by: Javier Gancedo,
December 17, 2014
Jamel McLean - ALBA Berlin - EB14
ALBA Berlin has made it to the Top 16 for the third time in as many Turkish Airlines Euroleague appearances this decade. Despite a 0-3 start, ALBA was able to win all its critical games against direct opponents and added an extra home triumph against Unicaja Malaga to clinch a Top 16 berth a week before the regular season ends. One of its pillars has been power forward Jamel McLean, who has been unstoppable thus far. McLean hit a game-winning, buzzer-beating jumper against the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs in pre-season, and used that momentum to keep rolling in the Euroleague, where he is averaging 14.1 points on 65.2% two-point shooting and 5.6 rebounds in nine games, which is even more impressive for a Euroleague newcomer. Moreover, McLean is leading the competition in fouls drawn (7.4 per game) and only Boban Marjanovic of Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade has a higher performance index rating (20.1 per game). McLean thanks head coach Sasa Obradovic for letting him play his type of game, as he told Javier Gancedo of in this interview. "Our style of play allows me to do what I do best and that's just to play physical and do what I can out there," McLean said. "There is no superstar here, so we all have the same goal, and that is just to play together and try to win games." more
by: Javier Gancedo,
December 9, 2014
James Anderson - Zalgiris Kaunas - EB14_61725
Zalgiris Kaunas is celebrating its 70th anniversary and its main focus is trying to make it a season to remember on the court, too. Zalgiris is 4-4 in Group A and would qualify to the Top 16 if it beats Unics Kazan on the road this week. Its biggest addition has been small forward James Anderson, who has been in the center of the team's ambitions since the beginning of the season. Anderson earned regular season Round 4 MVP honors, precisely against Unics, by scoring 28 points and pulling down 11 rebounds on his way to a performance index rating of 38. Anderson now leads Zalgiris in scoring (16.5 ppg.) and steals (0.9 spg.), ranking second in rebounds (6 rpg.) and assists (2.3apg.). In other words, he has been all over the place while making sure Zalgiris gets a good chance to advance to the Top 16. Anderson is not your average Turkish Airlines Euroleague debutante, as he had his mind set on a certain goal before he even set foot in Kaunas. "Who wouldn't want to make it to the Top 16 and try to make a run in this tournament?" Anderson said. "It is a very personal challenge. One of the goals that I wanted to accomplish when I got here was making it to the Top 16 and take this team as far as I can in the Euroleague." more
by: Javier Gancedo,
December 2, 2014
Dario Saric - Anadolu Efes Istanbul - EB14_61703
A lot of people saw it coming for many years after he was arguably the most promising player seen at the International Junior Tournament this decade, but Dario Saric of Anadolu Efes Istanbul has confirmed the really high expectations everyone had of him. At age 20, Saric has become the youngest player named bwin MVP of the Month when he won the award for November this week. Saric stepped up right when Efes needed him most, after losing Nenad Krstic to injury for the remainder of the regular season, and following a dangerous home loss against Zalgiris Kaunas. Saric in November averaged 15.5 points and 7.75 rebounds while making 61% of his two-point shots, giving the consistency at both ends of the court that Efes needed at that moment to win three crucial games, including a prestigious home win against mighty Real Madrid and road triumphs in Nizhny Novgorod and Sassari. Saric is really happy about the award, as he told us in his interview. "It took a lot of practice and a lot of work to win such a special award as this," Saric told "It is very important to me, I am very happy to win it. It is amazing and a part of my dream has come true." more
by: Javier Gancedo,
November 26, 2014
Damian Kulig - PGE Turow Zgorzelec - EB14
Few basketball fans outside of Poland knew versatile forward Damian Kulig of PGE Turow Zgorzelec before the start of the 2014-15 Turkish Airlines Euroleague. It has taken Kulig a few weeks to earn his name in the competition, surprising a lot of people with his aggressive and intense playing style, soft touch and winning mentality. Kulig has scored in double digits in all six games so far, averaging 17.3 points (fifth overall) on 64.4% two-point shooting and 44.4% three-point shooting. He is also averaging 5.5 points, 1 steal and 1.2 blocks thus far. Kulig shined in his team's first-ever Euroleague win with 22 points and 6 rebounds to lead Turow over FC Bayern Munich 89-78. At age 27, Kulig had no previous Euroleague or Eurocup experience, but has made the most of this opportunity after flying under the radar for many years. Kulig always believed in his abilities and his being fully aware of them has helped him to shine in Europe's most demanding competition right away, as he told us in this interview. "Being aware of my own skills, athletic and basketball, gives me confidence on the court," Kulig told "I am seeing the results of the hard work I did for many years." more