Get To Know The VTB League Newcomers: “We Want To Beat CSKA And Reach The Playoffs”

Get To Know The VTB League Newcomers: “We Want To Beat CSKA And Reach The Playoffs”

Zielona Gora owner Janusz Jasinski talked about the Polish team’s goals, budget and star players. 

Season Goals: 
The VTB League is a very prestigious competition. We want to reach the playoffs in our first season. It will be a big challenge for Zielona Gora. As far as revealing our goals, we want to be Polish champions and perform as well as possible in our first season in the VTB League. 

The Club: 
The club dates back to the 1940s, which is why several generations of fans have already had the opportunity to go to our games. There’s been a huge basketball boom in Poland in the last decade. It’s coincided with the most successful period in Zielona Gora’s history: We’ve won four Polish championships and competed in the EuroLeague, EuroCup and Champions League. But Zielona Gora is more than a professional men’s team. Our youth projects are very important to us. We accept kids in our school beginning at age 4. 

We have a lot of young fans right now, so it’s really loud at games. Fans actively support the team on the road. You can see fans in Zielona Gora jerseys at almost every game. We had 300 people support us at a game in Barcelona. We even reserved a special charter plane to bring fans to Monaco and the Canary Islands. Our fan sector, the KK ZASTAL–which is what the club used to be named–is involved in charitable work in addition to supporting the team. They are an excellent example for our young fans. 

I think the best comparison right now for us would be another VTB League team: VEF Latvia. 

Of course, it will be interesting to play CSKA. Zielona Gora has taken down big clubs before. For example, we defeated Panathinaikos at home and Lokomotiv-Kuban and UNICS on the road in the EuroCup. We also dream of defeating CSKA. That would be the biggest accomplishment in our club’s history. 

Why The VTB League?
Polish basketball has grown stronger in recent years. We have several ambitious clubs that want to play in Europe. We strive to compete with the best, which is why the VTB League is the most attractive project for Polish clubs. Of course, we want to return to the EuroLeague and we have a three-year plan for how to get better (including financially) and meet the demands of the top club competition.

Our budget for our first season in the VTB League will be three million euros. 

Top Players:
All of our players should fit a certain model. That’s why we try to focus on signing the top Polish players. Zielona Gora is also a great place for foreign players to develop. Right now we have four foreign players on the roster, who can reach their full potential on our team. Who will be the leader? The season will tell. Lukasz Koszarek, Przemyslaw Zamojski and Adam Hrycaniuk have experience in the EuroLeague. We also have a young talented player in Michal Sokolowski, who was named the best player in the Polish league. Markel Starks and Frank “The Tank” Hassell are a very interesting American duo. 

Our Balkan friends Boris Savovic and Edo Muric (EuroBasket champion with Slovenia) also have something to prove. I think we will still make some noise in free agency and the preseason will determine a lot. We also signed our coach Igor Jovovic to a long-term contract. He has complete control over putting together the team. 

Arena And Atmosphere:
Zielona Gora is very conveniently located on the Polish basketball map. The city is only two hours from Berlin’s airports. The Moscow-Berlin connection very popular and fans of the League will find it easy to find flights and use public transportation. 

We view games as more than simply a sporting event. We want the basketball experience to be memorable for every fan. I’ll brag a little: Zielona Gora has one of the most beautiful basketball arenas in Europe, and it seats five thousand fans. The seats are close to the court and everyone who comes to our games is impressed by the atmosphere. Our average attendance is 3,500. Zielona Gora fans are welcoming and hospitable. They welcome all of the players with loud applause, even when we are facing our biggest rivals.