JDA Dijon react to Saibou injury, give BCL Qualifiers winner Katic a call
DIJON (France) - The era of Laurent Legname is over, Axel Julien and Alex Chassang are no longer in town, but it seems that JDA Dijon found what they were looking for in the summer market all over Europe.
The new head coach is Nenad Markovic. An absolute legend in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the 53-year-old was one of the sharpest shooters of his generation and held numerous scoring records for the national team. Markovic is no stranger to the Basketball Champions League coaching board, he called the plays for Pinar Karsiyaka, Lenovo Tenerife and Gaziantep - finding home in Turkey, where he stuck around for the last four years.
Here's what he drew up for 2021-22:
Along with the aforementioned trio, Hans Vanwijn has also left the team, but Dijon brought in reinforcements with accolades such as playing the BCL Final or seeing regular minutes at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
On September 30, JDA Dijon announced that Joshiko Saibou suffered a knee injury that will keep him out at least until December, but they have a replacement ready in Toni Katic. The Croatian point guard is coming in on the heels of making the BCL with his former club, U-BT Cluj Napoca, in the Basketball Champions League Qualifying Rounds in Peristeri, Greece.
Katic turner 29 this summer. He started his professional career with Split, a storied club in Croatia, and stayed there from 2009 to 2013. He moved to Siroki in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 2013 to 2015, and then spent the next four years with Cedevita in Zagreb. He also played for Cibona in the same city, and got his first international experience with Dinamo Sassari in 2020-21.
He was one of the most impressive players for the Romanian champions to guide them towards the Group Stage. Katic averaged 14.0 points on 50 percent shooting from deep in the Qualifying Rounds, and caught JDA Dijon's eyes to earn a trip to France.
Joshiko Saibou blessé, la JDA Dijon recrute l'international croate Toni Katić en qualité de pigiste médical 💪🏼— JDA Dijon Basket (@jdadijonbasket) September 30, 2021
Un mot de bienvenue pour Toni ? 😇
Plus d'infos : https://t.co/ne5JozB2zw#MyJDA #Dijon #BetclicELITE pic.twitter.com/hZtHnWYsON
Here is what Dijon were up to over the summer:
Sek Henry turned 34 this summer, but proved he belongs to the top level with his Pinar Karsiyaka heroics last season. Henry excelled at the Final 8 tournament in Nizhny Novgorod last season, torching opponents from beyond the arc and leading KSK to the championship game, where they fell just short against Hereda San Pablo Burgos. Sek is a lefty shooter whose 6'4''/1.93m frame may fool you - he's as strong as they get, plays above his size.
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Joshiko Saibou played the BCL with Telekom Baskets Bonn, and his first experience out of his homeland Germany turned out to be a successful one, spending the last semester with Champagne Chalons-Reims. He signed a two-year contract with JDA Dijon this summer, filling the role of the other guard alongside David Holston, which was Axel Julien's job in previous years.
Saibou is 31, has a lot of experience in playing with another ball dominant guard, as he played a massive role for coach Henrik Rodl next to Maodo Lo in Germany's quest to the Quarter-Finals of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Joshiko had 10.5 points per game at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Split, Croatia, to help his team upset juggernauts like Croatia and Brazil en route to Tokyo.
Coach Markovic will know exactly what he's getting at both forward positions with Rashard Kelly joining Dijon this summer. Kelly is 26, with just three seasons in Europe behind him, meaning he is less experienced than the usual suspects in Dijon, but one of those three was in Gaziantep, where he got a good taste of Markovic's demands.
If signing a younger player in his early days in Europe is not a typical Dijon move, then bringing Gavin Ware in definitely fits the usual mold of bringing back the players who already played for JDA. Ware, a 6'9''/2.06m tall center, spent the 2018-19 season with Dijon and now he's back for more.
Six players remain from the previous season, led by MVP candidate David Holston. Chase Simon also extended his stay, Charles Galliou will run on the wings, while Abdoulaye Loum and Jacques Alinque take up the interior for JDA Dijon. Robin Ducote earned promotion from the espoirs program.