|Arena||Maroussi Indoor Hall
|Location||Marousi, Athens, Greece|
|Team colors||Yellow and Black
|Head coach||Kostas Keramidas|
|Championships||Saporta Cup (1):
- 1 History
- 2 Arenas
- 3 Titles and achievements
- 4 Seasons
- 5 Notable players
- 6 Maroussi players who have played in the NBA
- 7 Notable coaches
- 8 Sponsorship Names
- 9 Notes
- 10 External links
The beginnings: rising to the surface (1950-1998)
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (April 2015)|
The sports club, full name Gymnastikos Syllogos Amarousiou, was founded in 1896, the same year Maroussi native Spyridon Louis won the marathon at the Summer Olympics. The basketball section itself was founded in 1950, it would in time become the pre-eminent department of the club.
It played in the minor leagues for the first two decades of its existence, eventually reaching the top division for the 1969-1970 season, going straight down afterwards.
The team didn't genuinely rise from obscurity until the 1970's where it was led by the Nikos Darivas Dimitris Fosses point guard-and-center tandem, starting from the 1971-1972 season it would play in the top division all but one year of the following decade and also qualified for the 1978–79 FIBA Korać Cup.
The 1980's saw the club relegated back to the lower leagues after the 1980-81 season. It would prove to be a long time away from the limelight, alternating between the second tier A2 League and the third tier B League.
Climbing to the top (1998-2001)
After 18 years in the lower leagues Maroussi would finally climb back to the first division for the 1998-1999 season, at the same time moving from the cramped Spiros Louis Gym into their permanent home, the newly constructed Maroussi Indoor Hall also leased by the municipality.
Playing in what was at the time arguably Europe's best league, whose clubs were always in contention for continental titles, Maroussi joined the party and won the European second tier Saporta Cup in 2001 with a team coached by Vangelis Alexandris that used the inside-outside scoring tandem of Jimmy Oliver and Ashraf Amaya combined with the rebounding dominance of Vassil Evtimov to great effect.
In only the contemporaneous team's second European season it had won the club's first substantial trophy (following lower division titles) and allowed Maroussi to enter the pantheon of Greek basketball clubs to have won a continental title, becoming the 6th team to do so.
A new status (2001-2009)
With the financial backing of businessman Aris Vovos the organisation had taken a new dimension, despite a limited fan base and a budget in the low millions of euros it would use clever recruiting and give full powers to talented coaches in order to establish itself at the top.
Their Saporta Cup season was part a decade long participation in European competition. alternatively in the Eurocup Basketball, the successor to the Saporta Cup, the third tier FIBA Korać Cup or the fourth tier FIBA Europe Champions Cup, it would reach the final of the third tier 2003-04 Europe League, unable to add to its trophy cabinet after a loss to UNICS Kazan. Meanwhile, a few commendable mid-table finishes and some good results in the Greek Cup (3rd in the Final Four of 1999-2000, a cup final in 2001-02) would soon be superseded by much greater success on the domestic front.
Legendary coach Panagiotis Giannakis and playmaker Vassilis Spanoulis, incumbent Best Young Player, helped the Athenians finish second in the 2003-04 regular season with a 21-5 record, then proceeding to beat A.E.K. Athens, runner-up the preceding year and champions the year before, in the playoffs before losing in the final to perennial champions Panathinaikos.
That run would announce them to the national scene and a second place in the regular season followed by successive series losses to a vengeful A.E.K. in the semifinals and Panionios 3rd place playoff in 2005 that would have been unthinkable a few years back was seen as disappointing.
The 2005-06 season would see them overtaken in second by Olympiacos, the team that would also defeat them in the semifinals before another disappointment in the 3rd place match up, this time against Aris, another cup run would see them reach the final but again fail to win their first domestic trophy.
Having already lost Spanoulis to Panathinaikos the previous year, the 2006 off-season would see Giannakis, who had been managing both Maroussi and Greece since 2006, leave to concentrate on the national team, that exit, along with that of League Best Five member Roderick Blakney, would be determinant as the side slumped to an 8th place finish and a first round playoff exit.
