A Final Four Did You Know

18 April 2008
By Yarone Arbel

Sure these are the top four teams from EuroCup 2008 but we're willing to bet their is plenty you don't know about them.

With that in mind here are some nuggets about the teams that will battle it out for the EuroCup 2008 title this weekend.

Dexia Mons-Hainaut

  • The average score of Mons in the EuroCup is 78.9-69.9.
  • The team arrives to the Final Four with an 8-2 record.
  • Both losses were on the road and only by a maximum margin of four points.
  • Coach Chris Finch arrived to Mons this season after coaching another team in Belgium - Bree for several years. Travis Conlon, Nate Reinking, Ben Ebong, and James Cantamessa all played for him in Bree.
  • Coach Chris Finch is also the British national team head coach. Nate Reinking, Andrew Sullivan, Mike Lenzly and Rodger Huggins are also members of the English national team.
  • Other than four young Belgium players all the eight rotation players coach Finch is using went to college to in the United States.
  • Jim Potter has spent eight years with Mons. His first round was for three years, before moving to Charleroi. Five years ago he came back and at the age of 35 he's still there.
  • Mike Lenzly has played in the past already in Latvia, for Ventspils where his coach was Karlis Muizneiks - now Barons coach. Last year he played in Cyprus for Apoel Nicosia. His team lost in the play-off finals 3-2 to AEL.
  • They allow fewer points than any other EuroCup team this season - 69.9.
  • Conlon is the best thief in the EuroCup. He stole just one ball more than Samara's Evgeny Voronov to top the list with 2.3 per game.
  • Last year Conlon was the top assist man in EuroCup.
  • Mons can become the first team from Belgium to make it to a European cup final since Antwerp lost in 1973 to Varese in the Korac Cup.
  • No Belgium team has ever won a European competition.

Proteas EKA AEL

  • The average score in AEL's games is 81.9-71.8.
  • That's the biggest average margin of all the Final Four teams.
  • AEL's record this season in the EuroCup is 8-2.
  • Both losses were on the road and by a maximum margin of five points.
  • The last time AEL lost a home game in the EuroCup was 31st of January 2006, more than two years ago. It was an 97-88 defeat to Azovmash. The streak stands now on 12 home wins in a row.
  • Aleksic is the perfect all-around player. He leads his team in points, rebounds, assists and steals.
  • Aleksic holds the season high for field goal percentage in a single game by connecting on all of his nine shots from the field in AEL's 103-80 win over KK Zagreb.
  • They drew more fouls than any other club in the EuroCup - 25.3 fouls per game.
  • They stole more balls than any other club in the EuroCup - 10.3 steals per game. Tartu Rock follows them with 9.5.
  • Bruno Sundov won the 2004 Euroleague title with Maccabi Tel Aviv.
  • Duane Woodward is playing his third season with AEL. The first two were in 2002/03 and 2003/04.

Barons LMT Riga

  • The average score in Barons games is 78.2-75.2.
  • Barons arrive to the Final Four with a 7-4 record - the worst record among the four finalists.
  • Just a single point kept Barons from being knocked out already in the elimination round against Ironi Nahariya.
  • Eight of the 11 games Barons played were decided by no more than six points.
  • Lithuanian guard Guntar Gustas is ranked 2nd in the competition in free throw accuracy by making 42 out of his 45 attempts (93.3%).
  • Barons played against Tartu Rock twice already in the Baltic league and beat them both times.
  • Demetrius Alexander is the king of double-doubles. He registered no less than five of them in the 11 games he played. This means that in order to keep his average he's expected to add another double-double in one of his two Final Four upcoming games.
  • Latvia is the 10th country in which Alexander has played basketball in his career. He has had stints in the USA, Japan, Australia, Israel, Italy, Spain, Puerto Rico, Korea and France.

Tartu Rock

  • Tartu Rock gathered more wins than any other EuroCup team this season. They arrive to the Final Four with a 9-2 record.
  • Both of Tartu's losses were on the road to Russian teams - Samara and Ural Great.
  • The average score in Tartu games is 79.9-72.6.
  • Only two games were decided by less than six points. Six of them were decided by a double-digit margin.
  • 1.86m Estonian guard Silver Leppik averaged only 1.5 ppg and took only 16 shots the entire season but he's one of the key players of Tartu. He played in all 11 games and average almost 12 mpg.
  • George Tsintsadze leads his team in three key categories - points, assists and steals.
  • Tartu denies more shots than any other EuroCup team. They stand on top with an average of 3.5 blocks per game.
  • As if blocks aren't enough Tartu is ranked second in steals per game - 9.5.
  • Tartu faced Barons twice already in the Baltic League games, and lost both of them.
  • George Tsintsadze turned the ball over more than any other EuroCup player. He averaged 3.5 turnovers per game.
  • When Janar Talts is around the rim, try to avoid him since he's the top shot blocker in the competition with an average of 1.5 blocks per game.
  • Marek Doronin celebrates his 10th season in a row with the senior team of the club.
  • This is the first time a club from Estonia has played in the Semi-finals of a European competition.

Coaches Did You Know?

  • This Final Four hosts two Baltic coaches and two American ones. Chris Finch of Dexia Mons-Hainaut and Charles Barton of AEL were born in the USA while Karlis Muiznieks of Barons and Ullar Kerde of Tartu are from the Baltic region.
  • All four coaches have experience in coaching senior national teams. Barton coached Denmark, Finch is the head coach of the British national team, Kerde is the coach of the Estonian national team and Karlis coached the Latvian national team until the last EuroBasket.
  • For all four coaches this is their first season with their current teams.
  • All four coaches are familiar with the taste of winning titles: Barton won the Greek Cup with Aris Thessaloniki, Finch won league titles in England and Belgium, Muiznieks won several titles in Latvia with Ventspils and Kerde won cup and league titles in Estonia.
  • Charles Barton was the assistant coach of the last EuroBasket winner - David Blatt in Maccabi Tel Aviv during the 2001/02 and 2002/03. In the first season the team qualified to the Final Four of the Euroleague.


22.04.2008 - By Yarone Arbel
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