Today will start the Seria A 2019-2020 regular season with a very interesting match. On one hand, we have Pesaro, a team that finished on 14th place last season and this year they changed the entire roster, in order to fight for higher places and not to avoid relegation. On the other hand, we have Fortitudo Bologna, a very well-known team from Italy, with big achievements in the 2000s. Let`s see the presentation of both teams.
Pesaro finished with only two more wins than the last place last season. That result was seen as a big disappointment, so this year they brought some reinforcements. First, they added ex-NBA player DeJuan Blair, but his contract was terminated over FIBA Anti-doping violation. He was suspended for 2 years by FIBA. Two other American players were added in Zach Thomas and Jaylen Barford. There were also brought in Vasa Pusica (SRB), Henri Drell (EST), Paul Herman Eboua (CMR) and Tautvydas Lydeka (LTU). Those six players are the foreigners for Pesaro this season. What`s interesting is the age of the squad with all players being under 26 years old, with Lydeka being the only exception, 35 years-old.
Fortitudo Bologna is back in Seria A after a 9-years break. Fortitudo was one of the most successful teams in the 2000s. They won the Seria A title in 2005 and were also the finalist in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006. They also participated in many Euroleague seasons, being in the Final Four in 1999 and the finalist in 2004 when they were beaten by Maccabi Tel-Aviv 74-118. Speaking about the summer additions, they brought in Pietro Aradori from their arch-rivals Virtus Bologna and Nicolo Dellosto from Reggio Emilia. Those are the only Italian players added for this season because they already kept the Italian core plus the veteran American Maarten Leunen. Rok Stipcevic (CRO), Kassius Robertson (CAN), alongside three American players – Deshawn Stephens, Ed Daniel and Henry Sims are the foreigners’ players that complete the roster.
Both teams have some decent addition this summer and I expect a balanced duel with Fortitudo being slightly favourites in this match. They have big expectations for this season, much bigger than Pesaro`s and their aim is to place in the top-8 preparing the team to come back to their old-time glory. Let`s the Italian season begin!
Bogdan Vasile Tirc