The arrival of Soulis Markopoulos and clever recruiting would buck that trend, in the 2007-08 season they would finish 6th of the regular season, beat Aris in the first round then take Olympiacos to a 5th game in their semi-final confrontation, however they would lose that game by a single point and then throw away a two game lead to lose the 3rd place playoff as well. Coach of the Year Markopoulos would do one better in 2009, after a 4th place finish, they would again meet Olympiacos in the semis, this time they were easily swept, but Kostas Kaimakoglou's form helped the break the curse and win their 3rd place playoff, against Aris, to qualify for the premier European competition, the Euroleague, for the first time.
The mercurial stay at the summit (2009-2010)
Markopoulos left for P.A.O.K and was replaced by Georgios Bartzokas, a former player for Maroussi. With a new coach, having to play at the Athens Olympic Sports Complex as their court was inadequate and with budget that was dwarfed by that of its Greek rivals, to say nothing about those of its European adversaries, the team was expected to struggle in the continental showpiece.
They proved their doubters wrong, going through Euroleague Qualifiers after again beating Aris and then German side Alba Berlin to reach the group stage. The Greeks proceeded to qualify from a tough group C containing powerhouses CSKA Moscow and Maccabi Tel Aviv, beating the latter at home. Qualified for the elite Top 16 on their first participation the level of competition proved too strong for the modest club but they had a respectable showing, beating Panathinaikos and Partizan Belgrade in the Olympic Indoor Hall.
They also defied expectations in the Greek League where they finished third, again were swept in the semi-final by Olympiacos before beating Panellinios in the 3rd place playoff, enough to qualify for the next edition of the Euroleague. As recognition of their success, Kaimakoglou was electeded to the Greak League Best Five whilst Bartzokas became the third Maroussi coach in five years to be awarded Best Coach.
Crashing down to earth (2010-2012)
Following the financial crisis of 2008 the Greek economy was in the midst of a dire recession, president Aris Vovos and the company he headed, Babis Vovos International Construction, were not spared and he had been investing less and less money each season into the team. Vovos finally abandoned the club during the 2010 off-season, leaving the organisation scrambling to find a replacement, there was talk of a merge with OFI Crete – a third-tier club that was bigger and better supported thanks to its football section - that would have sent Maroussi to the amateur B division clear of debts. However the local authorities were adamant in keeping a strong club in the municipality and turned to an awkward consortium led by Giorgos Gamaris and Thanasis Maris to try and safeguard the organisation, after themselves failing to offer financial guarantees the ownership of the club reverted to the amateur section in October.
Amidst all this pandemonium the team was only allowed to be registered to the Greek League on appeal, a decision criticised by players unions over belated salary payments, the more stringent Euroleague had no qualms however in revoking its licence to play in the Qualifying Rounds. The storm was seemingly abated when former Panathinaikos football player Vasilis Konstantinou, a Marousi native who had played youth basketball with the team, was named president in October. Coach Vangelis Alexandris returned to replace the departing Bartzokas whilst experienced players such as Nestoras Kommatos, Ioannis Gagaloudis and Dimitrios Charitopoulos were brought in to form a competitive squad following an earlier player exodus. They finished the 2010-11 season on a credible 5th place in the league, again making the playoffs, though they lost in the first round they qualified on the court for the EuroCup despite later forfeiting their participation.
But it proved to only temporary respite and Vovos' burden became too heavy to bear, in May 2011 Maroussi was ordered by FIBA's Basketball Arbitral Tribunal (BAT) to pay thousands of euros to former player Jared Homan for unpaid salaries and bonuses. Following Maroussi's inability to pay that sum, along with a lesser one awarded to Georgios Diamantopoulos in August on the same motive, the club was banned from registration of new players in November 2011, a temporary agreement with Homan that later fell through did lead to the suspension of the ban for one day, during which Frank Elegar was recruited.
