01 September, 2016
30 April, 2017
Draw of the Basketball Champions League
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Draw Reaction: Regular Season Group B

MUNICH (Basketball Champions League) – Pinar Karsiyaka, Umana Reyer Venezia, Avtodor Saratov, Maccabi Rishon Rand Media, Khimik Yuzhne and Le Mans Sarthe emerged from Thursday's draw as the first six of the eight teams that will make up Group B of the Basketball Champions League 2016/17 Regular Season.

The two teams that will complete the group will come out of Qualification Round 2. The winner of the Round 1 tie between Kataja Basket and Södertälje Kings will face Proximus Spirou Charleroi in Round 2, while the winner of the Round 1 clash between Lukoil Academic Sofia and CS Municipal Oradea will go up against BC Prievidza.

“The first thing that comes to mind is that we will have to do a lot of travelling around Europe,” said Karsiyaka head coach Nenad Markovic. “That could be a problem for us, it will not be a simple task to recover after such long trips, but we believe we will advance to the Play-Offs.

"From then on, we will see how far we could really go. Hopefully, we will round up our roster to be competitive with all these good teams in the Basketball Champions League.

“It is hard to give an in-depth analysis because we still don't know what rosters will appear on opening day. But Venezia is a club with rich tradition and they will no doubt have a strong team. The same can be said for Le Mans, and nobody can underestimate Saratov, Khimik and Maccabi."

Khimik are also mindful of the fact that at this point in the off-season none of the group participants has all the pieces in place but, interestingly, they know very well a new addition to Avtodor. Point guard Branden Frazier who had an excellent campaign last season with the Ukrainian champions, joined the Russian side last month and will play against his former team in the Basketball Champions League.

“We know most of our opponents but they have not yet finished compiling their teams,” said Khimik coach Vitaly Stepanovsky. “Take for example Karsiyaka, who right now have I believe eight players on their roster. So everybody is still in the process of getting prepared for the season.

“Many players who will play in the Basketball Champions League are away with their national teams in the summer. We will go to training camp in August but three of our players are right now in preparations with the Ukrainian national team, and we will only know when they will join us once we see whether they are included on the roster for the FIBA EuroBasket Qualifiers.”

For the Italian club meanwhile, Venezia, the next step is to take care of all small details so to ensure that the Champions League campaign goes smoothly.

“Our objective is to be competitive and since the group stage is long, we have to play 14 games in total, it will require maximum focus during some time in order to combine it with a good campaign also in the Serie A,” said Venezia president Federico Casarin.

“It is obviously a tough group, against opponents like Karsiyaka, Rishon or Avtodor. It will be also a logistical challenge because of the travel involved, but it should be fun. We will try to put in a good showing in every game.”