«Nizhny Novgorod» is the last guest of «Astana» in VTB United League this year

02.12.2019, 13:00    Views: 96
Source: Press service
On December 7, the Astana Presidential Basketball Club will hold the final home game of VTB United League in 2019, the rival of the capital's team in which will be the Russian Nizhny Novgorod.

«Nizhniy Novgorod» is a Russian professional men's basketball club from the city of Nizhniy Novgorod, founded in 2000. This season, in addition to participating in the VTB United League, the team plays in the Cup of Russia and the FIBA Champions League.

  • Champion of Division “B” of the Russian Super League — 2010
  • Finalist of the Cup of Russia — 2011, 2018, 2019
  • Silver medalist of VTB United League — 2013/14
  • Silver medalist of the Championship of Russia — 2013/14

For the third consecutive season, the Russian team has been led by Zoran Lukic, but the Serbian specialist has a much longer relationship with the Nizhniy Novgorod team. Zoran did not have an outstanding career as a player and completed it very early, devoting himself to coaching. Already at the age of 23, he led the Serbian «Beopetrol», after which he worked in the «Atlas» team. On this, his home coaching career ended, and he traveled outside Serbia. First, Lukic went to India, where he was part of the coaching staff of the National Team. In 2006, he first came to Russia, becoming the coach of the U-16 team, while working with the youth team of CSKA. In 2008 he moved to Nizhniy Novgorod, heading the local team, which he led for 6 consecutive seasons. During this time, he led the team to the top division of the Russian Championship, winning Super League B, and also became the silver medalist of the Russian Cup, VTB United League, and the Russian Championship. After the season 2013/2014 — the most successful season of “Nizhny Novgorod” in VTB United League, the mentor left the team and moved to Turkey to coach the “Banvit” team. In Turkey, he did not do particularly well, and he left the team, not having finished one season. In March 2017, Zoran Lukic returned to Nizhniy Novgorod, but in the role of the sports director and from the next season he again headed the coaching staff, where he remains to this day.

All foreigners playing for NN last season left the team in the offseason, including the main leaders — American Kendrick Perry and Montenegrin Vladimir Dragichevic. Also, Ian Hammer, Roderick Odom, and the Swede Christopher Cherapovich left the team. The biggest loss among Russian players was Dmitriy Uzinsky, who made the transition to UNICS. Also, the experienced Maxim Grigoryev left the team for «Parma», young Timofey Gerasimov is now playing for «Lokomotiv Kuban» and Sergey Toropov this season is playing for «Spartak-Primorye». Zoran Lukic saved five Russian players from last season, and all of them often were in the starting five, they are guards Artyom Komolov, Georgy Zhbanov, Ivan Strebkov, and Evgeniy Baburin, as well as forward Anton Astapkovich.

In the roster of the Nizhny Novgorod team, 4 American players appeared. Chavon Lewis is a player who has previously played in the VTB United League; last season he was the leader of «Kalev». Indeed, Chavon did not stay in «Nizhniy Novgorod» and after five games moved to the Krasnoyarsk «Yenisei». All three imports that Zoran Lukic’s coaching staff can count on now, are all the debutants of VTB United League. An experienced guard Brandon Brown began his professional career in Australia and then moved to Brazil. He started the European team in 2015, he managed to play for Cypriot and Polish teams, and last season, together with the Balkan team, became the champion of Bulgaria. Center Alec Brown unsuccessfully began his career, in the very first match for «Phoenix Suns» team in the preseason he was seriously injured, and after a successful operation, he began playing for «Bakersfield Jam», the Suns farm-team and participated in the NBA Development League. The following season, he left for Spain, but a year later returned to the NBA Development League as part of the “Windy City Bulls”, a farm team from Chicago. In the same year, he became the winner of the FIBA American Championship. After he returned to Spain, where he spent the last two seasons. The young guard Darral Willis spent only one season as part of his professional career, last season he became the champion and winner of the Cyprus Cup as part of the Cyprus team “Keravnos”.The most experienced Russian players are forward Pavel Antipov and center Alexander Vinnik. Pavel began his career in Samara, and managed to play in St. Petersburg «Spartak», «UNICS», «Zenit» and «Lokomotiv-Kuban», and also spent the 2010/2011 season at NN. During his career, Antipov was twice the silver medalist of the VTB United League and the Russian Championship, in the Russian Cup he took the second place twice and won the main trophy twice, it is also important to note that he is twice the EuroCup finalist. Alexander Vinnik spent the past seven seasons for «Parma», having won the Russian Cup twice. Young Alexander Gankevich spent his entire career in the structure of CSKA, though he spent several seasons on loan with the teams «Ural», «Spartak-Primorye» and «Temp-SUMZ-UMMC». Gankevich is a two-time champion of the VTB United Youth League. Two 18-year-old players also appeared in the squad: forwards Alexander Chadov and Ilya Sorokin.

