EuroLeague signings: Happy returns

Sep 23, 2021 by Print
EuroLeague signings: Happy returns

Three players are former Turkish Airlines EuroLeague champions and some others have come close. Some went away to get more experience and return now ready to make a greater impact. What all these summer signees have in common is they wanted to get back to the EuroLeague and they've made it!

Ismet Akpinar, Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul

Ismet Akpinar played in the EuroLeague years ago and returns ready to prove his value with the ever-ambitious Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul. Akpinar had a brief experience in the EuroLeague, averaging 1.6 points in 5 games with ALBA Berlin in the 2014-15 season. He went to play in several German and Turkish squads before signing his contract with his current team. At age 26, Akpinar is a young veteran and a threat from downtown; he made 41.2% of his three-point shots in his last two EuroCup seasons.

Danilo Andjusic, AS Monaco

Danilo Andjusic played three EuroLeague seasons in the past, two of them with Partizan NIS Belgrade, at the start of his career and another one with UNICS Kazan in 2016-17 with a very limited role. He has averaged 3.6 points on 23.6% three-point shooting in 25 career EuroLeague games. Andjusic is back in the EuroLeague with AS Monaco as one of the best all-around scorers on the continent. He averaged 17.4 points on 90.7% free throw shooting in 15 EuroCup games with JL Bourg en Bresse last season.

Tyler Cavanaugh, Zalgiris Kaunas

A modern power forward with deep shooting range and all-around skills, Tyler Cavanaugh returns to the EuroLeague with Zalgiris Kaunas after debuting in the competition with ALBA Berlin in the 2019-20 campaign. He averaged 6.4 points and 3.3 rebounds for ALBA in what was his first season in Europe. Cavanaugh went on to play for Iberostar Tenerife before joining Zalgiris. He shot the ball well in the Spanish League last season (60.8% 2FG, 45.1% 3FG, 83.6% FT) and Cavanaugh should keep it going.

Nikola Ivanovic, Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade

At age 27, combo guard Nikola Ivanovic has switched Adriatic powerhouses, joining Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade at the prime of his career. Ivanovic brings a lot of know-how from his seven seasons with Buducnost VOLI Podgorica of his native Montenegro, mostly in the 7DAYS EuroCup. During that run, he debuted in the EuroLeague with Buducnost, playing eight games in the 2018-19 season with averages of 7.0 points and 3.6 assists. Ivanovic made it to the All-EuroCup Second Team in the 2017-18 campaign, too.

Dmitry Kulagin, Zenit St Petersburg

After a year away from basketball, Dimitry Kulagin returned to action this summer and averaged 16.0 points and 7.5 assists for the Russian national team. Zenit St Petersburg brought him back to make the most out of his experience, intensity and versatility. Kulagin has a chance to show his value in the EuroLeague, a competition he was in with CSKA Moscow in 2016. He was chosen to the 2017-18 All-EuroCup Second Team with Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar, too, and is back in St Petersburg after six long years.

Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Zenit St Petersburg

A nightmare matchup due to his size, ballhandling, versatility and quickness, Mindaugas Kuzminskas should be an interesting fit for Zenit St Petersburg. He has plenty of EuroLeague experience - nine seasons with Zalgiris Kaunas, Unicaja Malaga, AX Armani Exchange Milan and Olympiacos Piraeus between 2010 and 2020. Kuzminskas averaged 8.0 points and 2.9 rebounds in 164 EuroLeague career games until now. He is too fast for most power forwards and too big for most small forwards, which is always a plus.

James Nunnally, Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv

As the only EuroLeague winner on Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv's roster, James Nunnally should play a leading role as he tries to make a difference at the small forward spot. Nunnally is also a great shooter - he has made 48.5% of his three-point shots in four EuroLeague seasons, which is the best percentage ever for a player with at least 75 triples made. Maccabi will be his third EuroLeague stop after three seasons with Fenerbahce - with which he won the championship in 2017 - and one with Milan.

Vincent Poirier, Real Madrid

Vincent Poirier joined Real Madrid late last season and already showcased his collection of skills at both ends of the floor. An accomplished rebounder and shot-blocker, Poirier joins forces with Edy Tavares to form a very strong frontline. He can play above the rim and score in many ways around the basket. Poirier was chosen to the 2018-19 All-EuroLeague Second Team after averaging 11.9 points and 8.3 rebounds in 34 games for Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz. He is back with one main goal in mind: raising the EuroLeague crown.

Andrey Vorontsevich, UNICS Kazan

Few players know the EuroLeague better than Andrey Vorontsevich, who knows what it takes to be successful in the competition. Vorontsevich was with CSKA Moscow for 14 consecutive years. He joined that club in 2006 from Lokomotiv Novosibirsk and wore its trademark red uniform until 2020. He helped CSKA win EuroLeague titles in 2008, 2016 and 2019 and played 274 EuroLeague games for the Muscovites. Vorontsevich returns to the competition with UNICS Kazan to be one of its pillars.

Maik Zirbes, Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade

Maik Zirbes was one of the most dominant big men in the EuroLeague when he led Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade to the playoffs in 2015-16. He averaged 12.1 points and 6.1 rebounds that season. However, since starting the next season with Maccabi Tel Aviv, Zirbes has not played again in Europe's premier competition. The bullish center returns to a familiar spot this season with Zvezda eager to show that he can still be a force in the paint.