Itoudis effect: Obradovic’s disciple relaunches ‘Fener’

Now that Efes is the European champion and is on a mission to emulate Jugoplastika and ASK Riga and win three titles, we must remember that the path to success for Turkish teams was paved by Fenerbahçe in 2017 with Zeljko Obradovic on the bench. In the Final Four in Istanbul passed over Madrid and Olympiacos with a dream template in which a quintet made up of Sloukas, Bogdanovic, Kalinic, Vesely and Udohplus Bobby Dixon, Nunnally, Datome, Pero Antic… It was the peak of the Obradovic era in the Fener (2013-20) after losing the 2016 final in extra time to CSKA. There were no more Euroleagues, but the good results did continue with the 2018 final (this time the executioner was Madrid) and the fifth Final Four in a row in 2019. Now the club from the Asian side of Istanbul is the leader and wants to regain glory by grabbing the Itoudis effect. This Friday he faces Real Madrid (18:45, Dazn).

Post-Obradovic hangovers

Obradovic left in 2020in the unfinished course of the pandemic, and the Serbian Igor Kokoskov arrived at the Ulker Sports Arena, European champion coach with Slovenia in 2017. The team did not start well; however, he improved a lot after the return of Marko Guduric from the NBA until he got into the playoffs, in which CSKA swept him 3-0. The League was won by Efes and Kokoskov, who had a contract, left the entity. His replacement, Sasha Djordjevic, celebrated the League but ranked 12th in the Euroleague. So a new change of course last summer, the third in the post-Obradovic stage. Nothing unusual, on the other hand. When Zeljko left the partizan In 1993, although they were the years of the war in the Balkans, those from Belgrade did not fly high again until they reached the Final Four in 1998. The Cacak coach then went to the youth, where they won their second European Cup (1994), and since then La Penya has only played three Euroleagues without going beyond the Top-16. obradovic He jumped to Madrid to embrace his third European conquest (1995). It took the whites 20 years to repeat their triumph and the coach would end up at Panathinaikos after a two-year stopover in Treviso. In 13 campaigns in Athens, another five Euroleagues. He left the PAO in 2012 qualifying for the Final Four and ten years later… the Greek club still does not sneak into the top four and it does not look like it will change.

So it’s true, the post-Obradovic hangover exists and Fenerbahçe hopes to overcome it in their third season without the legend on the bench. Italian Maurizio Gherardinigeneral manager of the entity since 2014 and now director of operations, elected executive of the year by the Euroleague in 2017, has opted for a safe value, almost like the gold standard: Dimitris Itoudis, the 52-year-old Greek, spent the 13 courses of Zeljko at Panathinaikos as an assistant before flying free: two Euroleagues at CSKA between 2014 and 2022.

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Chus Mateo

“Itoudis gives them a very marked personality, he is a brilliant coach”

Fenerbahçe is going like a shot with Itoudis. Leader with two victories ahead (9-1 balance) compared to Madrid and the rest of the pursuers, feeling of solidity and great overall numbers: second in efficiency (101.3 on average), points (86.9), points conceded (75.4), percentage of two (58.9%) and three (40.9%). A team that works (1.23 points per possession, the best, and only 1.07 conceded compared to Madrid’s 1.16 scored and 1.09 received, which is also one of the highlights), that practices efficient basketball, passing (high number of assists per possession), of generation of advantages and good circulation. Although his pace is not very high (two fewer possessions per game than the whites), he is devastating, punishing the rival’s losses.

that’s how you see it Chus Mateo: “Fenerbahçe does things really well, gets a lot of performance from each attack and he scores almost 13 points on average after the rival’s loss. He has a lot of things from CSKAwith similar concepts, because Itoudis gives it a very strong personality, although they do not play exactly the same because the resources are different. It is a top-level team with a brilliant coach. His campaign is extraordinary, but We are going to try to break them in their house”.

Leading role for two discards from Barça

A block that arrives at this duel without Wilbekin (two to three weeks out) and without his star signing, Nemanja Bjelica (MVP in 2015), having made his debut, which increases his merit. Guduric (illness) and Dyshawn Pierre (knee discomfort) are also doubtful on this day. Itoudis is maximizing the performance of two discards from Barça, point guard Nick Calathes (9.7 points with 50% on three-pointers, 4.5 rebounds and 6.1 assists for a PIR of 14.9) and forward/power forward Nigel Hayes (11.5 points with 16/37 in triples and 14.5 credits). Three other players, who also exceed 20 minutes on the court, make up the hard core: the escort Marko Guduric (12.3 points and a PIR of 13.3), the center jonathan motley (13.8 and 16.8 with 1.7 passes) and the point guard, now injured, Scottie Wilbekin (12.5 and 12.3).

Five players in double digits of valuation against three meringues: Deck (16.9), Tavares (16.4) and Musa (15.4). And then him Fener features Carsen Edwards, Melih Mahmutoglu, Dyshawn Pierre, Devin Booker… A match with final range, like in 2018or semifinal, as in 2015.



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