18/Oct/16 20:30

#GameOn: Ante Tomic vs. Luigi Datome

18 Oct 2016 2016-10-18T19:30:05+00:00.

Aris Barkas

- 18 Oct 2016


By Nikos Varlas/ varlas@eurohoops.net

In the clash between FC Barcelona Lassa and Fenerbahce Istanbul on Friday night, we are going to enjoy a Final Four-level showdown, one of many that this year’s Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season has to offer!

Both teams started out the season with victories and in this upcoming battle between them, two players who play in different positions, but who are united by a common characteristic feature, are going to be key.

Both Ante Tomic and Luigi Datome define their team’s offenses to a large extent. They score, they have the quality to create plays for themselves in the halfcourt game, and often the way they move and function determines the right spacing between the players, something that all coaches place great emphasis on.

Tomic, now in his eighth EuroLeague season, after having played the first three with Real Madrid, combines his big size (2m.17) with a variety of pivot moves. He can finish plays with both hands, he has an effective hook shot, and his career percentage in two-point shooting reaches 60%!

One of his most important gifts is his perception of space and his ability to pass from the low post. When the defense double-teams him, he knows how to take advantage of his teammates’ off-the-ball movement. He has been chosen to the All-EuroLeague First Team two times and once to the All-EuroLeague Second Team. Overall, in the last five years, he’s been consistently among the most important big men and definitely the most skilled offensively in the paint. Barcelona uses him as a key pillar in their offense.

Datome gets the job done in a different way and style. He can do damage to rival defenses from either the small forward or power forward positions and is a threat from the three-point line! He’s quite a capable shooter from mid-range, too, and a master at scoring through post up moves even in off-balance situations. Last season, he developed his game even further and is now capable of reading his defenders and going all the way to the basket.

Datome is in his seventh EuroLeague season, this second one with Fenerbahce following two in Montepaschi Siena and three in Lottomatica Roma. Last year he tallied an average of 12.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.9 assists, with 54.8% in two-point shooting and 46.2% in three-point shooting. In the Final Four in Berlin he was even more productive, with 15.5 points, 2.5 assists, 66.7% in two-point shooting and 50% in three-point shooting! He was chosen to last season’s All-EuroLeague Second Team.

Both the Croatian center as well as the Italian forward have many years of service in the EuroLeague, but they’ve faced each other only once and that was a while back! It was an encounter in the 2010-11 regular season, when Madrid comfortably defeated Roma 72-50 in December 2010. That night Tomic scored 8 points and grabbed 5 rebounds, while Datome scored 12 and also got 5 rebounds.

Almost six years have gone by since then and the two of them are going to be rivals once again. Barcelona and Fenerbahce have high-quality rosters and several players who are able to step up and make the difference. But the performances of Tomic on the one hand and Datome on the other are certainly going to be important factors in the history that is going to be written on Friday night inside Palau Blaugrana!