Herbalife Gran Canaria has been a staple of the 7DAYS EuroCup for the last decade, but now, for the first time in club history, the time has come for its debut in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. Located on the Canary Islands, the team will have many tough trips in the 30-game regular season, but it will force the rest of the teams to take the same long trips to the islands. That, combined with a noisy fan base and cohesive unit that likes to play fun-to-watch basketball, will be an ace up Gran Canaria's sleeve as it looks to prove it belongs at the top level.
Round 1: EuroLeague debut against a giant
If Gran Canaria wants to get a real taste of the EuroLeague, what better way than a trip to Istanbul to face the 2017 champ and 2018 runner-up? Fenerbahce Istanbul is always a tough nut to crack for any EuroLeague team and a debutante like Gran Canaria will soon learn that being at the top level is not easy. However, the fact that the team has never played in the competition and that it might not be a well-known name for some could be what it needs to start its EuroLeague campaign with a surprise.
Round 2: First home game against a familiar face
The fans on the Canary Islands will get their first taste of the EuroLeague at home against a familiar face, FC Barcelona Lassa. The two teams have played countless times in domestic competition, but there's no denying that Granca making its EuroLeague home debut will make this matchup special. The hosts will badly want to win in front of their fans and a well-known foe could be the perfect way to just do that. Expect a close duel between two teams that know each other to the last detail.
Round 10: Surviving the EuroCup run
Gran Canaria is one of four clubs competing in the EuroLeague this season that played in the EuroCup last year and it will face each of the other three in a three week span bridging November and December with FC Bayern Munich coming to the Canary Islands first and Buducnost Voli Podgorica visiting last. In between comes a trip to Istanbul to play Darussafaka, which is the only of the trio that Granca played in the EuroCup last season. The teams split Top 16 contests. All four EuroLeague newcomers/returnees will be out to flex their muscles against each other in what should be exciting games.
Round 17: The champs visit Las Palmas
Another of the regular season highlights at Gran Canaria Arena will surely be the visit of defending champion Real Madrid. These teams know each other well from domestic competition; Los Blancos ended Gran Canaria's campaign in the Spanish League last season with a semifinals sweep. The game marks the comeback to the islands of Jaycee Carroll, who played with Gran Canaria from 2009 to 2011.
Round 28: Last home game against the Reds
The final home game of the regular season for Granca will be against Olympiacos Piraeus. Though it's impossible to know at this point what each of these teams will be playing for at the end of the phase, it's undeniable that the visit of Coach David Blatt and his stars Vassilis Spanoulis, Georgios Printezis and Kostas Papanikolaou is always a treat for any group of fans in Europe, and of course, also for the fans in Las Palmas who will be getting to see the Reds for the first time.