Virtus Roma made its first big roster move of the offseason by adding big man Ali Traore, who was the 10th best scorer in the Euroleague regular season, to its frontcourt. Traore (208, 25) arrives from Asvel Basket of France, which he took to the brink of a Top 16 qualification last season as the team’s top scorer and rebounder. He finished with averages of 14.5 points and 5.6 rebounds, which added up to his ranking among the best 30 performers overall in the 2009-10 Euroleague regular season. A native of the Ivory Coast, Traore has played his entire professional career in France until now. He started with two seasons at Asvel, moved to Quimper, Roanne and Le Havre, then returned to Lyon-Villeurbanne for the last two seasons, winning the French League title in 2008-09 and the French Semaine des As cup last season. Traore started 10 games in the Euroleague for Asvel last season, making 57.4% of his two-point shots and 75% of his free throws. On a per-minute basis, he was the regular season’s seventh-best scorer. Roma and Traore signed a two-year contract with an option for another.
“This is a very important signing for our club,” Roma head coach Matthew Boniciolli said. “Alis is a great player who will give us more strength under the basket in view of the new size of the lane and the longer three-point line. He’s a great presence in the low post, ambidextrous, with great sensitivity in his hands. He will give us more depth in the development of our game and this is very important for the Euroleague.”