Not only was yesterday’s Euroleague group draw an official tipoff of sorts to actual play in the 2009-10 Euroleague season, it also marked the first opportunity of the year for league chiefs to publicly swell with pride at their teams, show off (mostly) gaudy neckties, talk some diplomatically-worded trash, and provide good quotes for blogs like BallinEurope.com.
From the notebook, then, a few choice words of wisdom after the results of the draw were announced.
“Today we are at a key point in Euroleague history. Today we celebrate the first event of the new Euroleague. … A new foundation based upon a high level of consensus amongst clubs, leagues, national federations, FIBA Europe and FIBA World. A consensus reached following two years of debate and dialogue, comprehension and flexibility, sacrifice and identification of the common interests.”
“Nobody has reached 100% of their goals. Yet everybody understands that the new Euroleague is much better than the Euroleague we left behind.” – Euroleague CEO Jordi Betromeu kicking things off seriously and concisely. The full text of Betromeu’s speech is available here.
“Lior Eliyahu is now playing for Tau Ceramica. It will be something very strange to have to play against one of our players.” – Maccabi Tel Aviv chairman Shimon Mizrahi, who really did appear quite sad about Eliyahu’s departure.
“From the marketing side, [it’s] a very good group.” – CSKA Moscow CEO Andrey Vatutin
“It’s good news for marketing, this group.” – Tau Ceramica general manager Carlos Izar; think any of these guys are worried about their economic situations?
(Visible wince, trace of a smirk, brief pause.) – Vatutin’s immediate response to the suggestion of Euroleague’s Frank Lawlor that CSKA Moscow may be “a bit of an underdog this year.”
“We always try to win the title, [and] we’re going to win one more time. I think.” – Panathinaikos team manager Manos Papadopoulos
“The group is … I … I think is … we can arrive in the Top 16.” – Montepaschi president Ferdinando Minucci (Anybody penciling in a finals of Panathinaikos vs. Montepaschi…?)
“We had started the season with two wins and then we lost incredibly at home to a low-ranked team, and then we couldn’t make the Top 16 for the first time in Efes Pilsen history, which was a disaster for us, so we have to forget this…” – Efes Pilsen general manager Engin Ozerhun, who clearly has *not* forgotten, reliving his team’s 2008-09 Euroleague bid.
“It was because of our great play. Because we played very well in the first part of the season, and the people start to be crazy in Belgrade. I hope it will be similar this year.” – Partizan general manager Mladan Silobad, on *those* crowds in Belgrade, which set an attendance record for Partizan last season.