Even though ASK Riga’s glory days are far in the past, there is great ambition in the Latvian capital to return to greatness. ASK, which stands for Army Sports Club, was the first European Cup winner in 1958 and managed to defend its title in 1959 and 1960. Only Split (1989-91) has been able to win three consecutive continental crowns since then, which says enough about ASK and how it dominated European basketball 50 years ago. Players like Valdis and Gustav Muznieks,
Maigonis Valdmanis and the legendary Janis Krumins dominated European basketball for three consecutive seasons, coached by a young Aleksandar Gomelskiy. Krumins remains one of the most unstoppable players ever in Europe while Gomelskiy became a coaching legend and his legacy lives on. ASK downed Academic Sofia in the 1958 and 1959 Euroleague two-way finals, and did the same with Dynamo Tblisi the following season. Gomelsky soon joined CSKA, which became the team to beat in Russian basketball, but Riga stayed competitive in the Soviet League until the early 1990s. Years of obscurity followed, even though Riga was always represented by teams like BK Skonto, Barons/LU or VEF Riga. BK Riga was re-founded in 2004 and it got back the name of ASK Riga on March 23, 2006, supported by the Riga City Council, the National Army Forces and some powerful sponsors, as well as the brand new Riga Arena, with room for 10,500 fans. The team made it to the both the Baltic League and the FIBA EuroCup quarterfinals, but the best was yet to come. The arrival of Torrayne Braggs happened to be the key piece in a roster already featuring Sandis Valters, Raitis Grafs, Curtis Millage and Sandis Buskevics. ASK won the best-of-seven Latvian League finals 4-2 and started a new era, breaking BK Ventspils's seven-year dynasty. ASK hosted the ULEB Cup opening game last season, but a plague of injuries did not allow the team to reach the elimination rounds. Nevertheless, ASK returned to the Latvian League finals and finished third in the Baltic League, right behind Lithuanian superpowers Zalgiris Kaunas and Lietuvos Rytas. ASK remains ambitious as the team tries to live up to its legendary reputation in the Eurocup.