VTB United league 2020/2021
VTB United league, Regular season
23.09.2020, 19:30 We
Arena: Velotrek «Saryarka» (Nur-Sultan)
Main time
15:30 14:20 23:22 8:21
Game number: RS-2
Spectators: 0

«Astana» starts the new VTB United League season with a home match against CSKA

22.09.2020, 10:00    Просмотров: 99
Источник: Press service
Exactly 200 days later, big basketball returns to the capital of Kazakhstan! In the first home game of the new VTB United League season basketball club “Astana» will host CSKA Moscow.

ATTENTION! — The match will be held without spectators, with empty stands.

CSKA is a Russian professional men's basketball club from Moscow, founded in 1923. This season, in addition to participating in the VTB United League, the club plays in the Euroleague.

  • USSR Champion — 1945, 1960-1962, 1964-1966, 1969-1974, 1976-1984, 1988, 1990
  • Champion of Russia — 1992-2000, 2003-2019
  • Winner of the USSR Cup — 1972, 1973, 1982
  • Winner of the Russian Cup — 2005-2007, 2010
  • Winner of the European Champions Cup — 1960/1961, 1962/1963, 1968/1969, 1970/1971
  • NEBL Champion — 1999/2000
  • Euroleague Champion — 2005/2006, 2007/2008, 2015/2016
  • Champion of VTB United League — 2009/2010, 2011/2012-2018 / 19
  • Silver medalist of VTB United League — 2010/2011

Team toster:

The CSKA lineup of the past and this season is not so different. 12 players immediately continued their contracts with the Moscow club, among them the main backbone of the team — Mike James, Daniel Hackett, Joel Bolomboy, Nikita Kurbanov, Darran Hilliard, Johannes Voigtmann, Janis Strelnieks, Semen Antonov and Ivan Ukhov, as well as young players Andrey Lopatin and Alexander Khomenko. In addition, Will Clyburn returned to the game shape, having missed almost the entire last season due to injury. In the offseason, Red Army’s captain Kyle Hynes left the club and moved to the Italian side of Olympia Milan, and his position was taken by Nikita Kurbanov. In addition, CSKA parted ways with another major player — Andrey Vorontsevich. Also, Kosta Koufos, Howard Sant-Roos, and Mikhail Kulagin left the team, Mikhail remained in VTB and now a part of Enisey.

Basketball club CSKA 2020/2021

As for the newcomers, there are only two of them. Serbian center Nikola Milutinov, who started his professional career very young; at the age of fifteen, he already played for the Serbian club Hemofarm, and then moved to Partizan, with whom he twice became the champion of Serbia and once won the Adriatic League. Nicola spent the last five seasons at Olympiacos, Greece. During this time, he became the champion of Greece, played twice in the Greek All-Star Game, and received the title of The Most Improved Player in the Greek championship in 2017. It is also worth noting that Milutinov was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs. The second newcomer to the team was the Georgian forward Tornike Shengelia, who started his career in the Spanish club “Valencia”. Already at the beginning of his career with Valencia”, he became the Eurocup Titleholder. Then there were two seasons in Belgium in the teams RBC Pepinster and Charleroi. After that, he moved overseas where he signed a contract with the Brooklyn Nets team and played for the Springfield Armor. In 2014, he spent a couple of months with the Chicago Bulls. Tornike spent the last six years in Spain at the Basque Country, where he proved himself excellently in the Spanish Championship and the Euroleague, and last season he became the champion of Spain.

Rival leaders:

This will be the first game of the VTB League season for CSKA, but they won the Neva and Gomelsky Cups in the preseason. The team has more than enough leaders. The first who comes to mind is Mike James, but even without him, there are a lot of strong players in The Army club: Joel Bolomboy, Daniel Hackett, Darran Hilliard, and Nikita Kurbanov, as well as Janis Strelnieks, Johannes Voigtmann, and Semen Antonov. Will Clayburn, who recovered from an injury, can also show an excellent game, and newcomers Nikola Milutinov and Tornike Shengelia will also direct all their efforts to upset their opponents more often.

