Dario Marra is one of the guys, we actually met in person in this internet related word wide web. Dario would be the perfect fit for BallinEurope since he is just as normal and funny as we are, but Dario is with basketcentral.it already – too bad.
Well, we are happy to know Dario and just as last year he sent us a great preview about Roma. The funny thing is – last year, Dario wrote a preview about Siena – us not knowing his team is Roma. This year it was clear he is the man for a Virtus Roma preview.
Overall record prediction: 6-4
Here we go. Rome is ready for its third Euroleague in a row and it looks like on of the most interesting teams.
Actually, Becirovic (10 pts, 6 reb, 7 ass, 28 rkg in the friendly match against Red Star of former coach Svetislav Pesic) and company don’t look as one of the front runners for the final victory, but they truly have a talented group, with some fascinating bets long the way.
Let’s start from the youngest one: the American sensation Brandon Jennings (first ever to come straight from the high school to Europe) has shown, in this first part, why he’s considered as a potential first 5 picks in the next draft. Still very skinny, BJ is very quick and can handle the ball with both hands, has a great capacity to find a way to the basket, being very aggressive in dribbling to the basket and in shooting from long distance. In the first 5 matches with Lottomatica, the kid has averaged almost 20 points per game, showing even a great confidence in his own game. Obviously, Jennings could find some hard moments with teams more physical and, in general, with the slower European game, but there is no doubt that the roman audience – and all the Euroleague fans – may have some fun (he’s spectacular in open floor) in the next season.
Beside him, the team has had many changes: three of the best player of the last season left. Lorbek went to Cska, Hawkins joined Milan, while Ukic will try to have a Nba career in Toronto.
The point guard spot will be then held by Jennings, who’d have in Jaaber a very good back up (the ‘Bulgarian’ was great in the final series against Siena, in the qualification with Bulgaria and he’s capable to play even as a guard beside Jennings or Becirovic).
The backcourt is completed by Allan Ray (who had physical problems in the last season and was still up and down during the preseason), De La Fuente (probably the starter in the spot of small forward) and two Italians: Giachetti, who might guarantee good defense for few minutes, and Gigi Da Tome, who just arrived from Siena and could have some minutes filling the backup spot of small forward.
The frountcourt presents some changes as well: the departure of Lorbek will be very important and another Slovenian, Primoz Brezec, is now the starting center. Brezec has shown a good shape, even if he’s not played that much in the last two season, and looks very comfortable in playing both with the former Efes Andre Hutson and the incoming (last season in Treviso) Angelo Gigli.
Hutson, during the preseason, has been playing mostly as the back up center but during the season should have some minutes even as power forward playing next to Brezec. The threes should have most of the minutes, but Gabini will probably play 10 minutes per game, while Tonolli doesn’t look in the rotation.
As we said, the teams look very interesting and Repesa (at his third season in Rome) will have many opportunities to find different ‘assets’: Becirovic should be the leader in the clutch moments, Jaaber and Hutson can actually be useful on both ends of the floor, but probably the season of Rome will depend on Brezec and Jennings: both have the potential to make a great season, but, even if for different reason (physical Brezec, age Jennings), they risk to struggle a little bit long the way…we’ll see: the time to play has come!!! Have fun.
Final Four participants: CSKA, Siena, Efes Pilsen, Panathinaikos
Euroleague winner: Cska Moscow
written by Dario Marra