Turkish Airlines Euroleague
May 23, 2013
bwin Euroleague Fantasy Challenge
Tel Aviv 2004
Qualifying Rounds 2012
NIKE International Junior Tournament
2012 Qualifying Round profile: Le Mans Sarthe
BATISTA, JOAO PAULO
Le Mans Sarthe Basket returns to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Qualifying Rounds for the first time since 2009 with the goal of reaching the continental basketball elite early for the 2012-13 season. Le Mans comes off a solid domestic season in which the club reached the Semaine des As semifinals and made it all the way to the French League title game. Le Mans survived the Eurocup Qualifying Round against Pinar Karsiyaka, but did not advance past the regular season. One of the oldest teams in France, Le Mans's history is one of a kind. In 1939, when men were drafted to battle in World War II, their women went to an existing sports club – Goulou Club – and created its basketball section. By 1952 Le Mans had won the French League women's title and decided to open a men's basketball team, too. Le Mans made it to the top French League in 1963 and won the French Cup in 1964. Le Mans needed more time before it won its first French League title in 1978. Then the team successfully defended the crown in 1979, made it to three more finals and won again in 1982. Players like Floyd Allen, Hevre Dubuisson, Greg and Eric Beugnot, Olivier Veyrat and Bob Purkhinser allowed Le Mans to reach that success. Le Mans made its debut in European competitions in the 1974-75 Saporta Cup and played the Euroleague's first group stage in 1978-79 and 1979-80. The club faced tough times after that and even fell to the second division, but managed to bounce back. Le Mans got back to its glory days in 2003-04, when it won the French Cup. The team did even better in 2005-06 by winning both the French League and Semaine des As titles under local legend Vincent Collet as head coach. That success led to its first of three consecutive Euroleague appearances between 2006-07 and 2008-09. Le Mans did not reach the Top 16 on any of those occasions and its French League playoff runs came to an end in the semifinals. Le Mans, however, had a successful 2008-09 season by lifting the French Cup and the Semaine des As trophies. In 2009-10, led by JP Batista, Dee Spencer and Marc Salyers, Le Mans returned to the Eurocup and made it to the Last 16. It also reached the final Euroleague Qualifying Round, where it lost to BC Khimki, and then flirted with the Eurocup Quarterfinals, but Alex Acker and Ben Dewar could not get the team past the Last 16. On the heels of another strong season, Le Mans looks for an even better 2012-13, which would start best by getting back to the Euroleague.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
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