VTB United league 2020/2021
VTB United league, Regular season
22.10.2020, 21:00 Th
Arena: SP «Crystall» (Saratov)
Main time
Game number: RS-97
Spectators: 0

The tour of Astana continues! Next stop — Saratov

21.10.2020, 13:35    Просмотров: 37
Источник: Press service
Inspired by the historic victory over Khimki, the players of the Astana basketball club went to Saratov, where tomorrow they will meet with the local Avtodor as part of the VTB United League. The match will take place on Thursday, October 22, starting at 21:00 Astana time.

Avtodor is a Russian professional men's basketball club from the city of Saratov, founded in 1960.

• Silver medalist of the Russian Championship — 1993/1994, 1996/1997, 1997/1998, 1998/1999
• Bronze medalist of the Championship of Russia — 1995/1996
• Semi-finalist of the European Cup — 1997/1998
• Champion of Super League A — 1996/1997, 1997/1998• Champion of Super League B — 2008/2009
• Super League Champion — 2013/2014
• Bronze medalist of the Super League — 2012/2013


Avtodor's roster has changed significantly since last season, with only 6 people remaining in the Saratov team. Among the main losses of the team of Americans Isaiah Hicks and Orlando Johnson, as well as the Frenchman Mpuhammadou Jaiteh. In addition, American Ryan Boatwright and Senegalese Muhammad Fay, who did not play many games last season, did not renew their contracts with the team. Also, the Russian player Alexei Babushkin had left the team, who was one of the key players the last season.
But one of the leaders of the last season's team, American Markel Starks, retained his residence in Saratov. There are also young Russian players who have played a lot last season: Alexander Petenev, Nikita Mikhailovsky and Anton Kvitkovskikh, as well as Yegor Bestuzhev and Nikolay Mukha.

As for the newcomers to the team, it is worth distinguishing the American centre Drew Gordan, who is quite famous in the VTB United League. He moved to Saratov from the Polish Zielona Gora, and he previously played in Zenit. In addition, he played in the Serbian Partizan, the Italian Dynamo Sassari, the Turkish Banvit, the French Champagne Chalon-Reims and the Lithuanian Lietuvos Rytas. Then he played for the Delaware EitiSeventers and Long Island Nets in the NBA Development League, and in the NBA Summer Leagues, he participated in the Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, Sacramento Kings and Philadelphia SeventiSixers. Croatian striker Zeljko Sakic also played in the VTB United League before. The Croat has a pretty impressive career behind him, he started in the Croatian teams Kaptol and Dubrava, and then went to neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he took part in the Zrinzhski Mostar and Shiroki, with which he once became the champion of the local championship. Then there was the Montenegrin team Sutor Montegranaro, the Spanish Manresa and the victory in the Bulgarian championship with the team Lukoil Akademik. Then there was a return to their homeland, to the Croatian Cibona and a season in the Romanian team U BT Klui-Napoca. He played in the VTB United League as the part of the Polish team Stelmet Zielona Gora, and last season he spent in the Lithuanian team Panevėžio Lietkabelis. Also, two young Americans appeared in the Saratov team: forward Ben Emelogu, previously played in the NCAA Student League, and began his professional career last season in the Polish Gdynia; also, after the time in the student league, he spent only one season in the professional arena, playing in the NBA development league in the Texas Leagues and Israel's Hapoel Eilat. The team also acquired three newcomers with a Russian passport. Center Alan Makiev is not entirely new to the VTB league or Avtodor; he previously spent five seasons at the Saratov club, and also played for Rodniki, Irkut, Ryazan, as well as CSKA. For the past two seasons, he has been with Uralmash. For forward Evgeny Minchenko, this is his debut in the VTB United League. Previously, he played in the Ukrainian teams Kiev and Odessa, the Latvian Liepaja and Saldus, and spent the last five seasons in the Russian Super League in the teams Samara, Ryazan and Kupol-Rodniki. And the youngest player in the team was the Russian forward Vitalijus Pranauskas.