The unpaid suspensions and the ban left the squad scarce of professional players and demotivated the ones that were left to play under newly promoted coach Nikos Linardos, the 2011-12 season began with a long losing streak, most games by a few points only thanks to the heroics of Kommatos and Gagaloudis, respectively top scorer and assist leader for the whole league. However the salaries that had already been incomplete stopped completely as the club had to repay all of its earnings to former players and creditors. Major players Charitopoulos, Elegar (the team's lone import), Gagaloudis and Kommatos all left with the blessing of the management leaving the team with a handful of pros, talented teenagers from the youth team such as Dimitrios Agravanis and Lampros Tsontzos were rushed to the starting five to fill the gaps.
With an alleged $3.25 million of debt and prohibited from selling tickets to home games because of owed taxes the team was paying neither the few pros nor the staff, Maroussi would fly to away games and back on the same day to avoid hotel costs, going so far as to charter a bus for the eight-hour ride to Drama to play there. In these conditions, even the solitary win against Peristeri, another team struggling with financial problems, in March 2012 after 18 straight losses was anticlimactic, the team's fate seemingly determined from the season onset. Maroussi would not win again, finishing the season with a dire 1-23 record, due to bankruptcy it would go straight down to the third tier semi-professional B Basketball League and use its remaining youth players to start again with the continuing support of the municipality.
Its financial demise was one of many similar in other clubs such as A.E.K. Athens, Panellinios and Peristeri to cite but a few in a country under a mountain of debt, it would halt the golden age of Maroussi, a team with a small budget, fanbase and gym that had battled with the giants of European basketball for a decade.
The team plays in the Maroussi Indoor Hall, an arena with a modest capacity of 2,500, it is located in Marousi, Athens and is leased to the club by the municipality of Marousi. Prior to its construction that ended in 1998, matches were played at the even smaller Spiros Louis Gym, also the property of the municipality.
As the Maroussi Indoor Hall did not meet the size requirements for Euroleague games, these were played at the Olympic Indoor Hall, also located in Marousi.
Titles and achievements
- Saporta Cup
- Winner: 2001
- FIBA Europe League
- Runners-Up: 2004
- Greek Basket League
- Runners-Up: 2004
- Greek basketball Cup
- Runners-Up: 2002, 2006
Maroussi players who have played in the NBA
- "Maroussi"Euroleague, 28 March 2007. Retrieved on 27 April 2015.
- "2008-09 Club Profile: Maroussi Costa Coffee."Eurocup, 1 September 2008. Retrieved on 27 April 2015.
- Georgakopoulos, George."Small club’s meteoric rise to glory."Athens Plus, 12 February 2010. Retrieved on 27 April 2015.
- "Euroleague 2009-10 Club Profile – Maroussi BC."Euroleague. Retrieved on 27 April 2015.
- Georgakopoulos, George."Empty pockets, empty stands."Athens Plus, 24 September 2010. Retrieved on 27 April 2015.
- Georgakopoulos, George."Maroussi in danger of missing out on A1 league."Athens Plus, 8 October 2010. Retrieved on 27 April 2015.
- "Maroussi's licence to play Qualifying Rounds revoked."Euroleague, 16 September 2010. Retrieved on 27 April 2015.
- Mammides, Chris. "Eurobasket News Report – Greece – Transfer News."Eurobasket.com, 13 October 2010. Retrieved on 27 April 2015.
- "Arbitral award (BAT 0134/10) - Mr. Jared Homan vs. Maroussi B.C."Basketball Arbitral Tribunal, Geneva, 9 May 2011. Retrieved on 27 April 2015.
- "Greek basketball league crumbling amid country's financial crisis."Sports Illustrated, Athens, 12 April 2012. Retrieved on 27 April 2015.
- Maguire, Ken. "Victory at last: Maroussi wins 58-52."KingsofMaroussi.com, Marousi, 3 March 2012. Retrieved on 27 April 2015.
- "Maroussi BC at.", RealGM. Retrieved on 28 April 2015.
- "Maroussi BC at", Eurobasket.com. Retrieved on 28 April 2015.
- "Maroussi (Team History - EuroCup 2008) at.", FIBA Europe. Retrieved on 14 April 2015.