Stelmet Zielona Gora is back to compete in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague for the second time in three years. Despite winning three of its last four Eurocup games, Zielona Gora did not get past the regular season in that competition, but was a powerhouse within the Polish borders right after that. Zielona Gora lifted the Polish Cup trophy after downing Rosa Radom 71-77 in the title game, and went on to win the Polish League title by dethroning PGE Turow Zgorzelec 4-2 in the finals. Its first Polish double allows Zielona Gora to be optimistic about its return to the Euroleague for the 2015-16 season. Its history traces back to 1946 and by the early 1960s, Zielona Gora was among the best teams in its region. In 1967, under the name Zastal, the club started to compete at the national level. Coach Tadeusz Aleksandrowicz made history by leading Zastal to the top league in Poland in 1984, where it remained, spare two seasons, through 2001. But then relegation hit hard and Zastal fell to the regional northern league. With the club’s future in doubt, Raphael Czarkowski led a group of basketball enthusiasts who took control of the club. Zastal rebounded and completed its comeback in 2010, when Coach Tomasz Herkt led Zielona Gora back to the top level. Walter Hodge arrived prior to the start of that season and soon developed not only into Zastal’s leader, but one of the best players in the league. Despite missing the Polish playoffs in 2011, Zielona Gora reached the 2012 Polish Cup final. Zielona Gora used that experience to do better than ever in 2012-13, when it made its Eurocup debut and swept PGE Turow in the finals to win its first Polish League title. Zielona Gora got its first taste of the Euroleague in the 2013-14 season and played the Euroleague Qualifying Rounds a year later. The club enjoyed an eventful first shot in the Euroleague that saw it win two games and nearly beat defending champion Olympiacos Piraeus on the road, but no titles came in the 2013-14 season. Zielona Gora now comes off its best season and has become the team to beat in Polish basketball. The next goal will be trying to be as competitive as possible in the 2015-16 Turkish Airlines Euroleague with the goal of becoming the first Polish team to reach the Top 16 since Asseco Prokom Gdynia did so in the 2009-10 season.
2014-15 Results: Eurocup: Regular Season, Polish League: Champion, Polish Cup: Champion