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Donar Groningen: Through the years

Leicester Riders will hed to the Netherlands to take on Donar Groningen during their pre-season. The game will take place on Friday, September 1.

Riders face Donar annually, providing a stern test during the Riders’ season preparations.

Donar, seven-time Dutch champions, enter this campaign after finishing second in the playoffs last season.

The game will provide key minutes for the newly formed Riders roster, looking to build on-court chemistry for a packed Britsh Basketball League schedule.

Donar has a storied history in Dutch basketball. We take a look back into the prestigious organisation’s past. 

Beginnings 

Founded in 1951, Donar is one of the original Dutch first-division clubs, entering the league in 1970. 12 years on, they won their first championship with an emphatic 158–58 win against BOB Oud-Beijerland. 

The 100-point win has never been repeated in the Netherlands, as Donar wrote themselves into the history books. 

Following relegation just one year later, Donar returned to the first division in 1986, where they remained ever since.

Winning ways

The 2009–10 season kick-started Donar’s modern trophy-winning run. They won their third national championship, beating West-Brabant Giants 4–1 in the Finals. 

The title-winning squad returned for the next season, and they became the first Dutch basketball team to take part in the qualifying rounds of the new Euroleague.

Star man Jason Dourisseau was named the Dutch League MVP, and the team won a second NBB Cup in 2011, beating WCAA Giants. 

They fell just short in the playoffs Finals to Zorg en Zekerheid Leiden, in a historic game seven featuring three overtimes.

The 2013/14 season saw a reshuffled roster, which won the 2014 NBB Cup by beating Zorg en Zekerheid Leiden 79–71. They went on to win their fourth national title, this time emerging victors of a seven-game series against SPM Shoeters Den Bosch. 

Dynastic run 

In the 2015 offseason, Erik Braal took the role of Head Coach, and became the most successful coach in club history, winning five trophies in six seasons. The first: Donar’s fifth DBL title. 

In the 2016–17 season, Donar reached the second round of the FIBA Europe Cup, their best European performance in club history. That season, they won the treble for the first time, winning the Supercup, the NBB Cup and the playoff title. 

In 2017, Donar again qualified for the FIBA Europe Cup. They made strides in Europe, progressing all the way to the semi-finals of the playoffs before falling to the defending Italian champion Reyer Venezia, despite winning the second leg at home.

Domestically, the club had success behind star man Brandyn Curry, who was named league MVP. Donar won its third consecutive Dutch title after sweeping ZZ Leiden in the finals.

The following season, Donar reached the round of 16 in the FIBA Europe Cup for the second time in their history.

BNXT

In 2020, Braal departed the club. A year later, Donar joined the newly formed BNXT League, which merged the national leagues of Belgium and the Netherlands. They immediately added more silverware to their packed cabinet, winning their seventh Cup, and making the playoff finals.  

In 2022/23, under Head Coach Andrej Štimac, Donar reached the finals of the Dutch League for the 13th time. In the series, Donar played ZZ Leiden once again and narrowly lost a decisive Game 5, therefore finishing second in last season’s playoffs.


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