This weekend will tip-off the 2012-13 season in Cyprus, one in which will see three teams participating in EuroChallenge play; reigning champions Michelin Etha Engomis Nicosia, runners-ups and regular season champions Keravnos Strovolou, and Pizza Express Apollon Limassol, which entered the competition via the qualifying round. With new imports, returning stars and the added spotlight of international competition, this season has a chance to be very special. Here we will look at some of the key figures for the top teams this season.
Dragan Ceranic (212-C-76, agency: Beo Basket) (Etha): 7-0 Serbian center has had a successful and remarkably durable career over the past 13 seasons. Ceranic, who will turn 36 in December, joins Etha after playing with KAO Dramas in Greece last season where he averaged 8.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 24 games. In his first season in Cyprus Ceranic will help Etha in the pick-and-roll game as well as defending the paint. Knows how to get the job done at the highest level (Euroleague, Euro Cup, EuroChallenge, Baltic League).
Tony Crocker (201-G/F-87, college: Oklahoma) (Keravnos Strovolou): Already off to a fantastic start after leading Kervanos to the Super Cup title this past weekend over Michelin Etha Engomis Nicosia, the 6-7 Crocker is poised for a stellar campaig. In his third professional season, the former Oklahoma Sooner is a multifaceted scorer, able to score off the pull up and attack his man on the dribble. Very athletic, Crocker moves well without the ball and utilizes his teammates screens to get open for scoring opportunitites. In the Super Cup Final he scored a game-high 30 points for Kervanos. Professionally has played the past two seasons in Hungary and Finland, averaging 17.0 points and 19.3 points respectively.
Georgios Diamantopoulos (196-F/G-80) (Keravnos Strovolou): Back for another season in Cyprus, Georgios Diamantopoulos is a former Greek National Team representative who will team with Tony Crocker to form one of the most formidable one-two punches in the league. A 6-5 shooting guard, Georgios Diamantopoulos followed Crocker's 30 points in the Super Cup victory with 18 of his own and his experience (32) along with scoring accumen should have him at the top of the points scored charts all season.
MaJic Dorsey (185-PG-81, college: S.Indiana) (Pizza Express Apollon): Makes his European debut this season with Apollon this season after having re-written the FIBA record books last year in Mexico. As a member of Aguillas Rojas de San Juan del Rio, Dorsey on back to back games set the LNBP (top division) record with 21 assists and then the FIBA world record of 23 assists, 44 in two contests! Despite his pass-first mentality MaJic has been able to show over and over again his world-class scoring ability as well, evidenced by his 30.5ppg average for Aguillas Rojas (#1 in the league) on 53.9% shooting as he took home Latinbasket.com All-Mexican LNBP Player of the Year honors. One of the quickest players not only in Cyprus this season, but also the EuroChallenge, Dorsey is adept at finding his teammates in the right positions and keeping his defender off-balance with an array of miss-direction looks and fakes. Along with Tony Crocker of Kervanos, these two players look to be the favorites to bring home the most team and individual hardware this season. In leading Apollon to EuroChallenge group play, Dorsey led all players in the qualifying round with an 8.0apg average along with scoring 36 points over the two contests.
Prodromos Nikolaidis (201-F-78) (Pizza Express Apollon): A veteran 6-8 forward with Cypriot/Greek nationalities, who joins Apollon after spending last season with Marousi in Greece where he averaged 9.9 points, 1.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.1 steals in 19 games. For his career has proven to be an exceptional shooter from long-range and will help stretch the floor for Apollon and create driving lanes for Dorsey and their wing players.
Dante Stiggers (188-PG-82, college: S.Mississippi) (Cytavision Apoel Nicosia): After establishing himself as a bona fide stud in Belarus to begin his career, the 30-year old Dante Stiggers has spent the last two seasons in Cyprus and Greece and now will be back to lead Apoel this season. The 6-2 guard who has played for the Belorussian National Team since 2010, has a quick first step and scores well off the dribble. Last season with PAOK Thessaloniki he appeared in 26 games averaging 5.1 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists. With his experience playing in Eurocup and for in European Championship qualifications this will be a player with the talent and experience to keep an eye on this season.
Panagiotis Trisokkas (206-F/C-80) (Keravnos Strovolou): A mainstay of Kervanos, Trisokkas is a 6-9 forward/center who has played in either Eurocup or EuroChallenge competitions nearly his entire career. An efficient three-point shooter he excels on pick-and-pop situations.
Isaac Wells (203-F-85, college: Arkansas St.) (Cytavision Apoel Nicosia): A bruising 6-8 power forward out of Arkansas State, Wells is in his first season with Apoel after having played previously in Italy, Switzerland and Bulgaria. Wells brings a high-level of energy and takes pride in his efforts on both ends of the floor.
Apoel has agreed terms with Antonis Konstantinides to take over the team for the rest of the season plus for next year. Tonis, as we call him, is taking over Apoel in a difficult point as the team battles against Aek next Friday for the playoffs. The 38 year-old coach reached the pinnacle of his career in June 2012 when he was appointed as the Men's Basketball National Team head coach. Tonis is distinguished for his hard work, very good pre-season preparation and discipline. Between t... [read more]
Apoel has agreed terms with Antonis Konstantinides to take over the team for the rest of the season plus for next year. Tonis, as we call him, is taking over Apoel in a difficult point as the team battles against Aek next Friday for the playoffs.
The 38 year-old coach reached the pinnacle of his career in June 2012 when he was appointed as the Men's Basketball National Team head coach. Tonis is distinguished for his hard work, very good pre-season preparation and discipline.
Between the years 2008-2012 he had been Etha's head coach which he led to historical titles. Specifically he has won 2 championships, 1 cup and 1 super cup.
