24 hours left, then we will officially enter the new season. Montepaschi Siena and MapoOro (main sponsor for this competition only) Cantu will get on the court at the 105 Stadium, Rimini, tip-off at 7PM CET. The Italian Supercup has a new sponsor this year and the event name is "Beko Supercoppa 2012".
Seventeen years have passed since Virtus Bologna clinched the cup in 1995, the first edition ever. That game was won by Bologna for 90-72 against Treviso and Orlando Woolridge was named MVP of the competition. Woolridge, who had left Treviso for joining Bologna early that summer, died last May when he was 53. That was the first Supercup title earned by Virtus Bologna and it is also the last so far.
Benetton Treviso lost its right to challenge in the Italian serie A last summer and will restart from the so called Promozione league next year heading to get back to the pro basketball in a near future. Seventeen years and much more have passed since 1995. Siena and Cantu will be on the court tomorrow trying to get the title in the 18th edition of the cup just as it happened 12 months ago when Siena clinched its 5th consecutive Supercup title. Both of the teams faced a lot of changes during last summer and this makes it, for the first in the last 5 seasons, a very unpredictable game.
Montepaschi Siena At the end of a great era Siena have to prove that they can still count on its recent glorious tradition and on its winning mentality built up during the last decade. Simone Pianigiani left after six italian titles and flew to Turkey after signing with Fenerbahce. Bo McCalebb and David Andersen joined him. Shaun Stonerook, who's probably the best tactical player seen in the italian league in the last ten years, retired at the end of last season. Kaukenas and Lavrinovic got back to Lithuania and joined Zalgiris. All of these changes make Siena a very different team now, but Minucci and the staff did a great job on the market starting from the head coach. Luca Banchi , who's been the assistant of Pianigiani for years, is the link between the past and the future just as David Moss, Carraretto and Ress. Moreover they signed a bunch of top players from other italian teams just as Daniel Hackett, Matt Janning, Kristjan Kangur and Viktor Sanikidze. At the point they added Bobby Brown, who's doing very good in the pre-season and at shooitng guard position they inked Marcelus Kemp. Under the boards Mario Kasun and Ben Eze (another actor of the mentioned glorious past) will battle hard replacing Andersen and Lavrinovic. Forecast : Siena is no longer the team that reigned for six years, but has mantained a top level roster and a top level coach. Key factors will be the impact of Kasun and Eze under the boards and the performance of point guard Bobby Brown.
Mapooro Cantu A three seasons project ended this summer. The team reached the the italian cup final game twice, the playoffs final series once and the supercup game once but didn't got a single title as always defeated by Siena. Moreover Cantu got back to the Euroleague last year and almost reached the playoffs thanks to amazing performances against all of the european top teams. Lots of changes last summer as Micov signed with CSKA Moscow and Shermadini joined Maccabi Tel-Aviv. Coach Trinchieri is going to get in the battle again with a different roster and players with very different skills this season. If Cantu did great with a very tactical system, the market brought a new philosophy. Very athletical players just as Center Alex Tyus and point guard Jerry Smith joind the squad. Two main actors of the national italian team as Aradori and Cusin were added. Jeff Brooks who had a great season in the Legadue last year will face this new challenge at a higher level at spot '3'. A very important part of the core nucleus has remained in any case. Marty Leunen will keep on bringing points and rebounds just as being a point of reference on the court, while Mazzarino proved last season and in this pre-season that is still a deadly shooter altough he's 37 years old. Manuchar Markoishvili is back to Cantu after a great summer with the georgian national team. Tabu, Kudlacek and Scekic will be key players too in a very complete roster Forecast: Is this game going to be the first good chance to clinch a title for Cantu? It could be for sure, but Trinchieri and his players had a very short time to build a good team chemistry (as 5 key players spent the summer with their national team) and this could become a problem for them at their official debut in the season.
I had the opportunity to have a little chat with the new UCC Assigeco Piacenza signing, Gilvydas Biruta (203-PF-91, college: Rhode Island). He started the season at Aries Trikalla BC in Greek A1 league. In 21 games he recorded 11.0ppg, 7.0rpg and 1.5apg this season. Biruta ended the last season at GS Lavrio (also in A1) where in 5 games he averaged 3.4ppg and 2.2rpg. But the most of that year he spent at Neptunas Klaipeda in Lithuanian LKL. In 21 games he had 3.5ppg and 2.4rpg. Biruta hel... [read more]