20 October, 2020
09 May, 2021
7 Vojtech Hruban (CZE), 17 Jaromir Bohacik (CZE)
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BCL stars off to help their nations in February window of FIBA Continental Cups Qualifiers

MIES (Switzerland) - There is a brief respite in Basketball Champions League action ahead of the start of the Play-Offs next month, as the FIBA Continental Cups Qualifiers' final window is taking place across FIBA's five regions from February 17 to 23.

Almost all of the 16 clubs that will compete in the BCL Play-Offs have at least one player that is set to join his respective national team and represent his home country:

Nymburk, Sassari and VEF top list of contributing clubs

ERA Nymburk are perhaps the BCL club that contributes the most international players in the February window, six in total.

Vojtech Hruban, the all-time leading scorer in the BCL, headlines a group of five Czech Republic internationals - which also includes Martin Kriz, Lukas Palyza, Petr Safarcik and youngster Lubos Kovar - that will reinforce the FIBA EuroBasket 2022 co-hosts in their Group C clashes in Vilnius.

The sixth Nymburk international will also step out in the Vilnius bubble but is not a Czech player - Belgium star Retin Obasohan will lead the Lions in their games against Denmark and the Czech Republic as they try to seal top spot in the group.

Dinamo Sassari and VEF Riga each have five players in the February window, with all 10 of those players taking part in the FIBA EuroBasket Qualifiers.

Sassari point guard Marco Spissu will lead Italy in their Group B games in Russia, with the 'Azzurri' having already secured their passage to FIBA EuroBasket 2022 and the Croatian duo of Miro Bilan and Filip Kruslin will compete with their national team in Group D in Istanbul.

The two other Sassari players are Estonia's Kaspar Treier, who is strengthening his national team in their Group B games in Russia, and Eimantas Bendzius who will play for Lithuania in Group C, in Vilnius. Both these Baltic nations are facing the most crucial stretch of their qualification campaign and need to win in order to make it to the flagship event.

Just like Sassari, VEF Riga also have five players joining their national teams in this window, albeit four are members of the Latvian national team.

VEF guards Aigars Skele, Marcis Vitols, Kristers Zoriks and Artis Ate all join the Baltic nation's squad as they play host to Bulgaria and Greece in Group H action in Riga

Alexander Madsen is the only non-Latvian international on the VEF team and he will bolster Finland as they take on Georgia and Switzerland in Group E, in Tbilisi.

Spanish clubs contribute nine players in total


The reigning BCL champions, Hereda San Pablo Burgos, are in an interesting position as they send three players to the Qualifiers of three different events.

Small forward Miquel Salvó will make his debut with the Spanish national team as they take on Poland and Israel in Group A of the FIBA EuroBasket Qualifiers.

Center Jordan Sakho is joining his teammates on the Democratic Republic of the Congo national team for their three games in Group A of the Qualifiers for FIBA AfroBasket 2021.

Meanwhile power forward Maksim Salash will join Belarus in the Basketball World Cup Pre-Qualifiers in Cyprus, as they go up against the Cypriot national team and Portugal.

Lenovo Tenerife meanwhile have four players leaving for this window and all four of them will take part in the FIBA EuroBasket 2022 Qualifiers.

Fran Guerra, who only two seasons prior was playing in the second division, caught the eye of Sergio Scariolo with his recent performances at Tenerife and will make his debut with the 2019 FIBA World Cup champions.

The other three players are the 'usual suspects' Giorgi Shermadini, who will join Georgia in their Group E games in Tbilisi, Sasu Salin who will play for Finland in the same 'bubble' in the Georgian capital and Emir Sulejmanovic, who will step out with Bosnia and Herzegovina in their Group H games, in Latvia.

Meanwhile Casademont Zaragoza have two international players in the February window, as Germany captain Robin Benzing joins his compatriots for the final games of Group G in Podgorica and Jonathan Barreiro, who has become an integral part of the Spanish national team in this qualification cycle, rejoins 'la roja'.

Four is the lucky number for AEK, Bamberg and Nizhny

AEK, Brose Bamberg and Nizhny Novgorod are in the second tier of BCL contributing clubs as they each have four players featuring in the February window, with all 12 of those players competing in the FIBA EuroBasket 2020 Qualifiers.

