Dolomiti Energia Trento enters its fifth straight season in the 7DAYS EuroCup with momentum from the end of 2020-21 and hopes of finally taking another step forward. The Italian club reached the Top 16 for a third time last year and Emanuele Molin will open the season as head coach for the first time in ages - though he has loads of winning experience on the sidelines. Trento may be flying under the radar as a darkhorse challenger to go deep in the competition.
The heart and soul of the team is back; captain Toto Forray has played for Trento since 2011. The 35-year-old is still producing and averaged 5.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists last season in the EuroCup. Forray won’t be needed to do a lot this season as others will be doing the heavy lifting. The biggest name on the team is Diego Flaccadori who returns to Trento on loan from German side FC Bayern Munich. Flaccadori played for Trento from 2014 to 2019 and will be extra motivated to show what he can do with more playing time, something he didn’t get with Bayern. Destona Bradford will likely be sharing the playmaking duties as he makes his EuroCup debut. He is known to be a menace defensively, having finished in the top-two in steals the last two seasons he played. Wesley Saunders is another scoring option for Trento, arriving from Fortitudo Bologna after starting last season with AS Monaco. The backcourt also includes 20-year-old guard talent Luca Conti, who played 10 games in the EuroCup last season for the team.
Cameron Reynolds will be making his debut in Europe and is a deadly marksman from the wings. Forward Jordan Caroline led the Taiwan League in scoring and finished third in rebounds last season. The center spot will be manned by Johnathan Williams, who averaged 11.3 points and 7.8 rebounds in a strong EuroCup stint for Maccabi Rishon LeZion in 2019-20. Trento also includes two Italian big men, who will be called upon to spell the other low-post players. Andrea Mezzanotte is 23 years old, but already has three years of EuroCup experience. The team’s prized young talent is 19-year-old center Maximilian Ladurner, who averaged 2.9 points and 2.4 rebounds in 12 minutes in 16 EuroCup last season. The 2.06-meter big man also appeared in three EuroCup games in 2019-20.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Cameron Reynolds proved himself as a go-to scorer over the past three seasons in the G-League and has now crossed the ocean to try filling up baskets in Europe. The lefty shooter was invited to the USA Select Team, which challenged the USA squad that would eventually play at the 2020 Olympics and win gold. Reynolds is deadly from the outside and can light up teams in bunches. He also can drive to the basket and likes to stop and hit mid-jumpers, but he can also finish around the basket. How quickly Reynolds establishes himself as a force in the EuroCup could determine a lot for Trento this season.
Trento might not be high on many people’s lists of darkhorse contenders but there is a lot to like about this team; the mix of a motivated Diego Flaccadori, Cameron Reynolds, Johnathan Williams and Jordan Caroline could be worth its weight in gold. Those guys will also be coached by someone who knows how to win. Emanuele Molin won the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague crown three times as assistant for Ettore Messina (2001 with Virtus Bologna and 2006 and 2008 at CSKA Moscow). He also was an assistant for Messina at Benetton Treviso, where he was also an assistant for Mike D’Antoni and Zeljko Obradovic. Molin took over Trento midway through the Top 16 last season and won two of the final three games while also guiding the club to a 7-2 close to the Italian League regular season, helping it go from 15th in the standings to the final eighth spot in the playoffs. Molin is finally in charge of his own team and it will be intriguing to see what he can do.