The French newcomers of the Euroleague: ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne

As mentioned before in an article about France Basketball Finals, there will come better days in ASVEL Lyon `s basketball life. The team is ruled by Tony Parker and Nicolas Batum, two French players that gain a lot of money in their NBA`s careers (Batum still playing, Tony retired in this summer). Also, they signed a partnership with the French football club, Olympique Lyon, a deal which will help ASVEL Lyon.

Last season ASVEL had the best roster from the French league and that resulted in winning the French title in front of their rivals AS Monaco by 3-2. They won the 5th game on their home court, 66-55.

They managed to extend deals of some players and here we can name David Lighty, Charles Galliou and Adreian Payne. They also bring some new players in order to have a decent roster to fight on both competitions, French League and Euroleague, at the highest level.  First, they brought back the French guard Edwin Jackson (29 years-old, 190m, Shooting Guard). He played before for ASVEL youth ranks and also won a French Cup in 2008. He played in Euroleague for Buducnost, Unicaja Malaga and Barcelona. He finished last season with 9.8 points and 1.9 assists in 30 Euroleague games. Then, they brought Jordan Taylor (29 years-old, 1.85m, Point Guard) from another French team, Limoges. He finished the French league averaging 12.2 points, 7.0 assists and 1.3 steals per game. He will make his Euroleague debut this year.

In the big man positions, they brought center Tonye Jekiri (24 years-old, 2.13m) from Royal Hali Gaziantep. In 31 Turkish league games, he averaged 12.8 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists, finishing as one of the best rebounders of the year. Another big man signed was Ismael Bako (23 years-old, 2.08m, Center) from Antwerp Giants where he averaged 7.8 points and 4.3 rebounds in 43 Belgian League games.

The last two players added to their roster are two different types of players. First, Antoine Diot (30 years-old, 1.93m, Point Guard) is an experienced player with many games at the highest level, especially during his last four years spent at Valencia Basket in Spain. Second, we have a Latvian young talent, Rihards Lomazs (23 years-old, 1.90m, Shooting Guard). He came from Ventspils and this is his first big team experience in his career. Last year he averaged 17.1 points and 2.9 assists in 12 Champions League games. He is a very young and good shooter that will help ASVEL a lot from the 3-point line.

It seems that ASVEL invested a lot in bringing new and good players. Their transfers are decent, and all the new signings received at least two-year contract so the aim is to build good chemistry this year and then, starting from next year they will have the right to think big and dream at a long waited for Euroleague playoff spot. The chances for that spot this year are minimal.

Bogdan Vasile Tirc