Нижний Новгород

Leaders of the rivals:  forward Darral Willis is the most effective and efficient in the roster of «Nizhniy Novgorod». It is also worth noting Chavon Lewis, who was one of the leaders of  “Nizhniy” before his departure. Brandon Brown plays the role of the main point guard of the team. And forward Anton Astapkovich was in the starting five of all eight matches. Center Alec Brown also has a 100-percent result for games in the starting five, but in the last two games, he did not enter a court. Also, guards Yevgeniy Baburin, Ivan Strebkov, and shooting guard Alexander Gankevich periodically join the starting five.

Tournament position: “Astana” is currently on the 8th line of the standings with three home victories and four away defeats. The team of Emil Rajkovic did not win a single away game but did not lose a single home match. “Nizhniy Novgorod” started with a hard home victory over “Parma” and missed the victory, also at home, in the match with “Kalev”. After that, “NN” won an unexpected victory over the “Zenit” in St. Petersburg, and at home, they managed the team “Tsmoki-Minsk”. Then «Nizhny» lost the next four games, but if they lost the games at the very end with «UNICS» and at home with «Stelmet Zielona Gora», they suffered a rather large defeat with «CSKA» and at home with «Khimki». Thus, “Nizhniy Novgorod” with three victories and five defeats is on the 10th line.

History of games: “Astana” has held 15 games with «Nizhniy Novgorod». The first match was held in the 2011/2012 season, and “Astana” won in Nizhny Novgorod, in the same season our rivals were stronger in the capital. Then the teams met one more time a year later at the Nesterov Cup 2013, which today is the only game not within the framework of the United League, then our guys won. In the same season, in the VTB United League, the teams did not intersect in the regular season, but it was NN who beat «Astana» in the 1/8 finals. In the next five seasons, the teams faced 10 times and “Astana” won only once in the season 2017/2018. Of the 15 games, “Nizhny Novgorod” won 12 victories and only 3 victories are on the account of “Astana”.

Interesting Facts:
  • It was in the match with “Nizhny Novgorod”, when “Astana” won its first away victory in the framework of VTB United League. 
  • The player of “Nizhny Novgorod”, who has been playing for the team for the fifth season, is Ivan Strebkov, the son of Vitaliy Strebkov, a well-known coach in Kazakhstan. Strebkov is the senior, perhaps the most decorated coach in Kazakhstan: in 00s he led the team “Astana Tigers”, with whom he became the champion 6 times, then worked for five years in our club, at the same time leading the National Team of Kazakhstan, and the last few seasons he has been coaching the women's team “ Astana Tigers ” in the Championship of Kazakhstan.

The match will take place on Saturday, December 7 in Nur-Sultan in the arena of the Republican cycle track «Saryarka», beginning at 15:00 Nur-Sultan time. Online broadcasting of the match will be available on our website in the Match Center section, as well as live on QazSport TV channel. Tickets for the match are already on sale at Ticketon.kz.

Do not miss the opportunity to take part in the traditional poster contest in support of your favorite team at the match against «Nizhny Novgorod» and win prizes from our mascot Sammy and the club’s partner, «Easy Bounce» basketball store, the conditions for participation in the contest are published on our Instagram page.

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

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