Unicaja 23/24 starts its preseason friendlies this Saturday. From 9:30 p.m., at the Palacio de los Deportes in Granada, the new green and purple project will be seen in action for the first time. Covirán awaits in the Andalucía Cup, which this summer will be a direct duel between compositors and Nasrids, after Real Betis Baloncesto was relegated to LEB Oro last year.
It will be a Unicaja, yes, at medium throttle. Without the three internationals, Alberto Díaz (Spain), Kendrick Perry (Montenegro) and Melvin Ejim (Canada), and without the three injured, Augusto Lima, Yankuba Sima and David Kravish. In other words, what will be seen in Granada will be a very light version of what the real Unicaja 23/24 will really be in a few weeks. In fact, three of the players who help these days in training will be among the 12 called up: Hugo Vázquez, Baboucar Badji and Sean Smith.
Despite all these absences, there are plenty of incentives to see the team in an appointment that can be followed live on PTV Málaga and over the internet on PTV Granada, which will broadcast it live. The compositor fans are really looking forward to basketball and they will surely be very aware of everything that happens this Saturday in the classic event each summer for Andalusian basketball.
Premiere for Kameron Taylor
Many eyes will surely go to Kameron Taylor, the player that Unicaja has decided to be the replacement for Darío Brizuela, who this summer paid his release clause to sign for Barça.
Taylor will play his first minutes dressed in green and purple. He is a player who had a great season in Girona last year, and the fans are eager to see how he fits into the team. At the club they are very happy with his signing and now he needs to show everything that is expected of him on the track. Nor is this Saturday the day to judge him, but it is to start seeing him in action.
It will also be Ilimane Diop’s first day at Unicaja. The Senegalese center has a temporary contract only until September 30 to help in the preseason, in the Murcia Super Cup and in the first three games of the League, while waiting for Sima and Kravish to recover from their respective injuries. “Ili” is a player with extensive experience in ACB basketball and his signing, even if temporary, seems perfect to alleviate the problems that Ibon Navarro has encountered in the “5” position at this start of the preseason.
Mario Saint-Supéry, already as one more professional of the team, is another of the names of this summer that the “green tide” is also looking forward to seeing. The youth squad player is going to be a player with more minute presence and prominence this season and from this first game he will surely want to show that he is more than capable of helping the team as one more.
How will Unicaja play?
We will have to see how Ibon Navarro solves the problem of being without his two point guards. It seems clear that Tyson Carter will play many minutes for “1” this preseason to alleviate that problem. Last summer, the Basque coach also used Nihad Djedovic in that position during the preparation friendlies, until Perry and Alberto returned from the Eurobasket. Another option is to place Mario there, but the bet with the youth squad is more for him to play as an escort than as a point guard, although Navarro in this preseason will have to do many “weird things” to balance his diminished squad.
Granada is not complete either. Missing from this appointment will be the Brazilian Felicio and the German Kramer, as well as the Israeli Yivtach Ziv. For Pablo Pin’s team it will also be the first friendly of the preseason.
Two and a half months after that semifinal play-off against Barça in which Unicaja, 1-1 after the first two games, came to dream of a place in the grand final, Unicaja once again dressed in shorts. It’s just a test, it’s just the first friendly of the summer, but it’s Unicaja. And when Unicaja plays, wherever it is and whoever it is against, it is always important and a reason for hope. The countdown to 9:30 p.m. is already underway. At stake, the Andalusian title of the summer of 2023.