|24 July 2014|
|Lance Harris moves from Ural Ekaterinburg to Turkish club Tofas Bursa|
Tofas Bursa are gearing up for their third consecutive participation in the EuroChallenge, in the upcoming season, and no one could say they have not picked up a few valuable lessons along the way.
The Turkish club announced on Thursday the latest addition to their roster is a player with whom they crossed paths in the EuroChallenge last year and he definitely made a big impression on them.
Tofas have penned a one-year deal with Lance Harris, who had inflicted 43 points on Tofas in their two encounters with Ural Ekaterinburg, both resulting in a win for the Russian team.
The 29-year-old American player was one of the big sensations of last year's EuroChallenge, as he averaged 16.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game to propel Ekaterinburg all the way to the quarter-final play-offs, where they fell to eventual finalists Triumph.
Prior to joining Ekaterinburg, Harris had suited up for plenty of European clubs since arriving from Kansas State University in 2007.
The 1.95m winger commenced his European career at Zlatorog Lasko in Slovenia and then defended the colours of Colossos Rhodes in Greece, Igokea in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Politechnic in Ukraine and Cremona in Italy.
Harris is not the first player with EuroChallenge experience which Tofas have converted from an adversary to an ally this summer.
Earlier in July they had secured the services of power forward Andre Smith, a member of the Krasnye Krylia Samara side that conquered the EuroChallenge in 2013, in Izmir.
Smith, a charismatic scorer, spent last season in Italy with Umana Venezia and averaged 17.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.
The 29-year-old American had competed against Tofas both in the EuroChallenge, midway through Krasnye Krylia's title-winning campaign, as well as in the Turkish TBL league, since he played for Pinar Karsiyaka during two seasons.
AVTODOR TAB AMERICAN DUO
Tofas are facing off with Avtodor Saratov on the opening day of regular season Group D in the EuroChallenge and the Russian club also had an important announcement to make on Thursday morning.
Sararov informed that they had agreed terms with Micah Downs, who had started last season at Budivelnyk Kyiv, averaging 10.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, and three assists in the Ukrainian Superleague, while he contributed 10.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game in the Ukrainian team's debut season in the Euroleague.
Downs, a 27-year-old small forward finished the season with the Erie Bay Hawks in the NBA's Development League, where he averaged 15.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.3 assists in 32.1 minutes.
Just hours earlier, Avtodor had confirmed they had reached an agreement with another American player, Travis Peterson.
The 29-year-old forward/center had a brief stint at Rio Natura Monbus Obradoiro last season, averaging 9.5 points and 3.2 rebounds in his 12 games in the Spanish Liga Endesa.
"I am very pleased to have signed with Avtodor for the upcoming season, I hope that we can achieve a lot in the VTB United League and the EuroChallenge," Peterson told the club's official website.
"I feel that the Saratov club has begun to build a winning team and is trying to revive past glories, from the days when the club competed in the Euroleague.
"I will give 100% in every game to play as best we can and win, I look forward to the start of the new season and the exciting challenges with a big team."
The EuroChallenge regular season tips off on 4 November with Avtodor receiving Tofas at home and BC Astana playing host to CSM Oradea in the other game in Group D.