|23 March 2012|
|Guard/forward Blake Schilb is at the top of coach Beugnot's go-to men list, but that doesn't mean he has to try to be the 'saviour' of the team |
The Elan Chalon side that has won the Semaine des As (French Cup) and also just reached the EuroChallenge Final Four has been a beautiful thing to watch for the club's fans this season.
Every player, when called upon, normally does a very good job of executing coach Gregor Beugnot's strategy.
There are sharpshooters in Ilian Evtimov and Nicolas Lang, a tough-as-nails point guard in Steed Tchicamboud, impressive young centers in Abdul Aminu and Joffrey Lauvergne, an athletic forward in Jordan Aboudou and a veteran guard in Bryant Smith.
There has never been any doubt, though, about the 'go-to' men for coach Beugnot.
"In the responsibilities and the initiatives taken, there is a hierarchy established in this team," Beugnot said.
"The first option is Blake Schilb.
"Then Malcolm Delaney, Ilian Evtimov and others ..."
Schilb has been sensational at Chalon the past two seasons.
In the EuroChallenge, he seems to make one big play after another.
He has led the team with an average of 17 points per game in the competition.
Delaney, though, was the man that killed Roanne's chances at the end of Game 2 in the Quarter-Finals, scoring one important basket after another to complete a late comeback.
Evtimov has been downright lethal from long range.
The sight of all three on the floor at the same time gives opposing coaches headaches.
Teams that double-team Schilb, or Delaney, will be punished by Evtimov, a 2.01m power forward who has been shooting 47.7 percent from the arc in the EuroChallenge.
What has allowed Chalon to be successful is that Schilb, Delaney and Evtimov, do not force their shots or try to make the impossible play.
They look for the open teammate.
It hasn't always been that way at Chalon but this season, it has.
"Our leaders are smart enough to play on the other when the game is stuck in money-time," Beugnot said.
"It has changed from when Drew Neitzel was with us, a player who did not meet the guidelines."
That was in 2009.
"He wanted the play the role of saviour every time when Blake was at his side," Beugnot said.
Chalon are in second place in France's top flight, two points adrift of Gravelines-Dunkerque.
On Saturday, Beugnot's team hosts Chorale Roanne - the team it beat in the Quarter-Finals of the EuroChallenge.