Congratulations from BallinEurope to Asseco Prokom Gdynia and its CEO Przemyslaw Seczkowski, who deservedly took the 2010 Euroleague Club Executive of the Year after what the EL is justifiably calling “The most successful season ever by a Polish team in European basketball history.”
Official Euroleague press release follows the break.
(Euroleague) – The most successful season ever by a Polish team in European basketball history has ended with Przemyslaw Seczkowski, the CEO of Asseco Prokom Gdynia, being voted Club Executive of the Year in Euroleague Basketball. A steady progression over several years led Asseco Prokom to its latest and loftiest accomplishments in the 2009-10 season, when it reached the Quarterfinal Playoffs, marking an all-time first for any team from Poland in Europe’s top competition.
Its arrival among the Euroleague elite culminates years of work in which Asseco Prokom met each new on-court challenge while also growing a devoted fanbase that underlies the team’s success. Since Seczkowski became CEO of the club in 2008, Asseco Prokom has not only raised its competitive level in the Euroleague, but accomplished a difficult change of home venue and hometown without missing a beat. The results were obvious, as Asseco Prokom took itself and its fans to the very brink of the Final Four this season, inspiring Polish basketball to soar even higher in the future.
A native son of the region and educated in nearby Gdansk, Seczkowski’s roots are not in basketball, but business. Among his previous experience, he was an executive in various Polish banks, deputy director-general for finance at the Polish post office and director of a consulting company prior to joining software giant Asseco Poland, sponsor of the basketball club since 2008.
In his first season, 2008-09, Seczkowski presided over the team’s move to the newly-minted Gdynia Sports Arena, which opened in late 2008. The change of venue was made between the Euroleague regular season and Top 16. Although the team soon became Poland’s first to win a Top 16 game, it happened on the road, ultimately delaying an inaugural Euroleague victory in its new arena until the 2009-10 season. But the wait was well worth it, as Prokom’s first full season in its new house would prove to be historic in many ways.
Even before the start of last season, Prokom made waves by greeting home fans with a spectacular show in a soldout preseason game against CSKA Moscow at which Lech Walesa was a special guest. The same night, Seczkowski presented a check for €10,000 to help a local seven-year-old boy with leukemia.
The goodwill carried over into the Euroleague as Prokom went from less to more as the season progressed. An early home win over AJ Milano was the team’s first Euroleague victory at the new arena. The next was historic, too, as Asseco Prokom downed Real Madrid for the first time ever, marking the Spanish team’s first loss to a Polish team in 48 years!
Back home for the last game of the regular season, Prokom beat Khimki Moscow region to reach the Top 16 for the fourth time (still the only Polish team to do so). That momentum carried the team to greater heights than ever. Back-to-back wins to open the Top 16, including a shocking 20-point road victory at Unicaja, not only set a team record for victories in that round, but gave Prokom the highest victory margin of any Euroleague team after two games.
When the team returned home and defeated CSKA Moscow, also for the first time, it had one foot in the playoffs, which were clinched a week later when Unicaja lost. Prokom led eventual finalist Olympiacos 11-0 in their first quarterfinal game before losing twice on the road, but returned to Gdynia for fans there to witness yet another milestone: its first playoff victory in the Euroleague. The season ended for Prokom when Olympiacos won the fourth game of the best-of-five series, but the truth was plain to see: Asseco Prokom had arrived as a Euroleague contender and had brought a country full of basketball fans along with it!