Remember the name. Nate Wolters, Alex Poythress, Kris Clyburn and other League’s newcomers that are up to surprise

Remember the name. Nate Wolters, Alex Poythress, Kris Clyburn and other League’s newcomers that are up to surprise


Last summer the League clubs made several top signings..
But at this point we will draw attention to those who has been left in the shadow of the superstars in the media space, while having good chances of making a claim about themselves on the court. Remember the names… but even if you don’t, it’s not a big deal – you will get to know these guys soon, anyway.

Nate Wolters
From Maccabi to UNICS

The Wolters’ track record allows him to be considered a shoo-in for entering the hit parade of the top transfers. The 38th number of 2013 draft, 84 NBA games (5,5 points and 2,5 rebounds), transfer to Europe in 2018 and the Euroleague experience for Zalgiris and Maccabi (70 games, 8,8 points, 2,9 assists). The American is a player at the level of one of the most prestigious European tournaments of the Old World. He will be trying to get his team there once again.

Traditionally, UNICS are represented by strong guards. Under Dimitrios Priftis coaching Quino Colom and Pierria Henry shone on that position. Combining the balance between passing and scoring in his game, Wolters is ready to keep up with the glorious traditions. You will see his signature drives to the basket with spin-moves a lot in the new season – a move that is almost impossible to guard.

Tyus Battle
From Iowa to Enisey

The start of Battle’s career was very remarkable. World championship U17 victory in the US National team jersey, the hunt from the leading University programs (Tyus obtained the invitations from all of the NCAA top Universities; John Calipari, John Beilein and Jim Boeheim themselves wanted him to play for their teams) and 3 good seasons for the well-known Syracuse.

Nevertheless, Battle didn’t manage to succeed on a professional level yet. After not being chosen on a 2019 Draft swingman was preparing for a season with Minnesota but he wasn’t chosen as a first team player and passed the year quite modestly playing in the NBA D-League. Now the career of swingman is passing through a dizzying change – he moved from the USA to Krasnoyarsk. It is too optimistic to say that the 22 year old American will be realizing his potential right from the moment of his arrival to Russia. What is certain is that aimed for the offense, athletic and remarkable by his style Battle (here comes the first candidate to take part in 2021 dank competition) has a big talent. If the Siberian club manages to plumb this diamond, the outcome will be amazing.

Jordan Morgan
From Karsiyaka to UNICS

Morgan’s career shows the famous basketball maxim that center players reach the prime in adulthood. Having received the label “undrafted” at the 2014 NBA ceremony, Jordan moved to Europe and was progressing consistently, he reached the current highest point in the previous season, when alongside with “Karsiyaka” (12.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.0 steal in TBL) challenged Anadolu Efes in Turkey. Not being among the favorites, the team was at the second place before the early termination of the championship.

It is curious that the Slovenian National team player outwardly resembles the previous main fifth number from UNICS, Alex Tyus. The only difference is that the bigman who a lot of European clubs were interested in is more focused on playing on the opponent’s half of the court: he can beat his adversary under the basket and score a mid-range shot, it is his pleasure to maintain the gap, he feels confident with the ball, he can beat the opponent, pass the ball and successfully dunk. UNICS has obtained a strong center player on top, who is ready to break into the list of the most efficient players of the League.

Adonis Thomas
From Mineros de Zacatecas to Astana

Astana is known for annually signing basketball players known only to professional scouts, and who are given a lot of minutes and the opportunity to prove themselves in one of the strongest European leagues. As usual, the Astana foreigners benefit from their chances. In the Thomas case, we are dealing with a player who has already made his name. The forward stubbornly tempted fortune with the NBA for three years, without gaining, however, major fame: 6 games in the strongest league in the world. Since 2016, Adonis has been successfully performing in Europe.

A physically strong American is good both in a positional game, where he plays pick-and-rolls with enthusiasm and fearlessly drives to the basket, and in the element of a quick transition. Obviously, Emil Rajkovikj will use Thomas’s skills a lot and he will reveal his offensive skills.

