Out of the Frying Pan...

Zvika Sherf is arriving at a problematic, complex club. Following an impressive last season for Spartak St. Petersburg - including reaching the Russian Super League playoff semifinals after defeating Dynamo Moscow and David Blatt en route - came a turn for the worse.

Several key players left for more prestigious teams, or to make more money. Andrew Wisniewski signed with Maccabi Tel Aviv, Nikita Kurbanov returned following a year's loan to Dynamo Moscow, but most importantly, coach Evgeny Pashutin was called to the flag at CSKA following Ettore Messina's departure for Real Madrid and the Russian champion's owners' demand that a Russian coach stand on the lines for CSKA.

Budgetary cutbacks and a lack of new blood on the team led to Spartak St. Petersburg losing its first five games of the current season. The new coach resigned even before the team's European campaign in the Eurocup competition began.

"Even an experienced coach like Zvika Sherf cannot succeed without strengthening the roster," noted a Russian journalist. "I assume this issue was sorted out during negotiations."