Awudu Abass has been through the most difficult time of his career, with two consecutive knee injuries that sidelined him for almost two years. In his first game back at the EuroLeague level, the Italian forward reminded to everyone how important he can still be for Virtus.


After the disappointing loss in the final of the Italian Cup against Germani Brescia, Virtus Bologna needed to bounce back in EuroLeague to keep their playoff hopes alive.

For this reason, the home game against Baskonia was extremely important, and coach Scariolo's players didn't disappoint. They won 88-83 and remain only a couple of games away from a spot in the EuroLeague playoffs.

Milos Teodosic was the usual force with 17 points and 7 assists, scoring a couple of clutch baskets down the stretch.

Marco Belinelli added 15 points, and Toko Shengelia, despite the fatigue accumulated with his national team, contributed 12 points and 4 rebounds in 18 minutes on the court.

However, one of the main factors of the win was the performance of the Italian wing Awudu Abass.

The 30-year-old forward finished the game with 10 points, 2 rebounds, 1 steal, and 1 block in 21 minutes. He didn't miss a single shot for the entire game and provided some high-quality defensive plays for coach Scariolo.

For Virtus, the return of Abass in the rotations was extremely important, not only because of his effort on the court but also for the type of path the player had to endure to get back on the court.

The last year and a half for Awudu Abass has been full of obstacles and bad luck. In the summer of 2021, when Sergio Scariolo joined Virtus, Abass had just signed a long-term contract extension with Virtus Bologna.

The management wanted to keep him around for a long time and reward him for the part he had played in winning the Italian league the previous season.

With his versatility, Abass was supposed to have an important role coming off the bench for Scariolo's new version of the team. Unfortunately, fate had other plans for the Italian wing.

3-pointers this season

Points made: 8,3
Accuracy: 36,5%
Place in standings: 13
Record max: 14
Record min: 4
Most made 3FGs: Milos Teodosic

On the first match of the Italian league, Abass suffered a rupture of the right knee anterior cruciate ligament.

The injury sidelined him for the rest of the season and forced Virtus Bologna, which had already lost Ekpe Udoh just a few days before, to return to the market to find an alternative.

Rehabilitation from this first injury had already been particularly challenging, but, unfortunately, the worst was not yet over.

Last summer, while Virtus Bologna was preparing for the beginning of the new season, Abass suffered another injury in an exhibition game against Reyer Venezia.

Once again, it was the right knee. This time, the Italian wing was forced to miss at least three months of action.

Such an amount of bad luck would be almost unsustainable for many people. In one way or another, Abass kept his head in the right place and kept working as hard as possible to come back in the best way possible.

His official return to the court happened on January 29 in the Italian league, and from there, he started to put some minutes back in his legs.

There was some anticipation about his return to EuroLeague basketball. Abass played his last EuroLeague game back in 2018 when he was still a player at Emporio Armani Milan.

Against Baskonia, Scariolo decided to have him in the starting lineup, and Abass rewarded his coach's decision with a really good performance for a guy who has been out for almost two years.

Defensively, the Italian wing did an excellent job on some of the most dangerous players of Baskonia, like Markus Howard and Vanja Marinkovic, limiting them and forcing them to take very contested shots.

Offensively, he made all his shots, and overall, he's another solid three-point shooting guy who can increase the offensive firepower of Virtus Bologna.

It's not a secret that Scariolo asked the management for some additions over the course of the season, especially in the frontcourt.

There were talks to sign Achille Polonara, just like there were in the past summer, but in the end, the management opted to stay put without finalizing any moves.

In this regard, Abass can be considered an in-season addition since he has been out from the beginning. He worked really hard to get back to this level, and after the game, Scariolo stressed the importance of Abass' determination in his comeback. 

"Awudu is a special guy," the coach of Virtus Bologna stated. "He has a big heart and great determination and grit. He has a fire inside him that very few players have, it's hard to find players like him."

After staying out for so long, returning to the court for a EuroLeague game was a very special moment for Abass, who now wants to start a new career phase. 

"I had been waiting a long time to return to the EuroLeague, and now the moment has finally arrived. We achieved a great victory. I have worked hard for two years to be able to experience a night like this," the Italian wing explained after the game against Baskonia.

"When they told me I was going to play, a whole world opened up to me. For me, this is the beginning of a second basketball life."

Before this series of injuries, Abass was also a stable member of the Italian national team. In 2021, he was part of the group that won the pre-Olympic tournament in Belgrade and secured a ticket for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

He was also part of the roster that played at EuroBasket 2017. Of course, the hope for Abass is that this final part of the season might help him regain a spot in the national team, too, especially with the FIBA World Cup coming up in the summer.

Abass' contract with Virtus will expire in 2024, so there will still be time for him to prove his value and how important he can be for this club moving forward.

For Virtus' ownership having a strong core of Italian players has always been a priority and will remain so moving forward.

Despite that, one of the Italian players currently on the roster, Nico Mannion, might leave the club at the end of the season, sources told BasketNews.

So far, Mannion's time with Virtus has been troubled by injuries and a lack of trust from Sergio Scariolo.

At the end of the season, when his contract expires, the chances that his relationship with Virtus will continue are considered to be slim, a source told BasketNews.

Mannion, who will turn 22 in March, wants to play more and have more of a central role moving forward, and it's unlikely to happen at Virtus.

The Italian team is working on the contract extensions of Milos Teodosic and Marco Belinelli, and they already have Daniel Hackett, Alessandro Pajola, and Iffe Lundberg under contract for next season. So for Mannion, the number of minutes available in the EuroLeague would be very limited. 

In the meantime, after a really long wait, Awudu Abass is finally on time to prove to everyone that he's back for real and ready to be an important piece in Virtus' run for a spot in the EuroLeague playoffs.

The 'operation comeback' is finally over for Abass. Now, it's time to shine again. 

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Awudu Abass

Awudu  Abass
Awudu  Abass
MIN: 21.27
PTS: 10 (100%)
REB: 2
As: 0
ST: 1
BL: 1
TO: 1
GM: 1