Turkish Airlines Euroleague
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MVP Diamantidis heads 2010-11 All-Euroleague First Team
May 7, 2011
The best players of the 2010-11 Turkish Airlines Euroleague season were honored on Saturday night at the annual EFES Pilsener Euroleague Awards Ceremony, held this year at the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC) in Barcelona. Less than twenty-four hours before a new Euroleague champion will be crowned, a who's who of world basketball elite came together to celebrate another exciting season in a one-of-a-kind setting, the MNAC, that already hosted this event back in 2003. Panathinaikos point guard Dimitris Diamantidis was voted the 2010-11 Euroleague MVP after an outstanding season for the Greens and became the first player ever to win three end-of-season awards – MVP, Best Defender Trophy and All-Euroleague First Team – since the awards structure was established in 2005. Diamantidis was joined on the 2010-11 All-Euroleague First Team by the MVP of last season, Juan Carlos Navarro of Regal FC Barcelona, Caja Laboral swingman Fernando San Emeterio, his Panathinaikos teammate, forward Mike Batiste, and center Sofoklis Schortsanitis of Maccabi Electra. It is a first-time honor for San Emeterio, Batiste and Schortsanitis. Navarro was named first team for the fifth time and Diamantidis for the second time. The All-Euroleague Second Team featured Jeremy Pargo of Maccabi, Sergio Llull of Real Madrid, Vassilis Spanoulis of Olympiacos, Ksistof Lavrinovic of Montepaschi Siena and Dusko Savanovic of Power Electronics Valencia. Igor Rakocevic, the Alphonso Ford Top Scorer Trophy winner, and Nikola Mirotic of Real Madrid, the Rising Star Trophy winner, also received their respective awards. The EFES Pilsener Euroleague Awards Ceremony was attended by hundreds of VIPs and media on the night before Sunday’s title game between Maccabi and Panathinaikos, tipping off at 16:30 CET.
Dimitris Diamantidis, Panathinaikos
An outstanding season in a career already full of accolades has made Dimitris Diamantidis both the 2010-11 Turkish Airlines Euroleague MVP and the All-Euroleague First team point guard. Diamantidis posted career-bests in scoring (12.6 ppg.) and assists (6 apg.) as the competition’s top passer for the season. He was also voted overwhelmingly by Euroleague head coaches to be the Best Defender Trophy winner for the sixth time in seven seasons and won the Sportingbet MVP of the Month award for December, as chosen by Euroleague Basketball. Diamantidis led the Quarterfinal Playoffs round in scoring at 18 points per game as his team eliminated defending champion Regal F.C. Barcelona. He finished the season as the only player who ranked among the top 10 in assists, steals and performance index rating. In his seventh Euroleague season, Diamantidis has been instrumental to his team’s success, leading Panathinaikos to Euroleague titles in 2007 and 2009. He was named Final Four MVP in 2007. He also reached the Final Four with the Greens as a rookie in 2005 and has lifted seven consecutive Greek League trophies. He was previously selected to the All-Euroleague First Team in addition 2007.
Juan Carlos Navarro, Regal FC Barcelona
For the third season in a row and the fifth time in an already illustrious career, Regal FC Barcelona guard Juan Carlos Navarro is a member of the All-Euroleague First Team. Though injuries limited Navarro to just 15 games played, when he was available, he was one of the very best. Navarro was named Sportingbet Euroleague MVP for January after helping his team to a brilliant start to the Top 16. Navarro went on to become the leading scorer in the Top 16 (20 ppg.) in helping Barcelona complete that stage with a perfect record. He finished the season fourth in the league in scoring (14.1 ppg.) and second in the league in three-pointers made per game (2.2 3pg.). Navarro also ranked second on Barcelona in assists (2.8 apg.).He is already one of the most accomplished active players in European basketball with two Euroleague titles plus the 2008-09 Euroleague MVP and the 2010 Euroleague Final Four MVP awards. Moreover, Navarro boasts several medals with Spanish national team, highlighted by winning the titles at the 2006 World Championships and the 2009 EuroBasket.
Fernando San Emeterio, Caja Laboral
Caja Laboral small forward Fernando San Emeterio’s third Euroleague season was his best yet. The 27-year-old San Emeterio took the reins of the team this season and emerged as one of the elite players in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague. He was an instrumental figure in leading the team to the quarterfinals and led the league in both performance index rating (19.1) and three-point shooting accuracy (50%). Additionally he averaged career highs in scoring (13.7 ppg.), rebounding (5.5 rpg.), assists (2.4 apg.) and steals (0.8 spg.). San Emeterio’s all-around brilliance made him an impact player in every game and his importance to the team can be illustrated by the fact that Caja Laboral went 1-4 in games in which he failed to record double figures in points. San Emeterio came up big in one of his team’s most important games of the season, posting a double-double and recording a career-high 37 performance index rating against Lietuvos Rytas to become Sportingbet Top 16 Week 6 MVP and help his team advance to the playoffs from first place in Group E.
Sofoklis Schortsanitis, Maccabi Electra
Maccabi Electra’s unstoppable force inside, Sofoklis Schortsanitis posted the best numbers of his career in his first season in Tel Aviv. The big man was as efficient as they come, accounting for maximum production in minimum minutes. Big Sofo led the Euroleague in per-minute scoring with an average of 0.63 points per minute on the floor, while totaling a career-high 12.3 points per game before the Final Four. He was second in the per-minute rankings in performance index rating (0.70 per minute) and drew the second-most fouls in the league (97). Schortsanitis’s best single-game performance of the season, a 23-point and career-best 38-index outburst in just 22 minutes in a road win at Asseco Prokom in the regular season finale, was the third-best in the Euroleague this season. Maccabi’s record was 5-0 when he scored at least 18 points and 9-2 when he scored in double figures. Schortsanitis also plays a starring role with the Greek national team, with whom he won a silver medal at the 2006 World Championships and a bronze at EuroBasket 2009.
