01 September, 2016
30 April, 2017
25 Jordan THEODORE (Fraport Skyliners)
to read

Summer signings round-up: Group A teams

(BASKETBALL CHAMPIONS LEAGUE) – The participants of the inaugural Basketball Champions League have been busy adding new players to their roster this off-season. Below we give you a quick update on the summer signings that the six teams with a berth in Regular Season Group A have made so far.

The Greek side, who extended their collaboration with head coach Dimitris Priftis, have signed an all-new backcourt duo in Michael Jenkins and Will Cummings. Jenkins is a 30-year-old shooting guard who spent last season at Turk Telekom Ankara and averaged 13.6 points, four rebounds and 2.1 assists in the Turkish league. Cummings on the other hand is not yet a known quantity in Europe, as his international experience consists of playing the last four games of the Italian Serie A season with Dolomiti Trento, following an excellent year in the NBA D-League with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. In the frontcourt, Aris secured the services of Greek international center Vassilis Kavvadas who arrives from Olympiacos Piraeus. The 2.05 center who stands out for his phenomenal upper-body strength spent last season on loan at Arcadikos, averaging 14.9 points on 70.8% two-point shooting and 6.4 rebounds in the Greek A1 Basket League.

Monaco took note of Demarquis (Dee) Bost's superb post-season in the Polish TBL league, where he led Stelmet Zielona Gora to the title and earned Finals MVP honours, and decided to bring him on board. The experienced combo guard averaged 10.6 points and 3.9 assists per game in the Polish championship. The rest of Monaco's signings so far have been in the frontcourt, headlined by charismatic power forward Nik Caner-Medley, who joined from Astana. The 32-year-old former Valencia, Malaga and Maccabi Tel Aviv star averaged 18.2 points and 7.9 rebounds in last year's VTB United League. Center Brandon Davies also had an impressive campaign at Openjobmetis Varese, whom he helped reach the final of the FIBA Europe Cup. Davies averaged 13.3 points and 6.5 rebounds for Varese in the Italian Serie A. Davies will pair up at the center spot with French big man Bangaly Fofana, who averaged 5.1 points and 3.8 boards with SIG Strasbourg in the Pro A league last season.

No other team has welcomed already as many new faces as Banvit, who have brought it no less than seven players, in addition of course to newly-appointed head coach Saso Filipovski. Three of those new arrivals will occupy the point guard position as Banvit have signed Jeremy Chappell, Jordan Theodore and Merthan Mutlu. The 29-year-old Chappell has been playing in Europe since 2009 and spent the last two seasons at fellow Basketball Champions League side Avtodor Saratov. Theodore will actually go up against his former team in Group A action, as he helped Fraport Skylines conquer the FIBA Europe Cup crown last year, averaging 14.4 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists in the competition. The 22-year-old Mutlu meanwhile joined Banvit from Konyaspor, just like big man Dogukan Sonmez who is another up-and-coming Turkish player. Lithuanian forward Gediminas Orelik arrived from Lietuvos Rytas, where he averaged 9.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and two assists per game in the LKL league. Slovenian international Edo Muric joined from Partizan Belgrade, where he contributed 10.4 points, 4.3 boards and 1.5 assists per game despite struggling with injuries. Polish international Damian Kulig meanwhile moved to Banvit from Turkish rivals Trabzonspor, with whom he averaged 11.4 points and 4.5 boards per game in the domestic BSL.

The Czech champions will be following Rio 2016 with more interest than any other Group A team as they have penned a deal with Nigerian international Ekene Ibekwe, who is about to step out at his second Olympics. Ibekwe, who just turned 31, has had an eventful career and last year he suited up for three different clubs, starting with Krasny Oktyabr with whom he averaged 17.6 points and 8.7 rebounds in his 17 games in the VTB United League. The big man then played in Lebanon and concluded the season at Giessen 46ers in the German BBL. Nymburk have also signed 26-year-old power forward Tony Meier, who played for Apollon Patras last season and averaged 11.3 points and 3.8 rebounds per game in the Greek A1 Basket League.

The reigning FIBA Europe Cup champions are expected to make more additions in the coming weeks as they are looking to replace players who departed for pastures new but their only move is quite exciting. The Frankfurt side signed 21-year-old Daniel Mayr, who had spent the last two years at Bayern Munich. The 2.17m center averaged 1.6 points and 0.7 rebounds in last season's BBL and is considered a great prospect.

The Slovenian team's fans are welcoming back two familiar faces, in Slovenian international Tomaz Bolcina and Kyle Casey. Bolcina, a 22-year-old forward/center, grew up with Helios but left in 2011 first for Krka and then for Tajfun, with whom he averaged 9.2 points and 4.6 rebounds in last year's ABA league. Casey meanwhile had played for Helios in 2015 and contributed 12.4 points per contest but spent last season in the NBA D-League with Bakersfield. Another new arrival with experience of Slovenian basketball is Cory Remekun, who joined from Rogaska. The 25-year-old forward had 11.7 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game in the Slovenian league. Domzale's fourth new signing meanwhile, Brandyn Curry, carries two years' worth of European experience. The 24-year-old point guard had a breakout season with SPM Shoeters Den Bosch in the Dutch League and then played last year for Eisbären Bremerhaven in the German BBL, where he averaged 3.9 points and 2.1 assists per contest.