Established contenders meet new arrivals: Group G coaches survey
MIES (Switzerland) - Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem and Türk Telekom are entering only their third and second, respectively, Basketball Champions League campaigns but have established themselves among the competition's elite, entering every title contender conversation.
The Israel and the Turkish team, who both competed at the Final 8 of the 2019-20 season in Athens after winning their respective Regular Season groups last year, are however pitted together in Group G with the storied Limoges CSP, the only French club in history to have been crowned EuroLeague champion, and Bosnia and Herzegovina's Igokea, who are harboring lofty ambitions this season.
We asked each coach 10 questions to help us preview Group G action, which tips off Tuesday October 27th (Türk Telekom head coach Burak Gören was unavailable):
Which teams in your group have the best roster and/or coach and why do you think so?
Oded Kattache (Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem): In my opinion, Turk Telekom has the best roster.
Dragan Bajic (Igokea): Turk Telekom has the best roster, the best coach is Oded Kattache.
Mehdy Mary (Limoges CSP): It's difficult to say right now to say which team will be more competitive. Even Igokea, who came out of the Qualification Round, is a good team with two players who played in France last season, and for sure Hapoel and Turk Telekom are veyr good teams.
Which games in your group would you recommend to a neutral basketball fan?
Oded Kattache: We have a high-level group, so every game is worth watching, especially in this situation [with the new Regular Season format] that every game counts.
Dragan Bajic: I would recommend watching the game between Hapoel and Turk Telekom.
Mehdy Mary: I think that Hapoel is a fun team to watch, especially offensively, because they can do many things on the floor using pick'n'roll with a lot of spacing and so players can create plays, finish or pass to shooters on the weak side.
Which games in this group will be the toughest for your team and why?
Oded Kattache: I think that our first game on the road, against Turk Telekom, could be very tough.
Dragan Bajic: Limoges away, because of our complicated schedule that week.
Mehdy Mary: I think each home game will be like a final because with this new competition format, with only six games in the group, home games are even more important and the goal will be to get a road win if you can, that will almost count double.
SELFIE 🤳— Limoges CSP (@limogescsp) September 18, 2020
Saison 2020-2021 pic.twitter.com/3mynYMMxu4
Name one or more players in this group which you think are really special (because they have a very specific skill, because they are difficult to defend, etc).
Oded Kattache: Some players that I think could be good this season are Tyler Ennis and Sam Dekker of Turk Telekom, and Anthony Clemmons of Igokea.
Dragan Bajic: Tyler Ennis, because of his skills, and Kyle Wiltjer because of his shooting ability [both of Turk Telekom].
Mehdy Mary: I can't name anybody specific because our focus is to stop the opponent as a team, but there are a lot of players on these teams who are really great teams.
Name one or more players in this group which you expect to be a positive surprise.
Oded Kattache: The players I think could be a positive surprise are Adam Ariel from our team and Jerry Boutsiele of Limoges, his stats are really good.
Dragan Bajic: Dalibor Ilic [of Igokea] and Deividas Sirvydis [of Hapoel] are two young guys who can be a positive surprise.
Mehdy Mary: Same answer as above.
Pobjeda nad Sportingom za Ligu šampiona https://t.co/BVxgh2G9St pic.twitter.com/cYaOcQYkcE— Igokea (@BCIgokea) September 25, 2020
Which team in this group play a style of basketball that you find interesting, and why?
Oded Kattache: It's still too early to know. We need to watch the games and see how teams play.
Dragan Bajic: Hapoel, because I've always found Israeli basketball to be different.
Mehdy Mary: I think that Igokea has a good combination of athleticism and basketball knowledge, they have a good mix with their foreigners and they are a complete team. Of course we know about Turk Telekom and their abilities and athleticism, while Hapoel as I said above is a good team with a special style, that plays modern basketball.
Which team in this group will have the best defense and which one the best offense?
Oded Kattache: We will need to prove ourselves and hopefully we will be the team that defends better and plays with the highest pace.
Dragan Bajic: I hope that it will be Igokea.
Mehdy Mary: It's tough to know right now, but the defensive aspect will be very really important.
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Which team in this group plays with the fastest pace and which one with the slowest pace?
Oded Kattache: Hopefully we will be the team with the fastest pace, but again, it's something we will have to prove every day.
Dragan Bajic: The season is still young, we will see
Mehdy Mary: It's not easy to talk about that, but we will probably not be the team with the fastest pace. Turk Telekom and Hapoel will likely try to play with high pace, a lot of rhythm and fast breaks.
If you could spend a couple of extra days in one of the cities you will visit in this group, or if you took out the whole team to a restaurant (the club president is paying!) which city would you choose?
Oded Kattache: I really want to see Limoges and if we have some extra time to spend, it will definitely be there.
Dragan Bajic: I would like to spend a couple of extra days in Jerusalem, and have dinner in Limoges.
Mehdy Mary: I've never played in Igokea so I can't say much about that place, everyone knows Ankara is a special city and for sure going to Israel will be something different.
Is the team that will win the 2021 BCL trophy in this group? (you can just give a yes or no answer, you don’t need to name the team)
Oded Kattache: It's still early to know, but there is a good possibility that the team that will win the 2021 BCL trophy will be from this group.
Dragan Bajic: Yes.
Mehdy Mary: Yes, I think there are teams in this group that can be competitive and win the trophy.