By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
After a season of absence in which they played in the Eurocup, UNICS Kazan return to the Euroleague as they managed to reach the finals of the VTB league and secured their participation.
The Russian club wants to appear competitive and they have a good chance of doing so since they kept the most important players of the roster (Langford, Colom, Williams, Kaimakoglou, Parakhouski) and completed some very useful signings. The last time UNICS took part in the tournament (2014/15) they didn’t manage to qualify for the Top 16, but their budget this year allows them to aim a little higher.
A primary concern for the administration was to retain the most important pieces that made up last year’s puzzle and beyond that to strengthen the team wherever they felt it was necessary. The moves that were made were especially careful and the name that stands out is that of Coty Clarke. The American guard, together with Keith Langford, is expected to “carry” UNICS in terms of scoring since both of them have a great offensive talent.
Aside from them, during the transfer period the Russian element was strongly reinforced with Antipov, Karpukhin, Yevstafev, and Voronov who are going to be coming off the bench to provide important solutions.
Evgeniy Pashutin has extensive experience in Russian teams since he has worked in CSKA, Spartak, and UNICS Kazan in the past. Throughout his career he has celebrated titles at home but also abroad as in 2010 he won the VTB league with CSKA, while in 2011 and 2013 he won the Eurocup with UNICS and Lokomotiv respectively. Now, he wants to move up to a higher level and lead his team to a good run in the Euroleague.
They will be satisfied if…
… they finish in the top 10 teams and stay in the battle for the playoffs until the end of the regular period! A possible qualification would automatically mean a great success for UNICS Kazan and would be considered outstanding. Several of the players on the roster, however, have been in Kazan for years now, which means that the team won’t need a lot of time to find chemistry and deliver on the court.
We are anxiously waiting to see…
… how much damage UNICS will manage to do against theoretically stronger teams and whether they start off with a few wins in order to get into a good frame of mind for what will follow. At the same time, Keith Langford returns to the Euroleague at the age of 33 and it will be very interesting to see how rival defenses are going to try to stop one of the best scorers in the history of the tournament.