By Dimitris Minaretzis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Crvena Zvezda outdid themselves last year as they got in the top eight and fought honorably against CSKA despite getting knocked out in 3-0. The repetition of all this looks like a pipe dream as they lost their three most important players of the 2015-16 season.
That is, Quincy Miller, who was the revelation of the year, Maik Zirbes who covered Boban Marjanovic’s gap commendably, and the experienced Tarence Kinsey. They will rely of course on their powerful, rowdy home court and the talent of the (mostly) young Serbian players coming from the endless supply produced by the school of the small but miraculous in team sports country. Economical and profitable (resale) solutions since the budget cannot exceed the scant 3,5 million euros.
The champions of Serbia and the Adriatic League brought back Charles Jenkins (he played for two years in 2013-15) for the guard position, while in place of the Zirbes-Stimac duo they acquired Ognjen Kuzmic (Panathinaikos) and Milko Bjelica. They are on the lookout, however, for a more straightforward center as an alternative to the latter. What’s more, they held on to Jovic, Dangubic, Guduric and the experienced Simonovic, while Luka Mitrovic could also be considered a signing since he missed almost the entire season last year.
The successful Dejan Radonjic (two Serbian championships, two Cups and two Adriatic championships) has stayed on the bench, despite having offers from abroad. He got an extension and the reason is obvious since he is the one who, from 2013, gave prominence to Zvezda’s current Serbian “material”.
They will be satisfied if:
Qualification for the playoffs through a process of 30 games looks as the ultimate but distant goal.
We are anxiously waiting to see:
The progress of the young Serbian players that we mentioned above but also the lesser known ones who are going to be featured in the rotation. As a matter of fact, we are wondering how well the “off-color” last year in Panathinaikos, Kuzmic, is going to do…Media days in Piraeus, Kazan and Istanbul