of its staff changed shirts at the end of the competition. Recent examples are the teams from 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016 or 2017. Those squads underwent profound changes (less than 6 players continued) that did not, however, lower the ambition of the club. The result of this was, for example, the Euroleague Final Four in 2016 or the ACB title in 2020.
Seven new faces
The fans from Vitoria, accustomed to this modus operandi, do not distrust the level of competitiveness that their team will put into the fray. Learn about the club’s maneuverability and scouting skills, which make the squad every September arouse excitement and high expectations. This has also happened this summer with the arrivals of Baldwin IV (Bayern Munich), Fontecchio (Alba Berlin), Marinkovic (Valencia Basket), Costello (Gran Canaria), Nnoko (Red Star) and Enoch (Obradoiro), and with the return of Granger (Alba Berlin).
These seven signings draw an optimistic scenario, both for the quality and individual talent of each of them, and for their characteristics and style of play. They all seem to fit like a glove into the mantras that Dusko Ivanovic wants for Baskonia in the 2021-2022 season: aggressiveness, physical game, speed, outside shooting and versatility.
And, taking a quick look at the squad of this new Baskonia, we see that practically all the players can play in at least two different positions. Starting with the point guards -Baldwin, Granger and Kurucs already know what it is to help as guards-, continuing with the forwards, and ending with the centers. We saw Peters as a forward last year, and both Costello and Enoch are becoming less shy with the 3-pointer.
Steal, run, score
“Athletic play and lots of energy“, promised Baldwin IV on his arrival in Vitoria. This aspect has been taken into account when selecting new recruits. Size, physical capacity and mobility are virtues that have been sought with zeal in the creation of the block, especially in the inner game. The times of Scola or Shengelia, references in the low post, are already history. Continuations, face play, offensive rebound and transitions will be the main ways of contribution for the Costello, Enoch or Nnoko, from whom intimidation and rebounding from their own basket are also expected.
If last season we saw how Baskonia lived happier when it was nourished by recoveries and the game in transition, in this new campaign a similar scenario can be foreseen, although more pronounced if possible. And this is where the role of Giedraitis, Fontecchio, Peters and Marinkovic it seems key. All four generate high expectations for their ability to open opposing defensive cans thanks to their marksmanship. If the American and the Lithuanian match or increase their contribution from last year, and Marinkovic and Fontecchio adapt properly, we could be facing one of the best shooter batteries in Europe.
In a separate chapter are “the youth” of this Baskonia. Last season was the confirmation of Tadas Sedekerskis (4.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 7.6 PIR being the eighth most used player by Dusko Ivanovic), and in this the challenge moves to Kurucs and Raieste, who will fight to acquire a role less testimonial and more productive.
Jayson Granger and Alec Peters will be captains
Taking advantage of the presentation of Wade Baldwin IV and Jayson Granger, the sports director of Baskonia, Félix Fernández, revealed the name of the player who will succeed Ilimane Diop as captain.
The chosen one is the Uruguayan point guard, who will exercise this role with the help of Alec Peters. “He has already been leading these days together with Alec Peters and for us it is a pleasure that Jayson can provide us with stability and knowledge. Both the club, the squad and the coach trust them and have decided to be their captains,” he explained .
On his new responsibility, Granger declared that “to be captain of Baskonia and to be able to represent the values ??of the club is something incredible. I will try to be a good leader both on and off the pitch.” His mission, as he himself acknowledged, will be “to teach my teammates what it means to wear this shirt and what ‘Baskonia Character’ is”.