Head coach:

Dimitris Itoudis has long been associated with CSKA and has long been leading the team. Itoudis received his first coaching experience in 1990 in Croatia (then Yugoslavia) in the system of the Zagreb Basketball Club. After five years with the Croatian team, he returned to Greece, wherein 4 years he managed to work with such clubs as PAOK, Panionios, Filippos, and MENT. In 1999 he became an assistant coach for the Panathinaikos team and held this position for the next 13 years. During this time, Dimitris, as an assistant coach, became the Euroleague champion 5 times, the Greek champion 11 times and the Greek Cup 7 times. After Panathinaikos, Itoudis headed the Turkish Banvit in the 2013/2014 season, but he did not stay in Turkey. The very next season, he went to Russia and headed CSKA. With CSKA, Dimitris Itoudis won the Euroleague twice and twice won the Euroleague Coach of the Year award. In 6 seasons, when he headed CSKA, he became the winner of the VTB United League and the champion of Russia, except for the last season, when the VTB League was not played to the end. He was Coach of the Year three times and in 2017 became the head coach of the World Stars team at the VTB United League All-Star Game.

Dimitris Itoudis

Tournament position:

For both teams, the upcoming match will be the first in the new VTB United League season, so they are in the same position — so far without points.

Matches’ history:

“Astana” and CSKA have met 18 times in their history. The first games took place in the 2013/2014 season, then the “Army team” were both times victorious over the Kazakh club. In the next season, CSKA was both times a winner in the regular season and knocked out “Astana” from the 1/8 finals of the playoff series in three games. Our team was unable to defeat Moscow's club in the next season, losing 2 games and in the following, also losing 2 games in the regular season and again three matches in the 1/8 finals. The last three seasons CSKA also celebrated victory in all four games played.
Interesting facts:
  • The General Manager of Astana, Valeriy Tikhonenko, played for CSKA at the beginning of his career, back in the USSR, and ended his career in the Moscow club, with which he became the champion of Russia three times. Moreover, for the next 2 years, at the end of his player's career, he headed the CSKA coaching staff.
  • Over the past four seasons, “Astana” for the third time started the season in the VTB League with a match against CSKA at home.
  • CSKA is still the only team in the VTB United League that has never lost to “Astana”.

The match will take place on Wednesday, September 23 in Nur-Sultan at the arena of the Republican cycle track «Saryarka», beginning at 19:30, Astana time. Online broadcast of the match will be available on our website in the Match Center section, as well as live on the QazSport TV channel.

Detailed information about the tournament, tournament tables, schedule, and match results are published in the Tournaments section.

«Astana» started off the new VTB United League season with a difficult home game with CSKA

24.09.2020, 10:00    Просмотров: 73
Источник: Press service
The beginning of the jubilee season for the basketball club «Astana» in the VTB United League turned out to be difficult — in the home game with Moscow CSKA our team failed to impose a fight on their eminent rivals.

At this moment, CSKA has 14 players in the VTB United League, and of course, two of them did not qualify for this game. They were German Johannes Vogtmann and Italian Daniel Hackett. But even without them, the CSKA roster was fully packed with strong players. As for our team, Vadim Shcherbak did not get into the roster for the game. Also, Emil Rajkovic decided to save Adonis Thomas, who was slightly injured during the practice a couple of days ago. Thus, there were only three imports in our team for this game, and the Kazakh players had more chances to prove themselves.

Our guests won the ball at the start of the game and opened the scoring in the first attack. Meanwhile, our team did not manage to shoot the rivals' ring for quite a long time. After more than two minutes from the start and losing already 6 points, Jeremiah Hill scored the first points not only in this match but throughout the VTB United League season for “Astana”. CSKA had won two tournaments in the preseason — the Neva and Gomel Cups and the Kazakhstani team was able to play only one friendly match, and in such a way the rival team had had much more practice before this match. And it proved to be fruitful, the red-blue played their game perfectly, but “Astana” did not give up either. By the middle of the first quarter, «Astana», thanks to a pair of accurate three-pointers performed by the newcomer of the team, Michael Thompson, were losing only 4 points. However, the team foul limit had already been exhausted and the next violation of the rules would already be punished by free throws. Then CSKA raised their pace and their advantage very quickly exceeded 10 points. As a result, the first ten minutes were completely unsuccessful for “Astana” — 15:30. The second quarter also developed in favour of our guests, who confidently moved forward. Four minutes later, the difference reached an impressive 20 points. No matter how hard our guys tried, they failed to close the gap, and CSKA firmly seized on their advantage of around 20 points. As a result, the first half of the match ended with the score — 29:50, which gave our opponents a huge advantage in the second half of the match.

