Umana Reyer Venice will play its third consecutive 7DAYS EuroCup campaign eager to bounce back after only winning two games last season. Reyer made sure to sign players with a lot of experience in the competition to be as competitive as possible from the very beginning of the season.
Tarik Phillip and Julyan Stone are set to share the point guard duties for Coach Walter De Raffaele's side with Andrea De Nicolao and Bruno Cerella ready to help off the bench. Phillip already played in the competition with Tofas Bursa. He is a good shooter with great court vision, who also helps on defense with his intensity and determination. Stone is a physical, team-oriented player who helps on the boards and gets his team going in transition. De Nicolao can change games with his high basketball IQ and shots from beyond the arc. Cerella is an experienced defensive player who rarely makes mistakes. Stefano Tonut was chosen as the Italian League MVP last season and is expected to play a leading role in the 2021-22 EuroCup. Swingman Victor Sanders is a perfect fit for Reyer due to his quickness, athleticism and aggressiveness. The club also signed Michele Vitali, a tall guard who knows how to use his size and ballhandling to find advantages on offense and can also play a big role on defense due to his overall toughness.
Veteran three-point bomber Michael Bramos is back for a seventh consecutive campaign with Reyer. Other than being ready to pull the trigger from downtown, Bramos offers leadership, experience and plenty of intensity. In an interesting move, Reyer signed Vasilis Charalampopoulos, a great basketball talent who has not yet fulfilled his potential. He has the size, skills and shooting range to become a very important player. Reyer will rely on Austin Daye and Jeff Brooks at power forward. Daye is an all-around player with great one-on-one skills and is a nightmare matchup due to his size, ballhandling ability and calmness in clutch situations. Brooks, a EuroCup champion in 2017, is a blue-collar player who runs the floor like a guard and can help the team in many ways thanks to his experience and winning mentality. Mitchell Watt returns as Reyer's main frontcourt reference to offer rebounding and post skills. Martynas Echodas, the 2018-19 EuroCup Rising Star, is a great rebounder who runs the floor well for a player his size and position and is never afraid to attack the rim. Center Valerio Mazzola is back to help off the bench.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Stefano Tonut played sensational basketball at the end of the Italian League season and was chosen as the competition's MVP after averaging 15.6 points and 2.9 assists in 33 games. Tonut struggled in the 2020-21 EuroCup, however, averaging 10.7 points on 44.7% two-point shooting and 2.3 assists in seven games. Tonut, whose father Alberto also played professional basketball, turns 28 in November and is at the prime of his career. He has developed into an all-around scorer and a strong pick-and-roll player. It is only a matter of time before out becomes one of the best shooting guards in the EuroCup and with more talent around him, he should be confident enough to lead Reyer to another good EuroCup season.
Last season, Reyer did not get past the regular season, finishing the EuroCup with a disappointing 2-8 record. The Italian powerhouse did its homework in the off-season market, bringing in players like Brooks, Phillip and Echodas, who know what it takes to succeed in the EuroCup. It also managed to keep a solid core of players such as Tonut, Watt, Bramos and Daye, who have been playing together for Coach de Raffaele for some years now. In other words, Reyer has all it takes to compete well at this level, should reach the playoffs and due to its competitive nature, be a tough opponent for everyone out there.