Bulgarian powerhouse Lukoil Academic didn’t start the season in the way they wanted it to start, after being knocked out in the Preliminary Round of the 2010/2011 Eurocup by their Greek rival Aris Thessaloniki. However Jovica Arsic’s team found themselves in the group stage of the Eurochallenge – the competitin coming right behind the Euroleague and the Eurocup. Lukoil didn’t had any trouble going through Group C of the regular season and moved on to the Last 16, winning their first game away at Maccabi Haifa. Just a few days later, the Bulgarian media started discussing a possible new signing, American guard/forward named Devin Green, who just left his Chinese club.
It turns out that this isn’t a new situation for Lukoil, who have won the Bulgarian title for the last 8 years. Four years ago, in January 2006, another American player with NBA experience came to Lukoil – Donta Smith. Smith quickly became a fan-favorite and helped Lukoil win both the National Cup and the Championship this year. He actually spent a little less than two seasons with Lukoil, appearing in 45 games and averaging 15.9 points per game and winning back-to-back National Cups and Championships.
Now let’s get to the point – Devin Green. He came to Lukoil Academic just like Donta Smith, in the end of January, a player with a solid bio and NBA and NBDL experience. Green did above average in his first game (10 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists), despite the team’s home loss to Spartak St. Petersburg (63:71). The 28-year old American journeyman who has stints with the LA Lakers, the LA D-Fenders (NBDL), Rhein Energie (Germany), Teramo Basket (Italy), Oostende (Belgium) and the Shanghai Sharks (China) might turn out to be exactly what Lukoil Academic need in their chase of the Eurochallenge Final Four. Devin is a hard-worker, who without any doubt has the talent and just needs to work his way into Jovica Arsic’s rotation along with the team’s other new signing Lamont Mack.
In his latest update on his official facebook page Green says that he “is looking forward to finishing out the season on high note, after signing with Lukoil Academic in Bulgaria.”. So basketball fans around the Balkans and those following the Eurochallenge should definitely keep an eye on Devin Green of Lukoil Academic.