BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|'The interest in me expressed by Pokey Chatman was great and for me that was the most important thing,' says Sparta&K new signing Elisa Aguilar|
By Jeff Taylor
Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje have made some shrewd signings the past few seasons to remain one of the elite sides in European basketball.
This week, the Russian giants swooped for Spanish veteran Elisa Aguilar, a player that was instrumental in helping Rivas Ecopolis become a force in the EuroLeague Women and the Spanish Liga Femenina.
That Sparta&K would move for the 35-year-old after this season will have come as no surprise because they competed against her twice, and also watched as she pulled many of the strings that allowed Rivas to reach the EuroLeague Women title game.
"After coming back from the Final Eight in Istanbul, I had a call (from her representatives) saying that I had several offers from many important clubs in Europe," Aguilar said.
"When he told me that one of them was Sparta&K, I didn't doubt for a second that it was the one I wanted.
"The interest in me expressed by the coach (Pokey Chatman) was great and for me that was the most important thing."
Aguilar, a two-time Olympian and EuroBasket Women veteran who helped Spain capture silver in 2007 in Chieti, is joining a side that captured four EuroLeague Women crowns - the last against the Ros Casares team she played for in the 2009-10 campaign.
Before their great run in the EuroLeague, Sparta&K won the 2006 EuroCup Women.
"Although I haven't been there yet, I assume the aim will be to qualify for the Final Eight of the EuroLeague Women and to win the domestic league and cup," Aguilar said.
"We know there will be other strong rivals like (Russian champions) UMMC Ekaterinburg but Sparta&K's mentality is of trying to always win.
"I am delighted to have signed for them because to play for a team that has five times been champions of Europe and that is among the best in Europe is a unique opportunity in my career."