AEK have the Greek trio of Dimitris Katsivelis, Linos Chrysikopoulos and Dimitris Moraitis joining the Hellenic national team, which has already secured its passage to the big event, in the Group H bubble in Riga.

But Lithuania captain Jonas Maciulis is the AEK player with the toughest mission in this window as he will lead the Baltic nation in their vital games in the Group C bubble in Vilnius.

Bamberg are an important contributor to the German national team as forward Christian Sengfelder and guards Bennet Hundt and Kenneth Ogbe will help their nation, who is one of the FIBA EuroBasket 2022 co-hosts, in their Group G games in Podgorica.

The fourth Bamberg player in the February window is Michele Vitali, who will help Italy in their Group B games in Perm, Russia.

Nizhny's four players will also be in the Perm bubble as all four play for Russia. Coach Sergey Bazarevich has given Artem Komolov his first call-up to the Russian national team, while old hands Anton Astapkovich, Evgeni Baburin and Ivan Strebkov are also on the Russian squad for the Group B games.

Turkish clubs immersed in the FIBA EuroBasket Qualifiers

The three Turkish clubs that have qualified to the BCL Play-Offs are all sending players to the FIBA EuroBasket Qualifiers in this February window.

Tofas Bursa power forward Berkan Durmaz and point guard Berk Ugurlu will join the Turkish national team in their effort to qualify from Group D in the Istanbul bubble, while Tarik Phillip has been named to Great Britain's 24-man squad.

Turk Telekom have one representative on the Turkish national team, forward Samet Geyik, while Pinar Karsiyaka's power forward Metecan Birsen will also play for Turkey and small forward Amath M'Baye is joining Group G leaders France as they are trying to seal the deal in the Podgorica bubble.

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It's worth mentioning that the two Turkish clubs who didn't make it out of the BCL Regular Season will also have strong representation in the February window:

Galatasaray guards Goksenin Koksal and Yigit Arslan and Darussafaka Tekfen's Berk Demir and Dogus Ozdemiroglu will be joining Turkey as they play host to Sweden and Croatia in the Istanbul bubble.

Other clubs contributing players

Hapoel Unet-Credit Holon captain Guy Pnini is also the captain of the Israeli national team in their Group A games in Poland, where Israel's only concern is to maintain their perfect record, since they have already secured qualification to FIBA EuroBasket 2022.

Holon forward Maxime De Zeeuw is strengthening Belgium in their effort to secure qualification from Group C, in the Vilnius bubble.

Igokea's two Bosnia and Herzegovina internationals, Edin Atic and Darko Talic, had to drop out of the national team at the last minute so the only player from the Laktasi club to take part in the February window games will be Dalibor Ilic, with Serbia.

The small forward received a call-up from Igor Kokoskov and will bolster the Serbia roster in their effort to qualify from Group E.

SIG Strasbourg have two players in this window, as Jaromir Bohacik joins Czech Republic in the FIBA EuroBasket 2022 Qualifiers and Ishmail Wainright is set to play for Uganda in the FIBA AfroBasket 2021 Qualifiers. I

In the November window, Wainright registered a stratospheric efficiency rating of 51 and scored 36 points as he propeled his adopted nation an 101-98 win over Cape Verde in Group E action.

Of course there are several clubs that didn't make it out of the BCL Regular Season but have several players taking part in the February window, with Filou Oostende, Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem, Cholet or JDA Dijon headlining this contingent.

Oostende head coach Dario Gjergja is also the head coach of the Belgian national team and three Oostende players - Jean-Marc Mwema, Loïc Schwartz and Pierre-Antoine Gillet - are mainstays of the Lions.

Dijon have point guard Axel Julien and center Alexandre Chassang joining the French national team while power forward Hans Vanwijn is playing for Belgium.

Cholet have a double representation in the FIBA AfroBasket 2021 Qualifiers as Nianta Diarra will compete with Mali and Vafessa Fofana will play for Cote d'Ivoire.

A third Cholet player, Gregor Hrovat, will step out with Slovenia in Group F of the FIBA EuroBasket Qualifiers, albeit the Greens have already secured qualification.

Another club contributing three players is Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem, who of course have Israel rising star Tamir Blatt and teammates Adam Ariel and Idan Zalmanson joining the Israeli national teal in Group A of the EuroBasket Qualifiers.