Mike Batiste, Panathinaikos
The veteran leader of the Panathinaikos frontcourt, Mike Batiste turned in a spectacular season for the Greens in leading the team to its fourth Final Four in his eight years with the club. Batiste led Panathinaikos in scoring (12.8 ppg.), rebounding (5.3 rpg.) and blocked shots (0.9 bpg) with remarkable consistency. He was a pillar in the paint for the Greek champs during the playoffs, when he ranked fifth in the league in average performance index rating (14.5). Batiste’s best game of the season came in the Top 16 opener, when he poured in 26 points to lead the Greens to a big road win at Lietuvos Rytas. Batiste has been getting the job done for Panathinaikos since he joined the club in 2003. They have won the Greek League in every season he has been at the club and been a perennial threat to win the Euroleague too. This season Batiste also hit a major milestone when he scored his 2,000th career Euroleague point during the playoffs. He is one of only two active players to be on the Euroleague Basketball career top 10 for both scoring and rebounding.
Jeremy Pargo, Maccabi Electra
Jeremy Pargo has simply been a revelation in his first year in the Euroleague, leading to his selection to the All-Euroleague Second Team. The Maccabi Electra point guard not only electrified fans with his explosive dunks, but also led his team in scoring (13 ppg.) and assists (3.9 apg.). Even more importantly, Pargo stepped up in the playoffs when he was needed most. He scored the scored game-winning basket in Game 2 of playoffs series against Caja Laboral and after his backcourt mate Doron Perkins was lost for the season in Game 3, it was Pargo that shined with back-to-back 20-point games to lead his team to the Final Four. He finished the playoffs as that stage’s leader in performance index rating (19.5 ppg.) and ranked second in scoring (17.3 ppg.). Those performances also resulted in Pargo being named Sportingbet March MVP. In games this season in which Pargo scored double figures, Maccabi’s record was 11-1.
Sergio Llull, Real Madrid
Sergio Llull continued his progress as one of the most exciting to watch players in European basketball this season with Real Madrid. In his fourth Euroleague season with Madrid and first as a starter, Llull helped Madrid to its first Final Four appearance in 15 years. The combo-guard led the team in scoring (11.5 ppg.) as well as cumulative three-pointers made (30), free throws made (52), assists (65) and fouls drawn (69). He set or matched his single-game career high in nearly every major statistical category in the Top 16 or playoffs and finished the season with career-best averages in scoring, rebounding (2.2 rpg.) and assists (3.1 apg.). Llull was the team’s top scorer in a game seven times this season. Moreover, his energy and infectious spirit have helped Llull become a fan-favorite with the Whites. And with Llull on the floor, there was always a specialist ready for end-of-quarter and end-of-game shots.
Vassilis Spanoulis, Olympiacos
In his first season since making headlines by moving to Olympiacos from its most bitter rival, Vassilis Spanoulis more than lived up to expectations. The veteran combo-guard and former Euroleague champ ranked third in the Euroleague and scoring (14.2 ppg.) and fourth in assists (4.3 apg.) – the latter representing a career best – while also leading his team in both categories. Those numbers made him the only player ranked in top five in both scoring and assists. Spanoulis led the Euroleague in fouls drawn (108) and free throws made (92) and attempted (108). He scored in double figures in all but one game this season. The honor marks the second time Spanoulis has been on the All-Euroleague Second Team after also getting selected in 2006. Spanoulis, who earned Euroleague Final Four MVP honors in 2009, is a regular with the Greek national team and has won a gold medal at EuroBasket 2005 and at the World Championships in 2006.
Dusko Savanovic, Power Electronics Valencia
A key player in Power Electronics Valencia's excellent season, Dusko Savanovic was his team's crunch time leader to make for a memorable Turkish Airlines Euroleague rookie season. Savanovic led Power Electronics in scoring (11.9 ppg.) and performed at his best level right when it mattered most, posting the highest average performance index rating in the season’s only five-game playoffs series (14.4). Savanovic was the only player to rank among top 10 in scoring (14.2 ppg.), rebounds (5.2 rpg.) and blocks (0.6 bpg.) in the playoffs. Savanovic helped Valencia to overcome slow starts in the regular season (1-4) and the Top 16 (3-3) to storm into the playoffs for the first time in club history. His buzzer-beating, game-winning triple in the regular season finale against Union Olimpija was one of the highlights of the Euroleague season. Savanovic, now a regular member of the Serbian national team, is a late bloomer who has become a premier player and a worthy member of the All-Euroleague second team.
Ksistof Lavrinovic, Montepaschi Siena
Versatile big man Ksistof Lavrinovic has earned his second All-Euroleague team appearance after previously winning second team honors for the 2007-08 campaign. Lavrinovic completed the seasons leading Montepaschi Siena in rebounding (5.1 rpg.), three-pointers made (19) and fouls drawn (4.3 pg.) and placing second in scoring (11.8 ppg.). He also ranked among the top 10 players in the playoffs in scoring (13.5 ppg.), three-point shooting (50%) and blocks (0.5 bpg.). Lavrinovic came through with his best game of the season and earned Sportingbet Regular Season Week 6 MVP honors after hanging 23 points and 8 rebounds for a performance index rating of 36 against Cholet basket. Though he was mainly used as a sixth man, Lavrinovic was a consistent threat off the bench and always a difference maker. Siena went 12-2 in games this season in which he scored in double figures, 11-2 when he made at least 1 three pointer and 8-0 whenever he collected more than 5 rebounds.
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