Monaco signed, Friday April 30, in Kazan (Russia) a sensational entry into the court of the big French basketball clubs by winning the Eurocup, the little sister of the Euroleague, the queen competition of European basketball, where the players of the Principality will evolve next year. In the Eurocup final, Monaco dominated Russian club Kazan and their armada of American players, such as Isaiah Canaan or Jordan Theodore, to win the second leg 86-83, after a first home success 89-87.
Two victories to zero, here is Monaco which joins by the very big door the best teams of French basketball, succeeding CSP Limoges, last winner of the second Eurocup in 1988. At the time, the competition was still called Saporta Cup.
Taking into account all European competitions, including those of 4e level created in the 2000s, only four French clubs had so far won the title: Limoges five times, including the Euroleague in 1993, Pau-Orthez, Nancy and Nanterre.
A mind of steel
The tears of Mathias Lessort on the Russian floor, then the net of the two baskets that he went to cut after the official ceremony symbolize the importance of this coronation for French basketball. The American Rob Gray left his mark on the meeting by scoring 25 points. Logically, it was he who received the title of MVP of the meeting. ” I’m so happy. I just want to come back to Monaco and celebrate this victory with my teammates and supporters ”, he said after the final. Marcos Knight was also brilliant with 14 points and 12 rebounds. He went on to score the final two decisive free throws to keep Kazan three points with four seconds remaining.
During this return match, the Monegasques were in difficulty under the basket and missed many free throws. But they showed a mind of steel in the decisive moments.
For Monaco, this European coronation is the culmination at the end of a short decade of a meteoric and irresistible rise, favored by the investments of the Ukrainian businessman Sergei Dyadechko for many seasons.
In the span of eight seasons, the club played in 4e French Division, gradually rose to the upper divisions, settled among the leading teams and interfered on the European scene. Thanks to this victory, Monaco is showing itself in its best light, five months before its entry into the premier competition.