Banvit: a closer look

MIES, Switzerland (Basketball Champions League) - Coach Saso Filipovski started his coaching career in 1996, just 2 years after Banvit came into existence as a club in 1994. Coach Filipovski has 2 Slovenian Cup titles, 2 Slovenian League Championships with Union Olimpija and a Polish Cup win with Stelmet Zielona Gora. Banvit have already won the Turkish Cup in his first season this year and sit a respectable 5th in the Turkish Super League. Filipovski’s Banvit, are the bullies of the Basketball Champions League. With an average age of 26 and an average height of 6’6” Banvit have a squad with an even balance of length, athleticism and physicality.

Banvit are the 2nd best shooting team left in the tournament, with an Effective Field Goal Percentage of 53%. They are the best rebounding team in the Final 4’s, pulling 53.5% of the boards available to them, including an impressive 32% of Offensive Rebounds available and they also got took more Free Throws than any other team in the Basketball Champions League this season, with 23 FTA’s a game. Put all this together and you have the best rated offense of all 4 teams still in the tournament, at 112 points per 100 possessions.

Key Men

Jordan Theodore won the Eurocup with Fraport Skyliners last year and almost everything that Banvit do offensively, goes through him at the Point. From the catch, he’s looking to attack and create easy shots for his team. Lithuanian Forward, Gediminas Orelik is versatile and scores efficiently, shooting 41% from 3 and 57% inside the arc. Gasper Vidmar and Damian Kulig, hoover up rebounds, smash the offensive glass and play excellent positional defence. Vidmar is almost impossible to stop if he catches the ball close enough to the Basket. The ace up the sleeve for Banvit is undoubtedly Furkan Korkmaz. At 19, his game carries a lot of similarities to Rudy Fernandez. Splashing 42% from 3, he is possibly, already a better shooter. He has a combination of athleticism, court vision and decision making that makes him the ideal auxiliary, playmaker to Jordan Theodore.

Offensive Sets/Actions

Coach Filipovski’s Offense is straight to the point. Get your best players in the action as early and often as possible. Banvit get out and run in transition as well as any team in the Basketball Champions League and if they don’t get a good look in early offense, they throw the ball to Theodore or Korkmaz to make a play out of the Pick and Roll.

Drag Screens

Banvit use wing, ball screens in transition, to give Theodore the chance to create an advantage for himself or the likes of Orelik spacing the floor.

Three possessions, the same action, different reads, the same outcome. Clip 1, Orelik’s man is drawn across to discourage Theodore from driving. Orelik uses a shot fake, to convert a defensive close out, from a small advantage to a big advantage as Vidmar’s man helps, leaving a wide open, lay-up. Clip 2, same action, this time Orelik sees the back of his defender’s head and cuts back door. The final clip and the attention to Orelik after the last 2 plays, leaves room for Theodore to get in the lane. A jump pass around the help and the defence is rotating. This time Orelik takes advantage of a smaller defender switched onto him. Simple, Smart, Effective.

High Pick and Roll

Banvit will regularly take a shot from straight away on the High Ball Screen, either from Theodore himself or from the roll man (Clip 1). If they Pop from the High Screen, then they are looking to swing the ball to the wing and get into a Continuity, Pick and Roll. Clip 2 sees them reverse the ball twice, from hand to hand, looking for a defensive mistake. Eventually Korkmaz gets by his defender with shot fake, catches the defence helping from the strong-side corner and hits Gecim with a perfectly timed pass, for the quick release, corner 3.


Traditional “Horns” from Banvit here. Two big men at the elbows, the screener pops out to the 3 Point Line, to reverse the ball and the other big rolls hard to the rim.



In Theodore and Korkmaz, Banvit have 2 of the most talented playmakers in the Basketball Champions League.

The first 4 clips, show why Korkmaz is such an exciting talent. He’s able to use his athleticism to get in the lane from Pick and Roll’s and at 6’7” he’s able to scan the floor and make the right pass, on the money each time. The last 2 clips, show that when the clock is winding down, he has the scoring ability to create room for the shot, off the dribble.

In clip 1 here, the time is winding down again and this time Theodore uses his favourite “Bounce Cross” to get into a split step off the dribble and explode past his man. The next 3 clips and it’s High Pick and Roll again every time. The balance and ability to change speed and direction, is what make him so tough to guard in these situations.


Jordan Theodore with the game winning play to send Banvit through to the Final Four’s. You know he wants to get to his right hand but the speed he’s able to move with the ball, means there isn’t much you can do about it.

Physicality - Getting to the Line

Banvit get to the line more than any other team in the Basketball Champions League because they are always looking to attack early and often. The combination of Theodore’s rapid changes in direction and Vidmar’s brute force do the bulk of the damage. Both players are always looking to go through the contact, en route to the rack.

Physicality – Crashing the Offensive Glass

Banvit aren’t just good at crashing the glass, they make the defence pay for it as well. They are one of the highest % shooting teams in the Basketball Champions League and very rarely need more than 2 shots to punish less physical teams.

Defensive Discipline

Banvit play disciplined, team defence. The goal is the same on every possession; keep the offense in front of them and force them to shoot over. For ball screens, the screener’s man is either hedging high and leaving space for the guard to shoot the gap, or dropping down to stop the dribble penetration and buying time for the guard to fight into and over the screen. They rotate, quickly and effectively to help each other and get in position to help before the ball enters the key. The outcome is generally the same; a tough contested shot and Banvit pulling down the rebound. Banvit are also 4th in the League at restricting their opponents’ trips to the line, giving up, just 15 FTA’s a game.

Defence to Offence

When you combine this defensive discipline and strong rebounding, with the speed that Theodore and Korkmaz can turn defence into offence, then you start to see why Banvit have outlasted their Turkish counterparts Besiktas and Pinar Karsiyaka. In the 1st clip, you see Orelik block a desperate shot attempt after Banvit successfully defend several actions. Clip 2, Theodore and Orelik work seamlessly to hedge and recover. When Orelik is beaten going in too hot on the closeout, Kulig is already in position to help, Chappell reads the bad pass and gets out in transition for more FT’s…..The final 2 clips are all about the 2 best players on the court: Jordan Theodore and Furkan Korkmaz. Korkmaz reads the offense and leaks out on the break, Jordan moves the ball ahead quickly and has the ability, to throw half court lob passes, right where they need to go. Highlights inevitable.

Final Four Match Up 

AS Monaco

This match-up is the best Offensive Rating in the Basketball Champions League (Banvit) vs the best Defensive Rating (Monaco) in the competition. Monaco also have the best shot blockers left in the tournament, which is key, when you are trying to contain a team as direct as Banvit. The 2 teams faced each other twice in the group stages, with the games split. Having won the Turkish Cup already, Banvit will go into the game as favourites but only just.

Fact to Watch for:

In both games between the two clubs, AS Monaco scored 65 points, which is 9 points lower than their season average. There will be plenty of talent and athleticism on display but it will more likely be the defensive execution that decides the tie. It is also worth considering that Monaco have a player in Sergii Gladyr, who has the shooting range to cause problems for Banvit’s defensive coverages and if he gets going, look for Banvit to try and find an adjustment.