Thursday, January 9, 2020
By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
ZANE Knowles and his PAOK Basketball Club are in the midst of the European Champions League and have won four of their last six.
Knowles is averaging 7.1 points, 6.4 rebounds in 18.6 minutes per game and they currently sit in 4th place of group D. "We have a great team, we feel like we can compete with anyone in Europe. We went on a winning streak a month back to put us in this position," he said. "The team felt like they needed to make some changes and they replaced some guys for some struggles in the Greek League so we added two new pieces. So we have to win a few more games to advance to the second round, something this club has never done, and we really feel we can do that."
The 2019-20 Basketball Champions League is the fourth season of the Basketball Champions League (BCL), a European-wide professional basketball competition for clubs, that was launched by FIBA. The league is widely regarded as the third-tier European professional basketball competition. The competition began in September 2019 with the qualifying rounds, and will conclude in May 2020. A total of 48 teams from 29 countries are currently participating.
Clubs qualify for the competition based on their performance in their national leagues and cup competitions, but some teams were wild-carded.
"We're struggling a bit in the Greek League and we made some changes with some new pieces. Some guys may have struggled between playing champions league twice a week and playing in the Greek League, but we are only a few games out of the last spot for the playoffs and we feel we can make a run there too as well," Knowles said. "Whether I'm starting or coming off the bench, I'm going to continue to bring what I bring to the table and that's playing with energy."
Knowles is averaging 8.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game for PAOK Thessaloniki this season in the Greek Champions League.He had an opportunity to return to the French ProB League with Etoile Charleville-Mezieres, but took the offer in Greece.
In 27 games with the club last season, he recorded nine points and 6.7 rebounds per game.
Knowles spent his first professional season with Siarka Tarnobrzeg and King Wilki Morskie Szczecin of the Polish Basketball League or Tauron Basket Liga, the highest level of pro basketball in the country.
He has also played pro in Japan (Tokyo Cinq Reves and Wakayama Trians) where he averaged 9.2 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 24 total appearances.