For its third consecutive 7DAYS EuroCup campaign, Germani Brescia has made a lot of important changes to its roster. The additions of eight new players give Coach Vincezo Esposito an interesting mix of experience and fresh talent to work with. Kenny Chery, a top 10 scorer in the 2019-10 EuroCup Regular Season, and three-point threat Tyler Kalinoski arrived to bolster Brescia's backcourt. There is a whole new frontcourt, too, led by rebounding machine Dusan Ristic, power forwards T.J. Cline and Christian Burns, and big, mobile center Andrea Ancellotti. Drew Crawford, who was chosen as the 2018-19 Italian League MVP, and up-and-coming prospect Giordano Bortolani - on loan from Turkish Airlines EuroLeague powerhouse AX Armani Exchange Milan, will also provide fireworks. Brescia also managed to keep several of its key players and will try to be more competitive than ever.
Luca Vitali and Chery are set to share the point guard duties. Both players are different and compatible, which gives Coach Esposito plenty of options, especially on offense. Vitali is a tall (2.01 meters), pass-first playmaker with great experience and poise. On the other hand, Chery is a smaller point guard with outstanding scoring skills. He can create off the dribble due to his quick first step and one-on-one skills, highlighted by a very effective step-back jumper. He scored in double digits in all eight of his EuroCup games last season with JSF Nanterre, including 18 against Brescia. Kalinoski offers deep shooting range and determination at shooting guard. This will be his EuroCup debut, so playing alongside the veteran David Moss will help Kalinoski a lot. At age 37, Moss remains a great defensive player who is all about the team. Bortolani will fight for playing time off the bench.
By adding Ristic and Ancellotti, Brescia has more size in the paint than ever before. Ristic (2.14 meters), who arrives on loan from Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade, is a solid rebounder with good post moves who finishes well around the rim. Ancellotti (2.12 meters) also powers the boards well and can hit outside shots. They will split minutes at center with young big man Tommaso Guariglia. Cline arrives after three seasons in Israel in which his production rose steadily from year to year. He is an all-around player who will help on the boards and can score in many ways. Burns arrives to offer strength, power and experience down low. Crawford will see most minutes of the minutes at small forward. He is a player full of energy who loves to attack the basket and draws many fouls. Just like last season, Brian Sacchetti gives Brescia versatility, experience and the occasional three-pointer.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Crawford can be Brescia's difference-maker this season. A natural-born mismatch at the '3' position, he can run to the basket like a guard but and power the glass like a power forward. After a great 2018-19 season with Vanoli Cremona, in which he led his team to the Italian Cup, Crawford split the 2019-20 campaign with Turkish side Gaziantep Basketbol and Milan. At age 28, Crawford is at the prime of his career and facing new challenges. It will be his first EuroCup season and he leads a team that already reached the Top 16 in 2020 and wants to keep growing in the competition. His athleticism and all-around scoring skills, whether driving to the basket or taking shots from deep range, make him a player to follow in this exciting 2019-20 EuroCup campaign.
Brescia managed to get past the EuroCup Regular Season in its second experience in the competition. Despite winning its first two Top 16 home games, Brescia did not get past that stage but kept its hopes alive until the very last contest. A year later, Brescia is back in the competition to grow and get closer to challenge for titles. The team will need some time to reach its full potential, as it has many new players and a whole new frontcourt. Getting past the regular season as Brescia works on its team chemistry will be its initial goal. If the team arrives in good momentum and builds good chemistry in early 2021, Brescia will challenge again for a EuroCup playoff berth.