Billy Baron
From Crvena Zvezda to Zenit

Much has been said about the importance of 3-pointers in modern basketball. Zenit’s rookie stroke 40.3% from beyond the arch in the Euroleague last season, scoring in average 11.6 points. Baron, with his loyal sniper rifle, mostly waits for his chance in the arch, while the mobile guard with a quick release creates perfectly the opportunities for the offense on his own.

The American’s game is not limited to long-range shots, as Xavier Pascual has noticed. And yet it is Baron who claims to be the main sniper of the Zenit team. It is to be expected that he will become a remarkable character in the offensive strategy of the new Zenit and in the list of League’s top scorers.

Kasey Shepherd
From Kiev-Basket to Nizhny Novgorod

“I want to lead Nizhny Novgorod to the title and learn Russian” – Kasey said.
Shepherd is the first NN newcomer in the 2020 offseason. It’s fair to say that he is ambitious and the club is really serious about his signing. Last season the American spent under Ainars Bagatskis coaching in Kiev-Basket, NN have spoken with their ex-coach who is famous for discovering young talents. Zoran Lukic has been watching his game since his first season in the Old World for Ulcinj.

The American does the pick-and-roll and shootouts with the same level of enthusiasm but the coach has already said that he is going to use combo-guard at the point guard position. Nizhny that is probably the best team in discovering talents in the League is going to gift us another star.

Ben Emelogu
From Prokom to Avtodor

As a student Emelogu played 4 seasons for Southern Methodist University, while the first 2 years he was under the leadership of a legendary coach Larry Brown. With this base, Ben started his career in a professional basketball last season scoring 8.7 points (43% 3-pointers), 4.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists in the EuroCup.

The snipper skills of Emelogu are remarkable from the very beginning but apart from it he is determined by his aggressive defense, ability to fight for a rebound and a willingness to take part in transitions. In general, everything is in accordance with the Avtodor’s spirit. As it is well known, the average statistics of the club’s players increases by 1.5 times. And this is exactly what is expected from Emelogu.

Kris Clyburn
From Bydgoszcz to Tsmoki-Minsk

Kris is a brother of a CSKA forward Will Clyburn. The Tsmoki-Minsk forward said that this 6 year difference doesn’t affect their relationship – they are close and the younger one gets a piece of valuable advice from Will. The CSKA forward has come from non-drafted player to MVP of the Final Four of Euroleague. This season Kris will try to make another step to repeat the success of his brother.

In Minsk Kris is seen as an offense-aimed and athletic guard with a high IQ. Clyburn himself during the pre-draft viewings in the NBA outlined that he is a versatile player. It is true: while performing in NCAA for the Nevada University he got into the symbolic defensive five of the Mountain West conference. He has all the chances to show his diversity in Tsmoki and the first battle between the brothers is scheduled to December 6.

Okaro White
From Long-Island to UNICS

Miami is one of the best NBA clubs who find and reveal the unknown players. One of them is Okaro White, even though he hasn’t gained the level of Hassan Whiteside or Kendrick Nunn. Nevertheless, after his moment of fame in the world most important League White demonstrated that he has the qualities valuable for the Miami Heat such as commitment, desire and diligence in the defense. After having broken his leg in 2017 he was forced to leave the club and gradually lost his positions in the NBA.

Having passed the season in the D-League, White returns to Europe where he started his professional career (2014-2016). In 2016 in Greece he was in the symbolic five of the most spectacular players. If Okaro managed to keep all his best qualities during the season he skipped, he will be very useful for UNICS.

Alex Poythress
From Galatasaray to Zenit

After a good season in Galatasaray (13.6 points and 7.1 rebounds) Poythress was in demand but Zenit managed to sign him. In his track record he has 3 years in the NBA (2017-2019) and 52 games for Philadelphia, Indiana and Atlanta. He is capable of being both the fourth number and a center player not only working in paint but on the arch as well.

According to the stats and his career evaluation he is playing on a very high level. Moreover he is very mobile and athletic and he never fails to use it. Alex is definitely about to become one of the most remarkable players of the new season even though he’s much more ambitious than that.