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Nikola Vujcic chooses Olympiacos
by: Vassilis Skountis, Athens
June 18, 2008
Olympiacos Piraeus has started the rebuilding of its team by tabbing one of the greatest players in Euroleague Basketball history: Two-time Euroleague champion Nikola Vujcic. The center, who recently left Maccabi Tel Aviv after six seasons, signed a two-year contract with the Reds. Vujcic (211, 30) is a five-time All-Euroleague selection – including three years in a row on the first team. He is the only player to record a triple-double in a Euroleague game – a feat he's accomplished twice – and is among the all-time Euroleague Basketball leaders in nearly every statistical category including scoring (fifth with 1,946 points), rebounds (third with 850), assists (sixth with 402) and blocks (fifth with 102) and is the all-time leader in index ranking with an average of 18.5 – the most for any player with at least 100 appearances.
Vujcic grew up with KK Split in his native Croatia, where he made his debut during the 1995-96 season. He played there till the 2000-01 season when he moved to Maccabi Tel Aviv. In November 2001 Vujcic was sent on loan to ASVEL Villeurbanne, which he led to the French championships, and at the end of the season he returned to Maccabi Tel Aviv, where he stayed for six seasons, during which he went to four Euroleague title games and won to championships. Vujcic is coming off a season that was marred by injuries and saw him average just 9.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 12 Euroleague games.
"This is big step for me," Vujcic said of the move. "I spent six great seasons with Maccabi Tel Aviv, but it was the right team for me to move and I think that Olympiacos is the best possible option. I am at a level that obliges me to stay on the top and Olympiacos gives me this challenge. I know coach Giannakis and I understand what he wants to build."
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