Michael Thompson

After a long break, Emil Rajkovic's wards coped with their emotions and noticeably improved. The pace of the game increased and both teams played open basketball. “Astana” reduced the gap by a third from 21 to 14 points in less than three minutes, but then Mike James took over the game and was simply unstoppable. His shots reached the goal from any distance and from any game development, and thanks to Mike's efforts, CSKA's advantage very quickly returned to the comfortable advantage of 20+ points. Until the end of the quarter, only Kazakh players Askar Maidekin, Ruslan Aitkali and Robert Pan scored points for «Astana». Thanks to their efforts, the backlog of our team was again reduced to 20 points. “Astana” won the third quarter with an advantage of one point, but the total gap was already too large — 52:72. The final quarter did not start as well as the third one, and our team could not score points for more than four minutes. Five minutes before the end of the match CSKA won 25 points and, in fact, the fate of the match had already been pronounced. The whole fourth quarter for “Astana” became extremely unfortunate — our players scored only 8 points and as a result, lost quite a lot — 60:93. 

Most productive:
  • «Astana» — Mike Thompson proved to be excellent in this game and scored 17 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals; Jeremiah Hill chalked up 12 points and 6 assists; Dmitriy Gavrilov has 8 points and 4 rebounds, and Martins Meyers gained 8 points and 3 rebounds. It is worth to note the game of Ruslan Aitkali, who has been playing for “Astana” for the third season in a row, but despite this, he has had a debut in VTB United League today, and it went very well — 5 points, 5 rebounds and 1 steal in 12 minutes and 15 seconds.
  • CSKA — the clear leader in the army team is Mike James, who scored a double-double today — 21 points, 4 rebounds, 10 assists and 2 steals; Nikola Milutinov had another double-double — 15 points and 12 rebounds; Joel Bolomboy's result is also excellent — 15 points and 8 rebounds. 

«Astana» head coach — Emil Rajkovic: 
- Congratulations to CSKA, at the moment we are at absolutely different levels with this team. We didn't have much time to prepare, only two weeks of practice. In addition, we lost Adonis Thomas and two other players who did not take part in the match today. Martins Meyers arrived only yesterday, so you might have noticed that he is not in his best shape. On the positive side, I would like to note that our Kazakhstani basketball players had enough playing time, and some of them made good use of it. For example, Ruslan Aitkali, who usually does not get much time on the court, showed good results today. But most importantly, after 190 days, we are finally playing basketball again.
CSKA head coach — Dimitris Itoudis:
 - Congratulations to the team on the victory. We knew about Astana's problems with the foreign players who joined the team late. I have great respect for this opponent and wish him the best of luck. We had our own goals for work in defence — we did not fulfil them, especially in the third quarter, which we lost with a score of 22:23. This suggests that we have something to work on. We played well in attack, but I am not satisfied with our play in defence. We conceded 60 points, but we had obvious failures in defence. We were better today, but we have a lot of work ahead of us.
Consequences: CSKA has started the season confidently, and for “Astana”, although they lost their first match, ii is just the beginning.

Next match: On October 3, the capital team will play their first away match in the new VTB United League season, which will be held in Kazan against the local UNICS.

Detailed information about the tournament, tournament tables, schedule, and match results are published in the Tournaments section.

Information about the opponent

Established year: 1923 Team colors: red, dark blue
Country: Russia Arena: USC CSKA
City: Moscow Website: www.cskabasket.com


CSKA - is a Russian professional men's basketball club from the city of Moscow, founded in 1923.

  • Champion of the USSR — 1945, 1960-1962, 1964-1966, 1969-1974, 1976-1984, 1988, 1990
  • Champion of Russia — 1992-2000, 2003-2019
  • USSR Cup Winner — 1972, 1973, 1982
  • Winner of the European Cup of Champions — 1960/1961, 1962/1963, 1968/1969, 1970/1971
  • Champion of Euroleague — 2005/2006, 2007/2008, 2015/2016
  • Champion of NEBL — 1999/2000
  • Champion of VTB United League — 2009/2010, 2011/2012-2018/19
  • Silver medallist of the VTB United League — 2010/2011

Overall team photo