The Euroleague season has so far provided us with drama, surprises and disappointments. We concluded the first part of the season at the continent's top factory, a part that left us wanting more.
The Surprising - Virtus Bologna
After 13 rounds, the Italians manage to consolidate their position at the top with a record of nine wins compared to only four losses and are placed in third place.
With the exception of the departure of Milos Teodosic and a few minor improvements, there were no major changes over the summer, and in fact most of the squad that failed last season remained. The significant change occurred just before the start of the season when Luca Banchi was appointed coach in place of Sergio Scariolo. Under the new coach, the style of play has changed completely and Virtus is now a leading candidate to reach the playoffs. Are we getting a renaissance in a team from Bologna?
Disappointing - Armani Milano
From one Italian to another. Several times in recent years Milan has filled the disappointing category. Last summer, too, the team from the fashion city poured money and brought in many players, including Nikola Mirotic, and nothing helps – Milan have won only four games out of 13, and are ranked fourth from the end. Not only that, Mirotic is also injured and will be absent in the coming weeks.
Everyone around is sure that the problem lies with coach Ettore Messina, but the owners and management continue to trust him, and last week even extended his contract for several more years. Do they know something we don't?
Messina. Disappointing ability, photo: EPA
The Discovery - Tadas Sedkarskis
Many players have made a significant leap since the beginning of the season, but the most prominent of them is Basconia's Lithuanian forward.
Sedkarskis averages 10.1 points, 17.8 points and 1.8 assists, and leads the Euroleague in rebounds with 8.4. The Lithuanian is only 25 years old and after a few mediocre seasons he is gaining more trust and giving back in a big way. Who like Basconia knows, patience is the name of the game.
Sedkarskis (right). Great season so far, photo: EPA
Coach - Duško Ivanović
The strict Serbian returned mid-season for a fourth spell at Bascony after being sacked from Red Star and many eyebrows were raised. Dushku and Basconia seem to be just a love story.
The Serbian came into the team in the sixth round with a 4:1 record. From that moment on, he brought incredible change, leading the Basques to seven wins from eight games. From a catastrophic start to the season, Basconia has reached the top and is currently ranked fourth in the table.
Ivanovic, Photo: EPA
Best Actor – Tornike Shengelia
After a bad season, everyone thought that at the age of 32 the Georgian forward of Virtus Bologna was well past his peak, but Shengelia surprises everyone with an amazing ability reminiscent of his greatest days – 17.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and no less than 22.3 points. In many games, including last Friday against Maccabi Tel Aviv, Shengelia has looked unstoppable. Much thanks to him Virtus ranks third.
Shangalia, Photo: EPA
Best match - Bayern Munich vs. Villeurbanne (matchday 10)
We had quite a few fascinating games in the first part of the season, but the best of all is the huge thriller between Villeurbanne and Bayern Munich in the tenth round.
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It was the debut game in the beautiful new hall of the French team. The Bavarians broke the hosts' hearts with 100:101 at the end of two extra-time and a tremendous thriller that included big, dramatic moments and amazing clutch baskets. Bring us more of those.
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