Toney Douglas leads the pack of returning players for Benfica

2023-09-14T10:53:42+00:00 2023-09-14T11:11:32+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

14/Sep/23 10:53

Benfica is back in the Basketball Champions League with veteran Toney Douglas looking to contribute to more success

By Johnny Askounis/

Falling narrowly short of a berth in the Basketball Champions League Round of 16 in 2022-23, Benfica kept most of the players from last season’s squad, including Toney Douglas, hoping to draw even more attention to basketball in Portugal over the next few months.

Launching the continental campaign from the Qualification Round is far from an easy task. The Eagles need to defeat TSU Tbilisi and two more opponents in the Turkish city of Antalya to reach the Regular Season. Cyprus’ AEK Larnaca, Denmark’s Bakken Bears, Estonia’s Kalev/Cramo, Kosovo’s Peja, Slovakia’s Levicki Patrioti, and Sweden’s Norrkoping Dolphins are the remaining contenders for the specific berth, thus potential opponents.

Douglas, 37, is set for a third campaign in the Qualifiers of the FIBA Europe’s top-tier European club continental competition. The first experience with Sakarya in 2019 was unsuccessful. Bouncing back last season, he emerged among the leading players for Benfica marching past Golden Eagle Ylli, Keravnos, and Brose Bamberg in Lisbon to clinch a berth in the Regular Season.

The seasoned point guard further combined with Ivan Almeida, Aaron Broussard, and Terrell Carter to generate multiple upsets in the Regular Season. The team coached by Norberto Alves beat BAXI Manresa, Limoges CSP, and VEF Riga on the road, but after losing two games at home eventually settled on the wrong end of the tiebreaker with Manresa and the second seed of Group F. On the Play-In stage, Darussafaka Lassa sweeping the best-of-three series put an end to the Cinderella story.

His efforts in the BCL translated into 14.6 points, 3.9 assists, and 3.3 rebounds per contest in the Regular Season, and 9.0 points per contest in the Qualifiers.

At the domestic level, Douglas celebrated winning both the Liga Betclic and Cup titles last season, adding to capturing the Turkish Cup as a member of Anadolu Efes in 2018.

Toney Douglas stays for a second season

A veteran of 409 games played in the NBA, Douglas went from Turkiye to Spain, Italy, Greece, and Israel, before landing in Portugal last summer. Sticking around for a second season with the same team is a first since moving his talents to Europe in late 2017 as a midseason addition for Turkish Airlines EuroLeague outfit Efes.

Apart from Almeida, Broussard, Carter, and Douglas, the 2023-24 squad of Benfica features more returning players in Jose Barbosa, Makram Ben Romdhane, Diogo Gameiro, Beto Gomes, Jose Silva, and Sergio Silva, Newcomers Trey Drechsel and Daniel Relvao alongside youngsters Mor Laye Diop, Eduardo Fransisco, and Ivan Pavicevic are also set on the roster. On the opposite path, Maik Zirbes recently returned to Romerstrom Gladiators Trier, the first team of his career, Tomas Barroso retired, and James Ellisor also left the team.

Photo Credit: Basketball Champions League

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