Final team in Group B to profile now, as we look at Polish giants Asseco Prokom.
Introduction: The Polish champions established themselves as the best team in the country in the last decade, which is clearly remarkable for a team that was created only in 1995. Prokom has been a constant presence in the last editions of the competition, creating some problems to top teams and even making the top 16 round.
It wasn’t a quiet summer for Prokom, they rebuilt almost their entire team signing foreign players Frank Robinson, Australian Julian Khazzouh and forward Drew Viney but mostly Polish players; veteran point guard Lukasz Koszarek and a trio of young talented players – Mateusz Ponitka, Tomasz Snieg and Piotr Pamula.
The biggest loss of this off-season was clearly the Lithuanian forward Donatas Motiejunas who took his talents to USA to play for the Houston Rockets in NBA.
With all this significant signings it’s expected that the Polish champions can be make some buzz in a very balanced group where all the teams are strong enough to achieve the next round. Prokom got the talent, outside shooting and strong frontcourt players but can the young players compete at the highest level in Europe?
Coach: Kemzura is probably the biggest signing this off season for the team. A proved and talented coach who last coached Lokomotiv Kuban in Russia after becoming just the head coach of the Lithuanian national team.
Kemzura’s style of play mainly oriented in great off the ball movement can be hard to assimilate specially with ball dominant guards like Jerel Blassingame and Lukasz Koszarek, but would be good for shooters like Ponitka especially. The balance between both styles of play will be the key to Prokom in this year competition.
Key Player: Jerel Blassingame, 1.75m lighting quick point guard is expected to become the leader of this year squad. After a great polish league year finishing with nearly 16ppg but a disappointing season in Euroleague with only 5.4ppg and 4.5apg, Jerel as another chance to showcase his talent at the best level in Europe and try to improve Prokom record, being their star.
Can another short but extremely athletic guard become the face of a club like we saw from guys like McCallaeb or McIntyre?
Breakout Player: Drew Viney, 2.03 athletic forward will make his Turkish Airlines Euroleague debut playing for Asseco Prokom this year. The 24 year old already has experience in NBA, playing for the Miami Heat and making some curious numbers in only 4 games. Viney is essentially a good offensive player that plays above the rim and that is a very significant presence on the boards.
Biggest Euroleague Moment: With only nine (consecutive) appearances in Euroleague, Prokom is still a team that hasn’t competed at the finals rounds yet. They achieved the top 16 round for three times but they were eliminated in all of them only causing some trouble winning one game against Olympiakos.