By Stefan Djordjevic / firstname.lastname@example.org
SIG Strasbourg has been in the Basketball Champions League since its inaugural season and they’ve already been this far in the competition, in 2018, when they got eliminated by AEK in the quarterfinals.
The Greek squad went on to win the title that year and Strasbourg was very close to ruining that run.
However, since that moment, the French team started struggling as they couldn’t get past the regular season for two straight campaigns. They were fairly close in 2018-19, but last year, they finished with a 4-10 record.
It seemed as though the club will keep falling. After having some ups and downs during the initial group phase in the new format, Strasbourg started the playoffs with three losses in Group K against Turk Telekom, Nizhny Novgorod and AEK.
A single mistake would have eliminated them from the race but the squad stepped up. Every single player contributed but the leading role belonged to their backcourt duo of Bonzie Colson and Brandon Jefferson.
Colson went off for 18, 17 and 23 points during a three-game winning streak while Jefferson went for 18, 24, and 13.
“We dug ourselves in a 0-3 hole and then took it a game at a time. And we achieved our goal. We worked hard to get to the next round,” Colson told Eurohoops after the team punched the Final Eight ticket.
“I’d lie if is said I didn’t think it was over,” Jefferson said and added. “People may count us out from the beggining but we need to stay humble, keep working hard and prove people wrong.”
Colson was pretty much on fire throughout the whole season across all competitions as he went for 20-plus-point performances a total of 15 times so far. He even banked in 31 points in BCL against Riga early on.
He was named to the All-BCL Playoffs Team and was grabbing player of the month awards during the season. In fact, among the players that reached the Final Eight, Bonzie is currently the leading scorer overall this campaign with 19.1 points on 46% shooting including 34% from deep.
Very impressive and he’s certainly among the favorites to win the MVP along with Nizhny Novgorod’s Kasey Shepherd. However, nobody wins alone and Colson has a partner in crime when it comes to killing the opposing defenses.
Jefferson has been averaging 14.6 points and has been putting up big games similar to Colson. He had eleven 20-plus-point performances and also went for 31 in BCL, against Rytas Vilnius.
Far from it that the duo has not been helped out by the rest of the team – captain DeAndre Lansdowne, Jaromir Bohacik, Yannis Morin, Ishmail Wainright, to name some.
“Everyone helped in what was definitely a team effort. We have a lot of guys to score 20 plus points. We give ourselves confidence,” Colson said.
The team was especially recognizable by their hustle on the offensive boards, grabbing 14.5 per game, giving them a lot of second chances.
However, going up against a team such as Lenovo Tenerife in the Final Eight will be a huge challenge and it’s very hard to imagine Strasbourg coming out victorious if the fiery duo of Colson and Jefferson isn’t on top of the task.
That said, the duo has shown so far that they can deliver and this might be the year SIG Strasbourg reaches the Final Four for the first time, and perhaps even steps on the podium.
Photo Credit: Basketball Champions League