To absolutely nobody’s surprise, CSKA Moscow was once again among the leading contenders for the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague title last season. Coach Dimitris Itoudis kept the core of players who have served the club so well and added playmaker Sergio Rodriguez and dynamic forward Will Clyburn; the new formula worked well as the Moscow club won six of its first seven games with customary displays of offensive firepower. A similar pattern continued throughout the year, with CSKA never losing more than one game in succession and finishing the regular season with an outstanding 24-6 record, three games better than any other team and with by far the best-performing offense – averaging 89.2 points per game and reaching triple figures on four occasions. Local rivals Khimki Moscow Region were seen off 3-1 in a highly competitive playoffs series, and the Final Four was preceded by individual honors as ever-consistent Nando De Colo was named in the All-EuroLeague First Team, Rodriguez in the Second Team and Kyle Hines presented with the Best Defender Award. The season ended in disappointment with a semifinal loss against Real Madrid in Belgrade, but with Coach Itoudis and the majority of the squad back again, another strong challenge in 2018-19 is likely in the cards.
CSKA Moscow stands tall among the very best clubs in competition history. Founded in 1924, CSKA was the dominant force in the Soviet League with 24 titles between 1945 and 1990. Legendary players wore its colors over the years such as Sergei Belov, Vladimir Tkachenko, Gennadiy Volnov, Vladimir Andreev, Anatoli Myshkin and Sergei Tarakanov in addition to Hall of Fame head coach Alexander Gomelskiy. CSKA and Real Madrid dominated the European Cup in the 1960s and the team remained competitive in the 1970s and through the mid-1980s. CSKA won its first EuroLeague title in 1961 and lifted the trophy again in 1963, 1969 and 1971. The birth of the Russian League gave CSKA a new arena to dominate and it proceeded to win nine consecutive crowns between 1992 and 2000. CSKA returned to the European elite by reaching the EuroLeague Final Four in 1996 and the SuproLeague Final Four in 2001 behind a young Andrei Kirilenko. The club once again became the undisputed force in Russian basketball and Coach Dusan Ivkovic led CSKA to three consecutive Final Fours between 2003 and 2005. Standing out was the 2004-05 season, when team compiled an incredible 60-4 record in all competitions, but did not win the EuroLeague title. That summer, Coach Ettore Messina arrived, and to a team with Theo Papaloukas, J.R. Holden, David Andersen and Marcus Brown, added Matjaz Smodis, Trajan Langdon and David Vanterpool. Massive success followed with four consecutive EuroLeague championship game appearances. In 2006 the team downed two-time defending champion Maccabi Tel Aviv in Prague for its first continental crown in 35 years. CSKA lost to Panathinaikos Athens in 2007, but then celebrated its sixth EuroLeague championship by again beating Maccabi in the 2008 final. A year later, CSKA rallied from 23 down against Panathinaikos, but Ramunas Siskauskas missed a chance for back-to-back crowns when his shot from downtown at the buzzer bounced out. CSKA returned to the Final Four in 2010 and reloaded for the 2011-12 season with Nenad Krstic, Milos Teodosic and Kirilenko – the latter of whom would earn EuroLeague MVP honors that season – only to let a 19-point lead slip in the title game against Olympiacos. In the two seasons that followed, with Messina back on the bench, CSKA got back to the Final Four semis, but lost to eventual champions Olympiacos and Maccabi. Coach Dimitris Itoudis took charge in 2014, which is when 2016 MVP Nando De Colo signed. Together with Teodosic and 2016 Best Defender Kyle Hines, CSKA unleashed the league’s best offense to win its seventh EuroLeague crown in 2016 by beating Fenerbahce Istanbul in overtime in Berlin. The last two seasons have predictably resulted in trips to the Final Four, before finishing in disappointment with defeats against Olympiacos and Real Madrid. But after ending the 2017-18 season by claiming its seventh consecutive VTB United League title, CSKA will surely be back among the leading contenders again this year.
|Euroleague: (7) 1961, 1963, 1969, 1971, 2006, 2008, 2016|
|VTB United League: (8) 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018|
|Russian National League: (24) 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017|
|Russian National Cup: (4) 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010|
|USSR National League: (24) 1945, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1969 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981 1982, 1983, 1984, 1988, 1990|
|USSR National Cup: (3) 1972, 1973, 1982|