By Doug Booth, PA International
Art Long can't remember much about the one and only time he and Ed Cota locked horns.
But the powerful Azovmash Mariupol center does recall plenty about the way the Dynamo St Petersburg guard strutts his stuff on the court.
"Ed is very quick on court and loves the jump shot," Long said to PA International.
"He's a great ballhandler who can go both ways - one of those strong all-round players
||He's a great ballhandler who can go both ways - one of those strong all-round players
|Art Long, Azovmash Mariupol|
Long had a brief stint for Spain's Tau Ceramica in the 2002-2003 Eurolague and played a game against Cota, who was then the starting point guard for Lithuanian giants Zalgiris Kaunas.
Long does not remember much about the game but he does remember Cota.
The 2002-2003 recollection of how Cota plays will come in handy this month as leading Ukraine side Azovmash meet the Russia giants in the best-of-three quarter-finals of the FIBA Europe League.
The first match is in St Petersburg on March 15 and Long admitted he and coach Rimas Girskis had started planning how to take on the Russians before they had qualified for the last eight.
"We talked about St Petersburg while we were preparing to play Tuborg in Turkey this week," said Long.
He scored 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the opening play-off game as Azovmash won 101-90.
Long only hit 10 in the second game which Tuborg won 90-76 to tie the series.
But the New York-born pivot was back to his brilliant best in the decider which Azovmash won 95-86, pouring in 25 points and grabbing 16 rebounds in an impressive performance in Turkey.
Back in Ukraine, it did not take long for Azovmash coach Girskis to rally his troops, even though the match against St Petersburg is still more than a week away.
The Russians also have former NBA forward with the Denver Nuggets, Kelly McCarty, on their roster.
McCarty, from Chicago, is averaging 20.1ppg and 7.1rpg but Long is not phased.
"If St Petersburg are relying on one man to do all their scoring then they are in trouble," said Long.