Another player returns to Sassari; club gets a new coach as well
SASSARI (Italy) - Polisportiva Dinamo aren't Dinamo Sassari anymore in the Basketball Champions League. The former Italian champions will be back behind their Banco di Sardegna name for the 2021-22 season.
Demic Cavina started the season as the head coach, but was replaced in November. Piero Bucchi was then announced as the new playcaller, getting his first chance with the club. Bucchi is a well known name in Europe, a 63-year-old who was voted Lega Basket Serie A Best Coach back in 2000, when he was sitting on Benetton Treviso's bench.
Bucchi also coached Napoli, Virtus Roma, Olimpia Milano, spent five years with Happy Casa Brindisi from 2011 to 2016, and was in Cantu before taking over Sassari. At the time he took over, Sassari owned a 1-3 record in the BCL.
Here is what Bucchi has on his coaching board:
Over the summer, Gianmarco Pozzecco, Miro Bilan, Toni Katic, Vasa Pusica and Marco Spissu left the squad. Anthony Clemmons signed with Dinamo over the summer, but left the club on November 12.
Later in November, Sassari announced they reached a deal with Filip Kruslin to return for another season. The 32-year-old Croat already played for Sassari last season, but then was without club until late November. He appeared in ten BCL games in 2020-21, getting to double digits in seven of those ten.
On December 2, Banco di Sardegna Sassari brought back another familiar face to the BCL. Gerald Robinson is also 32, and while he was wearing Monaco's jersey back in 2018, he reached the title game in Athens, falling to AEK in front of 20,000 fans in OAKA.
Robinson has been all over the continent, playing in Israel, Belgium, Latvia, Germany, Greece, Turkey, Italy and France, where he also played for Nanterre 92 and JDA Dijon.
There was another returnee in Sassari over the summer. The man they call the Professor, David Logan, makes his return to the club after five years. Logan is a 38-year-old sharp shooter who was a part of the memorable 2015 Dinamo Sassari squad which won the triple crown in Italy, picking up the domestic league, cup and supercup in the same season. Logan spent the last two seasons with Treviso, averaging 17.3 points per game in 2020-21, career best mark for him in the Italian League, and played the BCL with Sidigas Avellino and SIG Strasbourg.
Another familiar face is Massimo Chessa, a 33-year-old guard straight out of Sassari, who started his professional career with Dinamo from 2004 to 2009. Chessa was back with the team in 2014-15, and played for Trapani, Virtus Roma and Napoli before coming back home once more in 2021.
Up next, the most athletic player on Sassari's roster for 2021-22. Tyus Battle arrived in Italy after a strong season with Enisey Krasnoyarsk in the VTB United League, where the 24-year-old won the Slam Dunk competition with impressive flights. Battle is 6'6''/1.98m tall, was a part of the gold medal winning USA team at the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup 2014, and played for Syracuse from 2016 to 2019. He averaged 12.6 points per game last season.
💥 TYUS BATTLE WINS THE DUNK CONTEST 2021! pic.twitter.com/qYwWYAc0Bb— VTB League (@VTBUL) February 14, 2021
Christian Mekowulu is bringing more muscles to the frontcourt. The 26-year-old from Lagos, Nigeria played for Tennessee State and Texas A&M, and moved straight to Italy in 2019. His first Serie A experience was with Treviso, where he had 12.3 points and 6.4 rebounds per game during the Regular Season, which he followed up with a 17.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in the Play-Offs.
He is set to be the starting center for the team, responsible for catching the alley-oops and finishing around the rim, fighting for the second chance points, and protecting the painted area at the other end of the floor, using all of his 6'9''/2.06m + 240lbs/110kg massive body.
Ousmane Diop already played for Sassari in 2018-19, and averaged double digits in scoring for the past two season with Torino in Serie A2 with coach Cavina. Diop is still a youngster, born in February 2000, bringing him back to the team seemed like a logical step after he was selected as the best Italian player of the second division in 2020-21, and shot a league-best 72.4 percent from two point range.
Another player making the leap from the second division to the first one is Jacopo Borra. The seven-footer is 31, ready to fill the backup center spot after his long term stay with Treviglio in Serie A2. He finished the last season with 11 points and 8 rebounds every night out.