Head coach:

In the coaching staff of the team from last season, only the assistant coach, the Russian specialist Vladislav Konovalov, remained. A Canadian mentor, Gordy Herbert, has been appointed as head coach. The most experienced specialist started his career as a player back in 1982 and spent more than 10 years in various Finnish clubs. Although he played in Finland throughout his professional career, he played for the Canadian National Team in the Olympics and World Championships. Gordon began his coaching career back in 1994 and also in Finland. In general, during his career, he coached a large number of teams — these are the Finnish Korihait and Ispun Honka, and the Austrian Oberwart Gunner”, and the German S.Oliver Wurzburg, Skyliners Frankfurt and Alba Berlin, and the French Paris Basket Racing and Elan Bearn Pau-Orthez, and the Greek Aris. In addition, Herbert was on the coaching staff of the Toronto Raptors. And if this is not enough, he was an assistant and is the coach of the Canadian national team, coached the Finnish U-1 team. 
In addition, Herbert was one of the coaching staff of the Toronto Raptors. And if this is not enough, he was an assistant and is the coach of the Canadian National team, coached the Finnish U-18 team and was the head coach of the Georgian National team. Of his regalia, it is worth noting the championship in the European Cup, in the cups of Finland and France, as well as the Championship of Germany. He was also a coach of the year in the Austrian Championships and the German Bundes League.

Горди Херберт
Rival leaders:
Avtodor played only two matches in the VTB United League and lost both, and still, it is possible to determine the leaders of the team. During these two matches, American Nate Mason, who spends the most time on the court, and is the most productive and efficient player on the team, became the clear leader. In addition to him, Zeljko Shakic, Nikita Mikhailovsky, Markel Starks and Alan Makeev, who show good results, spend more than twenty minutes per game on the court. Ben Emelogu, Alexander Petenev and Drew Gordon also have quite a lot of playing time. In addition, Evgeny Minchenko and Yegor Bestuzhev entered the court.
Tournament position:
It is extremely important for Avtodor to win this match because before that they played two matches and lost both. At the moment, they are at the bottom of the standings, along with three other teams that have not yet learned the taste of victories this season. Astana, literally the other day, escaped from this fate, snatching victory in the match with Khimki, but the defeat in Saratov will not bring anything good to our team, and besides, our team is going to visit for a victory to strengthen its position in standings.
Game history:
Astana and Avtodor have met 14 times. But in the VTB United League, they met 11 times, of which 6 times the Kazakh team took the upper hand. Last season, because of the coronavirus, they played only once, and then at home, the Saratov team turned out to be stronger, winning five points. But this season the Kazakh team is going for revenge.
Interesting Facts:
  • Avtodor is the same team that scored the most points to Astana and that was in the 2015/2016 season, then Saratov scored 131 points in the first match of the season, and 132 in the second, which is the worst performance for Astana in the entire history in the VTB United League.
  • The current coach of Avtodor, Gordy Herbert, played in the Canadian National Team at the World Championship in 1986, the general manager of Astana, Valery Tikhonenko, played in the USSR National team at the same tournament, although the teams of Canada and the USSR did not meet on the court.
The match will take place on Thursday, October 22 in Saratov at the arena of the Kristal Sports Palace, starting at 21:00, Astana time.
The online broadcast of the match will be available on our website in the Match Center section, and you can also watch the match in replay on the QazSport TV channel the next day, October 23 at 08:00.
Detailed information about the tournament, tournament tables, schedule and match results are published in the Tournaments section.

Astana could not hold back the pressure of Avtodor in Saratov

22.10.2020, 23:20    Просмотров: 16
Источник: Press service
The terrible first quarter in Saratov in the VTB United League match against the local Avtodor ruined the game for the Astana basketball team for this match, in which they suffered a very painful defeat. 

After the victory in Moscow over the local Khimki, the victory in Saratov seemed very feasible. Avtodor lost big in the first two games, in the first game — 23 from PARMA, and then — 34 from CSKA. Considering this, everyone thought the chances of Astana to win this game were very high. But the Saratov team approached this game extremely motivated and surprised their rivals and fans as well as everyone else. 
The start of the match did not bode well for anything. Martins Meyer opened the score in the match not only for Astana but also the total score. Two minutes later the score was still 5:5, but then Avtodor just rushed forward. They could score every ball, and with a 7-point gap, Emil Rajkovic took a time-out to bring the game back, but that didn't help. The hosts continued to gain points with an enviable constancy, and the game of Astana was not very good neither in defence nor in the attack. Literally, right after the equator of the match, the players of Saratov were already in the lead by 10 points and were not going to stop. Adonis Thomas from Astana distinguished himself in the first quarter. But the opponent gained such a frantic pace that at that moment they didn't care who to play with. A minute and a half before the end of the first quarter, Avtodor reached a critical 20 points advantage, and our team simply could not stop the rivals. In just the first 10 minutes, the Saratov team scored a record 36 points. Astana scored 16 points, which was a disaster in comparison with the score of rivals. In the first quarter the hosts played “just perfect”: their percentage of hits, both from up close as well as long-distance attempts, was exorbitant, and Astana completely lost the rebound. Hence we see the following result. In the second quarter, Saratov did not intend to stop and increased their lead even more. In the middle of the quarter, the difference remained extremely unsatisfactory for our team — 24 points but then “Astana” began to gather their tempo. They made a good ending to the first half, and the difference contracted to 12 points. 50:38 that's how the first half ended and the numbers didn't seem so intimidating, especially after the last minutes of the game.

