Club profile: Slask Wroclaw

Aug 10, 2021 by Print
Club profile: Slask Wroclaw

The most decorated Polish basketball club, Slask Wroclaw returns to the 7DAYS EuroCup after more years away. The 2007-08 season was the last time the 17-time Polish League and 14-time Polish Cup champions were participating in the competition, and the club that has been on a roller coaster ride ever since, now returns with a new found poise and ambition to get back to its old glory.

Founded in 1948, Slask has turned Wroclaw into a basketball city known not only in Poland, but all around Europe. The club won six Polish League titles in the period between 1965 and 1981, with the first coming behind Polish basketball legends Kazimierz Frelkiewicz and Mieczyslaw Lopatka. Slask won another title again in 1987, before establishing a dynasty like few others in the 1990's.

Slask won 10 league titles in a span of 12 seasons. It was the coach Andrej Urlep, who took the team to another level as Slask won five consecutive titles between 1998 and 2002 during the period called the Great Slask Era and players like Maciej Zielinski, Joseph McNaull, Rajmonds Miglinieks, Dominik Tomczyk or Adam Wojcik. No one knew the 2002 title would be the last one for Slask.

As a result of its domestic dominance, Slask played three Turkish Airlines EuroLeague seasons between 2001 and 2004, combining for a 15-27 record, and even knocked on the door of the Top 16 in 2003-04 behind an outstanding Lynn Greer, but it lost its last four regular season games and was eliminated in a six-way tie at 6-8 record.

That same season Slask won the first of two consecutive Polish Cups, before making its EuroCup debut in 2004-05. The team reached the EuroCup eighthfinals before being swept by Maroussi. After a pair of down seasons, Slask improved with the return of coach Urlep and returned to the EuroCup for the 2007-08 campaign. The team once again made it out of the regular season group, but got swept in the Last 32 home-and-away series against Dynamo Moscow.

However, financial problems hit the club hard and Slask declared bankruptcy ahead of the 2008-09 season. The club was relegated into the third Polish division where it stayed for four years before earning promotions in back-to-back seasons to return among Polish elite for the 2013-14 campaign. Even though the team missed the playoffs, a win in the 2014 Polish Cup reminded of Slask's glory days.

However, in 2016 Slask was once again facing financial problems, and was again saw its relegation into the third rank. This time, a climb back up the ladder lasted only three years, and Slask was back competing for Polish silverware in 2019. After a COVID-19 pandemic stopped Slask's first season back among the Polish elite, the 2020-21 was another season to remember. Against all the expectations, team played well the entire season and led by Strahinja Jovanovic, Elijah Stewart , Kyle Gibson and Aleksander Dziewa, reached the playoff semifinals before beating Legia Warszaw in the third-place series to win the bronze medal, its first Polish League podium finish in 13 years.

Slask is now ready to build on recent success, and continue its climb back to prominence, as it embarks on its first EuroCup campaign in more than 13 years.