01 September, 2016
30 April, 2017
Banvit BK fans
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Filipovski takes the reins of ambitious Banvit

BANDIRMA, TURKEY (Basketball Champions League) – Slovenian coach Saso Filipovski has assumed the task to steer the strong team which Banvit BK are putting together through the upcoming Basketball Champions League and the Turkish Sportoto BL season, the Bandirma club has confirmed.

Filipovski, who is replacing Selcuk Ernak at the helm, had spent the last two years as head coach of Stelmet Zielona Gora and led them to back-to-back Polish championships, as well as the conquest of the Polish Cup in 2015. The 41-year-old tactician had previously accomplished a similar feat during his last two-year spell at Union Olimpija Ljubljana, with whom he lifted the Slovenian Cup trophy in both 2012 and 2013.

Despite his relatively young age, Filipovski already has two decades of coaching experience under his belt as he started off as an assistant coach at Olimpija when he was just 22 years old. He became the head coach seven years later and served in that role from 2003 to 2005, winning a Slovenian league title with the Ljubljana powerhouse.

The new Banvit coach went on to work at Turow Zgorzelec during three years, Lokomotiv Rostov, CSKA Moscow (as an assistant to Dusko Vujosevic) and then Lottomatica Virtus Roma before returning to Olimpija in 2011.

Filipovski will have two Slovenian internationals under his orders at his new team, as in addition to veteran big man Gaspar Vidmar who was one of Banvit's best players last season, the Bandirma side have only just added up-and-coming winger Edo Muric, who joins from Partizan Belgrade. Another new arrival whom Filipovski knows very well is Polish international Damian Kulig, who played for Trabzonspor last season but had worked with the new Banvit head coach at Turow.

On Thursday, Banvit also announced they had penned a deal with Jordan Theodore, the American point guard who turned heads during the 2015/16 season at German BBL side Fraport Skyliners, whom he helped clinch the FIBA Europe Cup crown by averaging a team-high 14.4 points and 4.6 assists in the competition.

As is customary for Banvit, the club will continue to count on talented Turkish players and their roster for the upcoming season includes highly-promising small forward Tolga Gecim, who averaged 9.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists at the recent FIBA U20 European Championship to help Turkey win the bronze medal.

Banvit were drawn in Group A of the Basketball Champions League together with Theodore's former team, the Skyliners, as well as Aris Thessaloniki, CEZ Nymburk, Helios Suns Domzale, AS Monaco and two teams that will emerge from Qualification Round 2.