The start of the third quarter and a three-pointer from Jeremiah Hill inspired even more hopes in our team's comeback because there were only 9 points left to win back, but we didn't manage to seize the moment. Avtodor got back into the game, and their lead quickly became double-digit. Our guys again missed the thread of the game, and the opponent's game was in tune again. By the middle of the third quarter, our gap again approached the 20 point gap and then rose further. No matter how hard Astana did try, all attempts were stopped by the opponent and did not bring the desired result. Before the final 10 minutes “Astana” was losing 20 points (75:55), which is quite a lot. Hopes for the fourth quarter disappeared with every minute because no matter how actively our team acted, the opponent always fended off in response. Astana in three minutes was able to reduce the gap to 15 points and the intrigue began to flare up, but Avtodor again began to dominate the game and again approached the comfortable 20 point gap. Five minutes before the end of the match, it had unfortunately already become quite obvious that today we would not see a victory. The end of the match took place in more open basketball, the teams constantly increased their score, but the gap practically did not close. As a result, Avtodor won a landslide victory with a score of 107: 85. 85 points per game is not that little, but in this game, the opponent could not simply be held back. Of course, the first quarter was discouraging, but in the middle of the match, there were chances to turn the game around. The opponent, today, played an excellent match, but the weak play in defence did not allow them to hold back the pressure, it is also worth noting that 15 losses against 8 for the opponent did their job.

Most productive:
  • Avtodor — today 6 players at once scored more than 10 points from our rivals, and two of them — Nate Mason and Nikita Mikhalkovsky — scored 21 points each. The players did not quite cope with Zeljko Sakic, Markel Starks, Drew Gordon and Anton Kvitkovsky.
  • Astana — Adonis Tomas played quite confidently and scored 22 points. Jeremiah Hill also chalked up 22 points, but that number overshadows 5 losses — a third of the team's total losses. Michael Thompson spent almost 36 minutes on the court and scored 13 points and 13 assists.
Avtodor head coach Gordy Herbert:

—  «I think we had a great first quarter, and at the beginning of the game, we were at a crazy pace. Several times Astana tried to return to the game, but we were very responsive, united as a team, showed good basketball and confidently led in the score throughout the whole game. Today at the court, the boys showed the results of those 10-12 days of hard training.»

Astana head coach Emil Rajkovic:

— Congratulations to Avtodor on the victory – our rival has played great, was extremely motivated from the very beginning. We allowed too many points in the first quarter, after which it was very difficult to return. A close second away game after the victory over Khimki showed that it is too early to relax. We need to work harder, especially in defence, if we want to win.

Consequences: Avtodor won the first victory of the season and it allowed them to rise to the ninth line of the standings, coming close to the playoff zone, and push our team to the tenth line. The defeat for “Astana” is very painful, but there is still almost a whole season ahead and there will be many more games.
Next match: one by one in the VTB United League matches are postponed, so Nizhny Novgorod went into quarantine and their next games were postponed indefinitely. Let's hope that the coronavirus will recede and VTB's schedule won't be altered as often. So far, the next game of “Astana” is scheduled for November 1 with Zenit in St. Petersburg. And on October 26 and 27, two games with Caspiy in the National League are planned.
Detailed information about the tournament, tournament tables, schedule and match results are published in the Tournaments section.

Information about the opponent

Established year: 1960 Team colors: white, black
Country: Russia Arena: SP «Crystall»
City: Saratov Website: avtodor.ru


«Avtodor» — is a Russian professional men's basketball team from the city of Saratov, founded in 1960.
  • Silver medallist of Russian Championship — 1993/1994, 1996/1997, 1997/1998, 1998/1999
  • Bronze medallist of Russian Championship — 1995/1996
  • Semi-finalist of the European Cup — 1997/1998
  • Champion of Super League A — 1996/1997, 1997/1998
  • Champion of the Super League B — 2008/2009
  • Champion of the Super League — 2013/2014
  • Bronze winner of the Super League — 2012/2013