2016-17 Team Profile: Unicaja Malaga

Jul 29, 2016 by Eurocupbasketball.com Print
2016-17 Team Profile: Unicaja Malaga

Unicaja Malaga enjoyed a strong start in the 2015-16 Turkish Airlines Euroleague season, becoming the only team in the competition to reach the regular season's halfway mark undefeated. That included road win against Euroleague heavyweights Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv and CSKA Moscow in which Mindaugas Kuzminskas shined more than anyone. Unicaja qualified to the Top 16 for the 11th consecutive season and kept first-place options open until the end of the regular season, but a home loss against CSKA saw the team rank second with a 7-3 record. Unicaja went on to win two of its first three games in Top 16 Group E with home triumphs over Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul and Cedevita Zagreb. The club, however, went on to win just one in the next 10 games and ran out of chances for what would have been its first playoffs appearance since 2007. Despite a final home win against Fenerbahce Istanbul, Unicaja was seventh in Group E with a 4-10 record.


2015-16 Euroleague 11-13 Top 16
2014-15 Euroleague 8-16 Top 16
2013-14 Euroleague 11-13 Top 16
2012-13 Euroleague 15-9 Top 16
2011-12 Euroleague 4-12 Top 16
2010-11 Euroleague 6-10 Top 16
2009-10 Euroleague 9-7 Top 16
2008-09 Euroleague 10-6 Top 16
2007-08 Euroleague 13-7 Top 16
2006-07 Euroleague 14-11 Semifinal, Final Four
2005-06 Euroleague 15-5 Top 16
2004-05 Euroleague 6-8 Regular Season
2003-04 Euroleague 4-10 Regular Season
2002-03 Euroleague 8-12 Top 16
2001-02 Euroleague 6-8 Regular Season
TOTAL: 155-147


Unicaja opens a new chapter in its history by playing the Eurocup for the first time in the 2016-17 season. Founded in 1977 as Club Baloncesto Caja de Ronda, it wasn't until 1992 – when it merged with cross-town rival Maristas – that it started to challenge for bigger goals. Everything clicked in 1995 when Unicaja came within a shot of winning its first Spanish League title. Mike Ansley missed that shot in Game 4 of the finals and the club would have to wait until 2001 before it could celebrate its first crown. Unicaja, led by Coach Bozidar Maljkovic and star scorer Veljko Mrsic, was finally rewarded by winning the Korac Cup over Hemofarm Vrsac in the two-game final. Unicaja followed that by reaching the Spanish League finals in 2002 and the Euroleague Top 16 for the first time in 2003, which proved to be the cornerstone of a bright future. In 2005, Unicaja lifted the Spanish Copa del Rey trophy for its first domestic title behind star forward Jorge Garbajosa. And things got even better the next season; Unicaja won the Spanish League championship with Garbajosa and home-grown talents Berni Rodriguez and Carlos Cabezas among those leading the way for Coach Sergio Scariolo. A year later, Unicaja marked its greatest continental success to date by reaching the 2007 Euroleague Final Four in Athens, led by Daniel Santiago, Carlos Jimenez, Cabezas and Rodriguez. Even though CSKA stopped Unicaja in the semifinal, the club had confirmed its status among the European elite. Unicaja advanced to the Copa del Rey title game in 2009 before losing in overtime against Tau Ceramica. Despite the lack of trophies, Unicaja has been consistent, especially in the Euroleague with its long Top 16 run. Coach Joan Plaza and players like Jayson Granger, Carlos Suarez and Fran Vazquez made Unicaja even more competitive recently, taking the team to the Spanish League semifinals in 2014 and 2015. Last season, Unicaja Unicaja returned to the Top 16 for the 11th consecutive season, an achievement that only FC Barcelona and Panathinaikos Athens have matched. Unicaja missed the Copa del Rey tournament, but reached the Spanish playoffs before losing to Valencia Basket. Always competitive and with great fans ready to support the team, Unicaja faces a new challenge in the 2016-17 Eurocup.