|09 March 2012|
|Artland coach Stefan Koch is full of praise for the big names on the Besiktas roster but the Dragons have some powerful weapons of their own, such as Brandon Thomas|
When the Artland Dragons take on Besiktas Milangaz in their Quarter-Final Play-Off series first game on Tuesday, it will be a special moment for the Northern German club.
Not only is it the first time in three years that Artland make it that far in Europe, they are also taking on, in the freshly crowned Turkish Cup winners, one of the biggest names in the competition.
In an interview published on the club's official website, Dragons coach Stefan Koch spoke about the reputation of Besiktas, the quality of their roster and the chances for Artland to advance in the best-of-three series.
"Besiktas is a team constructed to participate in the Eurocup," he explained.
"It starts with Carlos Arroyo, who we don't need to talk about and continues with Adam Morrison, number three in the NBA draft and Pops Mensah-Bonsu.
"Those are all players that played in the NBA and entered the game before it was decided.
"Additionally they have David Hawkins, a former Euroleague player for Siena, and Ersin Dagli, who are also outstanding players in their positions.
"Their roster is way more expensive than those of all Beko BBL (German League) teams."
Indeed, Besiktas have proven to have many weapons on offense.
After the departure of Deron Williams, who was the dominant figure on offense, and the injury of Marcelus Kemp, four players scoring in double-figures and Zoran Erceg, who averages 9.5 points per game, have shared the load.
When asked how he would prepare his team against a seemingly superior opponent, Koch displayed confidence in his players and their home-court advantage over Besiktas.
"Besiktas did not finish first in their group, as they faced a strong opponent in Fuenlabrada.
"We need to go into the series with the confidence of group winners.
"Apart from that I don't have much to do.
"Simply showing the players who is on the opponent's roster will be enough for the guys to give everything."
Artland also can look back on an impressive season so far.
They currently rank fourth in the Beko BBL and have lost only two games in the EuroChallenge so far, with both losses coming after they had already qualified for the next round.