Buducnost returns to a familiar setting for its ninth go in the competition this decade and now with a new man as head of its bench. New head coach Aleksandar Dzikic accepted the challenge of getting Buducnost back to EuroCup relevance after a pair of disappointing seasons, including last year's winless campaign. Buducnost brings the core of the club's young domestic talent back and the roster was given a boost with several reinforcements. Dzikic will have a new backcourt duo on his new team with playmaker Nikola Ivanovic and veteran scoring guard Kyle Gibson. The Buducnost front line was revamped with the arrivals of veteran center Kyle Landry, big man Filip Barovic and young forward Danilo Nikolic.
Playmaking duties this season are expected to be split between youngster Ivanovic, who returned to the club after two seasons away, and veteran combo-guard Nemanja Gordic, whose versatility is of great importance because of his defensive aggressiveness. Gibson is meant to be a go-to-guy for Buducnost this season, but also a great compliment to swingman Suad Sehovic, who has been the team's most consistent performer over the past four seasons. His brother Sead as well as promising shooting guard Petar Popovic will also have important roles on the perimeter, which has depth through a few more talented youngsters eager to get in and use their opportunities, like Andrija Slavkovic and Bogdan Bojic.
It's rare to find a team in the competition with as much size as Buducnost, with five players of at least 2.06 meters. This front line starts with center Kyle Landry, who joined Buducnost after spending six seasons with Zenit St. Petersburg. Backing up the veteran will be a competition debutant at 27 years old, Filip Barovic, who returns to the club after six seasons away and whose size and toughness could go long ways this season. Zoran Nikolic, a solid rebounder with plenty of size, is also in the mix. Another returnee to the club is young stretch four Danilo Nikolic, while young forwards Vasilije Bacovic and Aleksa Ilic await chances to display their talent.
PLAYER TO WATCH
A former teen-sensation who is blossoming into a top point guard, Nikola Ivanovic returns to the competition poised to make more noise and leave a deep mark. Already accustomed to being under the spotlight, at 23 years old Ivanovic is already a veteran of four full EuroCup seasons having made his debut as a 17-year old in 2011. But after being a backup and more of a role player in the past, Ivanovic returns to the team from the capital of his native country determined to show that he is ready to take a lead role. A pass-first playmaker who does not shy away in big moments or in big games, Ivanovic will want to prove he is capable of running the Buducnost offense and use the mix of youth and veterans around him to bring more success to the club.
Everyone in and around the perennial Montenegrin champion would love to forget the last EuroCup season in which Buducnost lost each of its eight games. But the club and new coach have their sights on a little more than just improving compared to last season. Coach Dzikic is well known for finding and developing talented players, and Buducnost could be a perfect place for him with a roster that features only six players older than 24. As such, Buducnost might lack the needed experience, but have plenty of motivation and energy. And with the veteran presence of Landry, Gipson, Gordic and the Sehovic brothers, that youth could grow quicker than expected and make this a fun season in Podgorica.