In the year 2013-2014 he has also won the championship as Apoel's coach, while reaching the Cup-final.
Besides this, he led Etha in the Eurochallenge, disqualifying the all-mighty Artland Dragons, leading Etha in the Eurocup. In the Eurocup Etha had amazing appearances against many teams, like the Spartak-Saint Petersburg.
Taking a closer look at his record, coach Antonis Konstantinides is a terrific talent. He has successfully coached quite a few teams so far, including: 1996-1998: Coach of the Academies A.S Sourmena, Greece 1998-2000: Coach of the Academies PAEEK Kyrineias,Cyprus 2000-2003: Head Coach of the 2nd Team of Omonoia Nicosia 2003-2006: Head Coach of Omonoia Nicosia (Senior team) 2006-2008: Head Coach of PHILIPS College (Senior team) 2008-2012: Head Coach of Intercollege ETHA (Senior team) 2012-2014: Head Coach of B.C. APOEL Nicosia (Senior Team) 2014-2015: CS Energia Rovinari Targu Jiu (Romania-Liga Nationala) 2015-2016: CS Energia Rovinari Targu Jiu (Romania-Liga Nationala), in Jan.'16 signed at Sigal Prishtina (Kosovo-SuperLeague) 2016-2017: A.G.O Rethymno Aegean (Greece-A1)
National Team: 2008: Ass, Coach of U16 National Team Cyprus 2008-2011: Head Coach of Women National Team Cyprus. 2012-2013: Head Coach of Men's National Team Cyprus.
Besides his success as Etha's head coach, in his career he has great achievements that are worth mentioning. These include:
Among the few Cypriot coaches who have won all 3 titles in the same year (championship, cup, super-cup). Has won 2 consecutive championships, 2010-2011 and 2011-2012. Has led his team 5 consecutive times at the semi-finals (3 with Etha and 2 with Apoel) Has reached the final 4 consecutive times (2 with Etha and 2 with Apoel) Has a record in 'breaking' the home court disadvantage. In Cyprus, at least so far, breaking the home court disadvantage at the playoffs has been a significant achievement. oFirst, as Etha's head coach in 2010-2011 he won Apoel away at the semi-finals, reached the finals and won the championship. oIn 2011-2012, again as Etha's head coach, he won Apollon away at the semifinals and then he broke Keravnos's home court advantage at game 1 and won the championship. oIn 2012-2013 as Apoel's coach, he broke Keravnos's home court advantage twice at the semi-finals and reached the finals. oIn 2013-2014 as Apoel's coach, he turned a 0-2 disadvantage to a 3-2 advantage, breaking at the same time Keravnos's home court and reached the finals where he won the title. Has succeeded important Eurochallenge victories against Triumph in Russia and against Olin in Turkey. Has been awarded as the 'Coach of the year' in 2009-2010, 2010-2011, 2011-2012 and 2013-2014. Coach Assistant: Romanian League All-Star Game -15 Romanian Supercup Finalist -15 EuroChallenge Semifinals -15 Romanian League Semifinals -15 Kosovo Cup Winner -16 Balkan League Champion -16 Kosovo League Regular Season Runner-Up -16 Kosovo League Champion -16 Eurobasket.com All-Kosovo League Coach of the Year -16 Head Coach: Albanian National Team -16
AEK Larnaca overcame Keravnos 62:58 in the Final of the Cyprus Cup to lift up the trophy. AEK needed the final push at the end of the game to seal the victory. They opened the game with a 20-10 lead, but the opponents replied with a massive 22-9 surge in the second frame. AEK reduced the gap with a 15-13 rally in the third quarter and won the game due to 18-13 run in the last stanza. Primoz Brezec (216-F/C-79) stepped up with 19 points to pace all the winners. Vladimir Dasic (207-PF-88)... [read more]
AEK Larnaca overcame Keravnos 62:58 in the Final of the Cyprus Cup to lift up the trophy. AEK needed the final push at the end of the game to seal the victory. They opened the game with a 20-10 lead, but the opponents replied with a massive 22-9 surge in the second frame. AEK reduced the gap with a 15-13 rally in the third quarter and won the game due to 18-13 run in the last stanza. Primoz Brezec (216-F/C-79) stepped up with 19 points to pace all the winners. Vladimir Dasic (207-PF-88) netted 11 and Tomislav Petrovic (202-F-85) scored 8. Ronald Ross (188-PG-83, college: Texas Tech) ended up with 16 points in the losing effort and Mohamed Abukar (208-F-85, college: San Diego St., agency: Two Points) added 13.
Aek succeeds a great win over Keravnos and wins the Cup Final with 62-58. In a close game in which both teams were bad behind the 3-point line (Aek had 7 in 24 and Keravnos 4 in 20) Primoz Brezec(216-F/C-79) finished the game with 19 and Dasic with 11 pts. In the loosing squad Ross had 16 and Abukar 13 pts. Both teams had around the same 2 point FG percentage (57% and 53% respectively) with Keravnos being way better from the FT line (Keravnos had 12 in 15 whereas Aek had 7 in 18).... [read more]
Aek succeeds a great win over Keravnos and wins the Cup Final with 62-58.
In a close game in which both teams were bad behind the 3-point line (Aek had 7 in 24 and Keravnos 4 in 20) Primoz Brezec (216-F/C-79) finished the game with 19 and Dasic with 11 pts.
In the loosing squad Ross had 16 and Abukar 13 pts.
Both teams had around the same 2 point FG percentage (57% and 53% respectively) with Keravnos being way better from the FT line (Keravnos had 12 in 15 whereas Aek had 7 in 18).
We should remind that Aek disqualified Apoel and Keravnos disqualified ENP at the semifinal.
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