New season tips off in Euroleague

New season tips off in Euroleague

New season tips off in Euroleague

Europe’s top-division club basketball tournament Turkish Airlines Euroleague’s 2020-21 season starts on Oct. 1, with Anadolu Efes hosting Zenit St Petersburg on an opening day.

The season will begin with restrictions on attendances due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with 11 of the 18 Euroleague teams, including Turkish clubs Anadolu Efes and Fenerbahçe, playing without spectators.

Between 400 and 7,500 socially-distanced fans, depending on the venue and country, are expected to be allowed into the arenas of AX Armani Exchange Milan, CSKA Moscow, Khimki Moscow Region, LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne, Valencia Basket, Zalgiris Kaunas and Zenit St Petersburg.

Efes returns to the Euroleague with the same core of players that produced a 24-4 record when the 2019-2020 season was canceled due to the pandemic.

Shane Larkin, Vasilije Micic, Krunoslav Simon, Adrien Moerman, Bryant Dunston and Tibor Pleiss will keep leading Efes for a third consecutive campaign.

Zenit enters its second Euroleague season with many new faces, such as former All-Euroleague pick Kevin Pangos, center Arturas Gudaitis, sharpshooter Billy Baron and athletic big man Alex Poythress, among others.

On Oct. 2, Fenerbahçe will host Red Star Belgrade to kickstart its campaign under new coach Igor Kokoskov, who replaced legendary Zeljko Obradovic in July, and a new core of players ready to prove their value.

Nando De Colo, Jan Vesely and Ali Muhammed have been joined by Danilo Barthel, Johnny Hamilton, Lorenzo Brown, DyShawn Pierre and Jarrel Eddie, among others.

Fenerbahçe is on a six-game home winning streak against Red Star, whose last victory in Istanbul against the club was back in 1988. Fenerbahçe edged the Serbian club 66-63 last season in its last home game before the league was canceled.