Introduction to the Basketball Champions League Final 8

By Diccon Lloyd-Smeath

Basketball Champions League, Final 8, Nizhny Novgorod, Casademont Zaragoza, ERA Nymburk, Pinar Karsiyaka, Hereda San Pablo Burgos, Lenovo Tenerife, SIG Strasbourg, Hapoel Unet-Credit Holon

Diccon Lloyd-Smeath stops by the blog to give new BCL followers a rundown on each of the Final 8 teams playing for a title in Russia.

By Diccon Lloyd-Smeath

To the FastModel coaches, fans and followers who may be new to the BCL, welcome! This is an amazing competition that has built a lot of positive momentum in only its fifth season of existence. It brings together some of the most elite teams in Europe which all have talented players and extremely good coaches. I’m really glad to see FastModel covering this event and showing love to the global game as we all strive to spread basketball knowledge as far and wide as possible. (Oh, and congrats on the official partnership with FIBA, too!)

Here’s your short and sweet primer ahead of the BCL Final 8 competition starting today in Russia. Enjoy!


There is no better time than right now to utilize FastDraw. Build your play library, organize your XsOs, share skill development drills with players, and create playbooks for your team & staff.

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Get to know the BCL Final 8 teams

[Click on a play to view frame descriptions and to download it to your FastDraw library.]

Nizhny Novgorod

Incredible team basketball, hard-nosed and tactically demanding defensive effort. On the offensive end, it’s all about ball and player movement until the last second of the shot clock. Amazing team to watch and head coach Zoran Lukic was just named BCL Coach of the Season. Players Shepherd and Vorontsevich are the main threats but don’t sleep on Komolov.

Casademont Zaragoza

Athleticism and versatility all over the floor. Zaragoza plays at the highest pace of Final 8 and makes full use of the different options in the front-court with tons of lob plays for Wiley and pick-and-pops for Benzing. Ennis and Benzing are the go-to players offensively but Sulaimon, Harris, Brussino, Barreiro and Wiley can all get going as well. This squad is deep and talented.

ERA Nymburk

High pace, transition style and smashing the glass with all five players tagging are things to watch out for with Nymburk. Coach Amiel’s playbook is also really something special to study, especially from BLOB situations and the UCLA series. Hruban, Prewitt and Obasohan are the main options but Harding is also able to take over a game offensively. Finally, watch out for highlights from Dalton.

Pinar Karsiyaka

Talent is the name of the game for Karsiyaka. They have previous winners in M’Baye and Taylor and playmakers in Sek Henry and D.J.Kennedy. Watch out for sets to get all those guys in situations to play PNR. Morgan is the top scorer in the competition – keep an eye out for plays to find him in high and low post.

Lenovo Tenerife

Might I direct you to this detailed preview and sets from Tenerife by fellow FMS contributor Rob Fois.

SIG Strasbourg

A team known for its creative offense, as demonstrated by this example below. It can be run as an in-game call (frames 1-2), or as an ATO from a BLOB situation (frame 3).

Hapoel Unet-Credit Holon

Head Coach Stefanos Dedas is known for putting his players in position to maximize their talents. He called up this clutch Full Court BLOB for a bonus three points during a game vs Pinar Karsiyaka during the BCL Round of 16, and often runs sets like the Stagger Option below that allows players to read and react to the defense.

Hereda San Pablo Burgos

Again, I’ll let Coach Fois take if from here – view his breakdown of Burgos.


Check out Diccon’s Playbank page for XsOs from top European teams.

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Diccon Lloyd-Smeath

Head Coach for @BasketballWales U23 NT Men Assistant Coach for @BasketballWales NT Senior men Head Coach @BasketballEngland South Region U15 Boys Basketball Coach @rocketsreading I also produce Data & Video Analysis, editorial content for the FIBA Basketball Champions League @BasketballCL and Lecture Sport in the Further Education Sector. I am always looking to share ideas and thoughts on Basketball Techniques, Tactics and Coaching Practice across all sports.

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