Transfer watch: Strongest pride of Lions in BCL
MIES (Switzerland) - Galatasaray Nef put together something that could be considered an All-Star BCL team, with additions that have been in big roles before in this league. The Lions put together a strong pride to challenge all those who try to stop them in their stride.
Coach Andreas Pistiolis took over last season, getting his first assignment as a head coach, after a more than successful assistant coach career with Panathinaikos, Banvit and CSKA Moscow, picking up five EuroLeague titles along the way.
The club has three returning figures from last season, all three of iconic status. Club captain Goksenin Koksal stayed put, club's most exciting young player Sadik Kabaca is ready for another run, and the team leader Dee Bost decided to roar the crowd on, too.
Bost will have a perfect partner in Dylan Ennis. The Canadian born Jamaican-American-Serbian guard had two All-Star Lineup Second Team selections in the BCL with Zaragoza, before making a move to Gran Canaria last season. He's back in his favorite league now, and already has a strong bond with Bost off the court.
Ennis is 30, he had 14.6 points per game in the Liga Endesa last season, in line with the rest of his career which saw him average double digits everywhere he played. Also, he is an impressive writer.
Serious scouting flaw costing you a game 101.— Dmitry Planidin (@DmitryPlanidin) November 11, 2020
You have to know Dylan Ennis is capable of making super deep threes. That's not how you defend those.pic.twitter.com/8dJ6gENKG9
Raymar Morgan is another man who played the BCL Final 8 back in Nizhny Novgorod in 2021. The strongest of all centers is a walking wrecking ball at 2.03m/6'8'' and he is motivated to prove that he still belongs to top stages even at 34-year-old.
Morgan excelled with Pinar Karsiyaka and made a move to ASVEL for the 2021-22 season. But a serious injury kept him out of rotation, and now the BCL All-Star Lineup First Team member is back to Turkey for another season of domination inside.
Morgan will get help from Jehyve Floyd, a player of similar characteristics, who took it one step at a time in Europe and went from Larisa and Promitheas Patras to Hapoel Gilboa Galil and Panathinaikos. He spent the last season with Fenerbahce, so Turkish basketball is no news for him, and he will need no time at all to adjust to Istanbul lifestyle.
The 2022 Galatasaray will have strong Karsiyaka vibes, not just because of Morgan, but also because Mahir Agva and Yunus Sonsirma arrived. Both fill the domestic player roles, and are also role players of the highest level in BCL, with Agva covering the area inside the arc as a power forward and center, and Sonsirma handling the defensive assignments in the backcourt.
Another homegrown player is Muhaymin Mustafa, a 2.00m/6'7'' tall player who is coming back to his homeland after a couple of seasons in Greece, where he had 8.5 points and 4.7 rebounds for Ionikos Nikaias last season.
Sinan Saglam arrived from Aliaga Petkim, which was his second run with the team. At 24, he also had a couple of runs with Afyon and Darussafaka, but rarely averaged more than 10 minutes per game in his career, so it remains to be seen whether his impact could be felt in the BCL.
Finally, two more familiar BCL faces were added to this roster. Braian Angola, 28-year-old swingman, played for AEK last season, and was also in the BCL with Filou Oostende back in 2019-20, posting 14.0 points and 5.0 rebounds in 14 games.
Angola is a Colombian national team player, and also the national hero, knocking down the three-pointer to send Colombia to the Second Round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Americas Qualifiers.
Angelo Caloiaro will add more depth on the wing. He played the BCL with Banvit back in 2017-18, showing enough promise for Maccabi Tel Aviv to dial his number and keep him in Israel from 2018 to 2022.
He is now back to Turkey just weeks after his 33rd birthday. He has an Italian passport, but is from San Jose, California, USA. Angelo averaged 11.8 points and 5.6 rebounds for Banvit in his only BCL campaign to date.
Galatasaray Nef will be in Regular Season Group C, alongside Hapoel Holon, Filou Oostende and Legia Warszawa.