|23 January 2014|
|Former NBA player Oleksiy Pecherov brings plenty of experience to the table|
EuroChallenge clubs Krasnye Krylia Samara and Szolnoki Olaj both announced significant new additions to their rosters on Wednesday, in the shape of Oleksiy Pecherov and Obie Trotter, respectively.
The 2.13m Pecherov, a Ukrainian international, has signed with the reigning EuroChallenge champions until the end of the season in what is Krasnye Krylia's second move to bolster their frontline after the arrival of Polish international Michal Ignerski less than 10 days ago.
"We have big hopes that our young big men, Artem Pisarchuk and Nikita Ivanov, will progress well, but in the key games of this season we need experienced players who can help the team right away," commented Krasnye Krylia vice-president Sergey Timofeev.
"Oleksiy has played a huge number of top games not only in Europe but also in the NBA, while he also has the advantage that he doesn't need to adapt to particular conditions in Russia, such as the cold."
Pecherov was forced to miss out on EuroBasket 2013 with Ukraine as well as the start of the current club season due to injury, only returning to action in November.
The 28-year-old big man joined Spanish club Valencia on a short-term contract and averaged seven points and 1.3 rebounds per game during the one month he competed in Liga Endesa.
Most representative of the Ukrainian big man's potential contribution to Krasnye Krylia are his stat lines during last season, while on the books of Azovmash Mariupol.
Pecherov averaged 11.6 points and 4.9 rebounds per contest in the Ukrainian Superleague, 11.2 points and 3.8 boards per game in the Eurocup and 10.4 points with 4.8 rebounds in the VTB league, a competition he will return to now with his new club.
The Ukrainian international had made the big jump to the NBA in 2007 and after spending two seasons at the Washington Wizards and one year at Minnesota Timberwolves, he returned to Europe in 2010 on behalf of Olimpia Milano.
Pecherov debuted with the senior national team at EuroBasket 2005 and had been a mainstay of the Ukrainian frontcourt throughout the past eight summers, until the unfortunate absence from last September's EuroBasket.
His debut with Krasnye Krylia should come next Tuesday, when they take on Port Of Antwerp Giants on the road in the EuroChallenge Last 16.
Samara are tied with the Giants at 1-1 in Group I, while Tartu University Rock are at the top of the standings with two wins in as many games and Gaz Metan Medias are still to get off the mark after two games in the Last 16.
|Obie Trotter last played for Szolnoki Olaj in 2011-12, leading the team to the EuroChallenge Final Four |
Szolnok To Nurse Former Leader Back To Form
While Krasnye Krylia hope to get an instant boost with the arrival of Pecherov, Trotter is unlikely to be able to help Szolnok in the short term.
The point guard, who turns 30 in February, had signed for fellow EuroChallenge side Triumph Lyubersty in the summer but never suited up for the Russian club, as he suffered an injury while playing with Hungary in the EuroBasket 2015 1st Qualification Round.
Trotter is still undergoing rehabilitation and it is yet unclear at which point of the season he will be able to return to action, but Szolnok are hopeful that once fully fit, he will reproduce the form he had displayed during his first spell at the club.
The 1.88m playmaker arrived in Szolnok in 2010 from Finnish side Torpan Pojat and not only helped the Hungarian club dominate domestically, but was also a key part of their most successful European campaign to date, which saw them reach the EuroChallenge Final Four in 2012.
Szolnok hosted the event but failed to win either of their two games, finishing in fourth place.
Trotter finished that season in the top-6 of the EuroChallenge in both scoring and assists and his top-shelf performances caught the eye of Russian club Nizhny Novgorod.
While playing for Nizhny Novgorod last season, he averaged nine points and four assists in the VTB United league and 10.3 points with 2.6 assists in the Russian PBL.
Szolnoki Olaj are in Last 16 Group J in the EuroChallenge, pitted against Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia, Krka Novo Mesto and Cholet Basket; all four teams currently stand at 1-1.