Seven national titles behind the proud name of Groningen Basketball Donnar. Is the eighth on its way? It’s starting to look fishy like her. It would be a miracle given the history of this season. Captain Leon Williams tells us.
Donnar could become Thursday’s hero. Whoever predicted this a few months ago was declared insane. Groningen’s basketball players seemed to be busy with another not-so-good season since the successful 2018, when coach Eric Praal was still in charge at Martiniplaza. During that historic year, the northerners have successively clinched the Cup, Championship and Super Cup and also reached the semi-finals of the FIBA Europe Cup.
Donnar still has the ambition to score high goals both inside and outside the country’s borders, preferably even in the Champions League. Only the national title gives the team the key to the international champion ball. To bolster ambitions, the board, along with head coach Drago Pasalic, have implemented change after change this season, after it turned out that a team originally aiming to bring the Dutch basketball city back to Groningen couldn’t break it. any pots.
Coach Mathieu Otten was fired, and his assistant Andre Stematek took over, assisted by his Belgian right-hand man Kevin Verholst. Players Mindaugas Katsinas, Artgom Potiankov, Charles Callison and Ronalds Zakis took their place, and were replaced by Andrzej Majewski, Victor Jadefors, Peter Olesimika and Steve Branch. And lo and behold: I have already started running.
Donar not worth
It looked very different for a long time,” Leon Williams realizes, as the 31-year-old captain puts chicken in the oven and puts beans and potatoes on the stove. The beginning of the season was definitely not worth a donar, and I put it mildly. It couldn’t be worse then. On the other hand, every Dutch basketball follower knows that you can never erase this club. The club’s management has made important decisions and we as a team have internalized the changes well.”
In addition, Williams and his colleagues say they have always kept faith. “We never gave up and kept working hard. When the defense stands up, you always have a chance. On that principle, we started to build again. It took time, but it finally worked. The quality that was in the team has surfaced and everything and everyone is now in place.” fitting. Look at the result.”
The captain regained his strength after coming off the field on Sunday after the wear and tear with the extension twice in Leiden. It was more than worth it, though, because Donar converted home advantage in the final series during the first-best Five May Hall showdown with a win (91-94) in the Lion’s Den. Converting two more matches into a win during best five Series, starting on a Tuesday evening in Groningen’s basketball temple packed to the brim, the impossible turns into reality.
“I’m really looking forward to a full Martiniplaza,” Williams is already rubbing his hands in contemplation of Final Two. I again predict two teams that will fight each other with tremendous force. Leiden is a very good team, but so are we. I think we can beat them defensively. On the other hand, they score a little easier than we do. There is a nice balance between the two. One advantage: we didn’t show our true colors in the first game. We won and we can do better. The best is yet to come. ”
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