Slask Wroclaw returns to the 7DAYS EuroCup for the first time since the 2007-08 campaign. Coach Petar Mijovic and his team hope to play the underdog role to perfection to advance past the regular season and into the elimination rounds.
Strahinja Jovanovic should be Slask's floor general and starting point guard. He is a pass-first playmaker who also attacks the basket and has a high basketball IQ. Lukasz Kolenda arrives after a good season with Trefl Sopot (11.4 ppg., 3.8 apg.). A good scorer with great ambition, Kolenda has a chance to test his skills against more experienced guards. Justin Bibbs, however, should be Slask's main option at shooting guard. An athletic all-around player, Bibbs could surprise a lot of people. Veteran Jakub Karolak has both EuroCup and EuroLeague experience from his time with PGE Turow Zgorzelec, which could prove valuable. He should be another important source of points for the team. Kacper Gordon is an up-and-coming talent with good passing skills who could have a key role off the bench. Combo guard Kacper Marchewka has excelled in youth competitions and should fight for playing time to showcase his scoring skills. Swingman Kodi Justice is expected to play a big role due to his size, deep shooting range and experience.
All signs point to Kerem Kanter being Slask's frontcourt leader. He is a modern power forward with deep shooting range, post skills and great determination. Kanter rebounds well at both ends and should give Slask the scoring punch it needs around the baskets. Cyril Langevine provides outstanding rebounding skills and a great feel for the game. He led the Swedish League in rebounds (11.9 rpg., 4.2 orpg.) and blocks (1.8 bpg.) last season, his first as a professional. Ivan Ramljak is the most experienced player on the team, a versatile forward with excellent shooting range and a great feel for steals. Aleksander Dziewa is an interesting player who can score in many ways and provide aggressiveness at both ends. He may be a key player for Coach Mijovic. Maciej Bender, Michal Gabinski, Szymon Tomczak and Jan Wojcik - son of the late Polish legend Adam Wojcik - give Slask countless options around the baskets.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Justin Bibbs is a young, ambitious shooting guard who could make things happen in Wroclaw. A former star in high school, Bibbs helped the USA national team win a gold medal at the 2015 U19 World Cup. He started his professional career in the G League and comes off a breakout season in New Zealand, where he averaged 18.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists for Auckland. He is a natural athlete; his uncle Mike Haynes is an NFL Hall of Famer. Bibbs uses his power and explosiveness to blow past his defenders and gets to the foul line often. He also rebounds well on the defensive end to start fastbreaks. Bibbs has a chance to get to the next level by competing in the always-demanding EuroCup.
The Polish powerhouse has been away from the EuroCup for more than a decade and put together a team that does not have a lot of experience in the competition. It can go either of two ways: Slask has the potential to surprise a lot of teams because most of its main players are not known at this level. However, the team needs to adjust to a different level of basketball and may need some time. Taking one game at a time is critical for Slask, as is being strong in front of its fans at Hala Orbita. Like every inexperienced team, Slask should get better as the competition goes on and the new format gives it better chances to stay in the fight to reach the knock-out rounds.