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  • Writer's picturemarisnoviks

European Capital of Culture stays with us: welcome Tartu Ülikool Maks&Moorits!

Graphic: Mārtiņš Zaļūksnis

State of the art arena and top level management. Loyal and dedicated fans. Tartu Ülikool Maks&Moorits will enter its third season in the European North Basketball league.

The team is named after the University of Tartu – the most prestigious university in the Baltic States, founded in 1632 as Academia Gustaviana.

University spirit translates into Tartu sports as the city and surroundings offer several world class facilities for summer and winter sports.

Tartu Ülikooli Spordihoone – governed by Tartu Ülikooli Akadeemiline spordiklubi or TÜASK – was renovated in 2018 and is a true sports temple.

Tartu sports director is Janar Talts – a true legend of Estonian basketball.

Talts is a four time Estonia champion (2003, 2008, 2010, 2015), a four time Estonia Cup winner (2009, 2010, 2013, 2014), a German Bundesliga champion with RheinEnergie Köln (2006) and a two time German Super Cup winner (2005, 2007).

The power forward won his last three Estonian titles with Tartu.

This year Tartu basketball team finished fourth in the Pafbet Estonia and Latvia league regular season.

Nikolajs Mazurs men posted a 20-10 record, trailing only to three powerhouses – EuroCup sensation Prometey from Ukraine, Kalev/Cramo from Tallinn and VEF Rīga.

Tartu registered a 2-1 comeback win in the quarterfinal series against a 10 time Latvian champion Ventspils and advanced to the Final Four.

The Estonians fell at the hands of mighty Prometey but outplayed Kalev/Cramo in the bronze medal match, 63-60.

Tartu made it to the second consecutive Estonian finals after eliminating a 2022 champion Parnu Sadam in the best-of-five series, 3-2.

Kalev/Cramo took revenge in the golden series.

A silver medal was impressive result due to the fact that the average age of Tartu players was 22 years.

Tartu Ülikool kicked off the offseason on June 28, announcing a two year agreement with 31 years old Rain Veideman.

A former Tartu player has played in Estonia, Italy and Germany.

Tartu also has valid contracts with Robin Kivi, Aleksander Tassa, Kaspar Kuusmaa and Erki Urvik.

The next move was made on July 1.

Nikolajs Mazurs signed at Šiauliai, replacing the EuroBasket 2003 champion Antanas Sireika, and Tartu entrusted its team to another Latvian.

Gundars Vētra was the first Latvian player in the NBA 30 years ago, while playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

He chose the coaching path after the end of his successful career as a player.

Vētra coached a women`s basketball powerhouse UMMC Yekaterinburg from January 2009 until summer of 2011 and worked with many global stars.

Later he coached more EuroLeague Women teams like Dynamo Kursk and Basket Gdynia, winning numerous titles in Russia and Poland.

Vētra took the reins of Latvia Women`s national team in the spring of 2021 and guided the team to its tenth Women`s EuroBasket apperance after a 4-0 record in the Qualifiers.

Latvia outlasted the Women`s EuroBasket 2023 co-host Israel and a solid team from Sweden.

The Three Stars opened the Final round with a historic 67-63 success against a four time European champion Spain but two losses against Greece and Montenegro did not allowed to enter the playoffs.

Vētra has a 5-2 record in official FIBA games with the Latvian women.

Now he will try to use his experience at the banks of Emajõgi river.


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