In what is already a groundbreaking season for Unics Kazan, Vladimir Veremeenko helped the club to another monumental moment in Top 16, Week 1. The debut season in Europe’s premier basketball competition has been quite successful for both player and club. On Wednesday, the big man had his best game in the Euroleague yet to help Unics start the Top 16 with a tough 76-71 home win over Fenerbahce Ulker. His performance in doing so earned him Top 16, Week 1 bwin MVP honors and also made him the first Unics player to ever claim the Euroleague player of the week distinction. Veremeenko produced 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting in addition to 11 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 blocks and 11 fouls drawn in amassing a performance index rating of 32, which was the best among all players on winning teams in the first set of Top 16 games. Veremeenko also joins a short list of players to have won weekly MVP honors in both the Euroleague and Eurocup. He was the 2010-11 Eurocup Quarterfinals Game-1 MVP. The best performance index rating of the week was set by Unicaja big man Luka Zoric with 33 in his team’s heart-breaking 80-81 loss to Real Madrid. Zoric put on a show with 32 points on 13-of-20 shooting plus 10 rebounds and a steal. He also tipped in the go-ahead basket with 9.8 seconds on the clock, but Madrid had enough time to come back and win. All-Euroleague forward Dusko Savanovic starred in Anadolu Efes’s 68-62 victory over GS Medical park with a 31 index rating, which was third-best this week. Savanovic tallied 16 points, 17 rebounds and 2 assists for his team. Veremeenko’s co-star in Thursday’s win was point guard Petr Samoylenko, who scored 16 points and tallied 10 assists for an index of 25, while Chuck Eidson of FC Barcelona Regal rounds out the list of Top 16, Week 1’s best performances after posting 15 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals for a 24 index in his team’s 65-60 win over Bennet Cantu.
Individual highs: Dusko Savanovic, 17 rebounds
Zoric not only had the highest index rating of the week, but his 32 points scored tied regular season leading scorer Mirza Teletovic for the most points scored in a Turkish Airlines Euroleague game this season. It also raised his average this season to 13 points per game, which coincidentally ranks him 13 among active players in the Top 16. Savonovic’s 17 rebounds were by far the most of any player this week. He also pulled down the most rebounds by an Efes player in over four years and was 1 off the team Euroleague best! Samoylenko’s career-high 10 assists lead all Top 16 players, while Madrid playmaker Sergio Rodriguez, who dished 9 on Thursday, now leads the Euroleague this season with 5.8 per game. Veteran forward Jorge Garbajosa of Unicaja accumulated 4 steals – his most in a single game in six years – to lead all Top 16, Week 1 players. He is ranked sixth on the Euroleague’s all-time list with 223 career steals. Three players – Andrei Kirilenko of CSKA, Richerd Hendrix of Maccabi Electra and Ante Tomic of Madrid – each blocked 3 shots this week to lead the weekly standings. Kirilenko, with 3.17 blocks per game, leads the season-long standings. Top 16, Week 1 finished with four players notching double doubles and not surprisingly, they were also the top four players this week in index rating – Zoric, Veremeenko, Savanovic and Samoylenko.