As it enters its second consecutive EuroCup campaign, Polish champion Slask Wroclaw looks to continue building its reputation at the continental level after reaching the eighthfinals last season.
Roster rundown: Slask Wroclaw
Coach Andrej Urlep returns with seven players from that squad and several veteran additions. Together, this strengthened roster should make some noise.
Point guard Jeremiah Martin was handpicked to run the Slask offense. Martin, 26, will make his EuroCup debut, though he impressed in his first European stop in Germany last season. On top of his offensive game, Martin’s quick hands make him an excellent ball thief on defense. Lukaz Kolenda was a part-time starter last season and proved effective as a second playmaker. Improving his outside shot could take Kolenda’s game to the next level. Daniel Golebiowski and Jakub Karolak figure to split most of the minutes at shooting guard. Karolak is a top-tier three-point marksman while Golebiowski, who is another EuroCup debutant, is comfortable shooting from deep and attacking the rim. Teenager Aleksander Wisniewski will soak up experience and should get a chance to appear in some games, too. Justin Bibbs has a proven track record as a scorer and will try to become a go-to guy for Slask in his first season on the Old Continent. Jakub Niziol, who grew up in the Slask system, is back with the club after eight seasons away and that experience will ensure he contributes on both ends of the floor.
Stretch-4 Conor Morgan figures to have an important role on the team. Aside from his shooting, Morgan’s experience, leadership and winning mentality make him someone Coach Urlep knows he can rely on in big spots. Ivan Ramljak was a starter last season and a blue-collar player who has a nose for being in the right place at the right time. Slask will be able to pound the ball inside thanks to Aleksander Dziewa, who was a revelation as a EuroCup rookie last season, and Art Parakhouski. The former should only grow from practicing with the seasoned Parakhouski, which will make Slask’s frontline a source of fear for opponents. Szymon Tomczak should resume his role as a physical reserve while Maciej Bender, who joined the team last season but has been sidelined by injury, could make an impact when healed. At 2.11 meters, Bender gives Slask another valuable big body in the paint.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Jeremiah Martin’s career is in ascension and he will look to take the next step in the EuroCup this season with Slask. After a standout college career, Martin played in the NBA and G-League and then in New Zealand and Germany. He has shown the ability to score, set up teammates and wreak havoc on defense at every step. Martin’s speed and confidence should not only make him dangerous for opponents, but should raise the play of his teammates too. Martin’s ability to push the ball in transition and to work with the team’s bigs in the paint will be crucial for Slask, which makes him a player to watch this season.
Slask will start the season with a tough road game at Gran Canaria, but then plays three of its next four games at home. The team was one of the first to get working this summer and was playing exhibition games already in August. That should have the players hitting their stride earlier than some other teams and when it hits that run of home games against Buducnost VOLI Podgorica in Round 2, Turk Telekom Ankara in Round 4, and Promitheas Patras in Round 5, Slask should be ready. If Coach Urlep’s men take advantage and gain confidence at that point, a second straight season in the knockout rounds could very well be in the cards.