Where we left off: Tenerife
TENERIFE (Spain) - You know the 2019-20 Basketball Champions League season resumes on September 16 but it's been so long since play was suspended that you can barely remember pre-hiatus events in the competition? Don't worry, we got you covered!
On Wednesday, Tenerife take on Filou Oostende in Game 3 of their Round of 16 series with the winner securing a place in the Athens Final Eight that tips off September 30 - here's everything you need to refresh your memory on how the Spanish team got to this point:
What Did Tenerife's Play Look Like Before the Hiatus?
- The yellow-blacks' offensive play relied on the highly-successful partnership between Marcelinho Huertas and Giorgi Shermadini. The pick'n'roll action between the Brazilian legend and the Georgian big man started producing memorable highlights pretty much since the first game of the season.
- Shermadini averaged 15.8 points and 5.7 rebounds on 63 percent two-point shooting and an average efficiency rating of 18.2. Huertas led the BCL in assists, averaging an all-time high 8.6 per game to go with his 12 points and 1.2 steals per game. Sasu Salin was the team's third-leading scorer (11.1 points per game) while Dani Diez was their third-best player in terms of efficiency (10.9) if we discount Aaron White, who only featured in five BCL games.
- Tenerife had the second-best defensive rating in the Regular Season, 95.8 points per 100 possessions, largely because they managed to hold opponents to just 31.8 percent from three-point range (ERA Nymburk were first in both defensive rating and opponents' three-point field goal percentage).
- The Spanish side averaged 80.5 points per game on an offensive rating of 111.9 in the Regular Season (sixth-best in the league), which rose to 114.8 in the Round of 16, albeit other teams improved even more in that aspect during the Play-Offs.
- Tenerife's solid offensive rating is partly due to their effective field goal percentage (eFG%) of 54.6, the sixth-highest among the 16 teams that made the Play-Offs. They shot 58.8 percent from two-point range and 33.8 percent from three, with roughly two-thirds of their field goal attempts coming from within the arc (the Spanish team attempted 34.3 two-pointers and 24.6 three-pointers per game, on average).
What Had Tenerife Achieved Up Until March?
*It's worth noting that Tenerife won a title shortly before the hiatus, as they defeated Virtus Bologna in February to lift the 2020 FIBA Intercontinental Cup.
The Spanish team took second place in Group C on an 11-3 record, right behind Nymburk who had the best record anywhere in the Regular Season, 12-2. Tenerife started the Regular Season on a seven-game winning streak but lost three of their last four games in the group. Their largest margin of victory was 33 points (92-59 against VEF Riga at home) and their worse loss was by 5 points, an 89-84 defeat to Nymburk at home in Week 11.
Round of 16
Tenerife were 85-75 winners in Game 1 of their Round of 16 series against Oostende, behind 25 points from Shermadini and a 19-point, 10-assist double-double by Huertas.
The Spanish island team then lost 75-69 in Game 2 in Belgium, as their bench players were outscored by Oostende's second unit 46 to 15. Game 3 was scheduled to take place in Tenerife on March 13 but of course the competition was suspended due to the pandemic.
What Will Stay the Same? What's New?
Tenerife have extended the contract of head coach Txus Vidorreta and brought back core players such as Huertas, Shermadini, Salin, Diez, Alex Lopez or Georgios Bogris. The new additions are exciting as fans have high expectations from Tyler Cavanaugh, Emir Sulejmanovic is coming off a solid season at Bilbao and Bruno Fitipaldo will provide some much-needed extra playmaking.
Tenerife's biggest short-term challenge is on the wing as Santi Yusta, who tore his ACL shortly before the hiatus, will still be unavailable for several months and newly-arrived Dejan Todorovic suffered the exact same injury in early September preseason action.
This turn of events will likely mean that Aaron Doornekamp, who returned to Tenerife to rejoin the club he helped conquer the 2017 BCL crown, will have to play entirely at the 3 spot, sharing the load with Diez.