Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv has made Giorgi Shermadini its first big signing of the offseason. One of the best young centers in the game, Shermadini (2.16 meters, 23 years old) arrives from Italian club Bennet Cantu, where he posted big numbers all season – and in particular in a pair of Top 16 games against Maccabi. The Georgian averaged 10.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 0.6 blocks over 16 games as the backup center for Cantu. Against Tel Aviv those numbers improved to 14 points, 7.5 boards, 3 assists and 1 blocks per game. His performance index rating of 15.3 per game ranked seventh in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague and prorated over 40 minutes, it was 28.3, which ranked third behind only Euroleague MVP Andrei Kirilenko and All-Euroleague center Nenad Krstic. He also ranked third in the league in average free throws attempted per game (5.1), which he converted at an impressive 84.1%.
Shermadini signed a one-year deal with an option to extend it until the end of the 2013-14 season.
Maccabi is Shermadini’s fourth Euroleague club in as many seasons. He grew up at Maccabi Tbilisi in his native Georgia before joining Panathinaikos in 2008. After two seasons as a reserve with the Greens – the first of which the club won the Euroleague – Shermadini went on loan for a season to Union Olimpija in Slovenia for the 2010-11 campaign and then signed last season for Cantu. Among his accomplishments are winning two Greek League titles, one Greek Cup and one Slovenian Cup. Shermadini is also a member of the Georgian national team. He averaged 4.4 points and 4.4 rebounds for Georgia at EuroBasket 2011 last summer.
"We are happy and excited that Giorgi is joining us," Maccabi head coach David Blatt said. "He is one of the most talented young big men in Europe today and he fits wonderfully into our plans. The truth is that I have followed his career for several years and I always thought he would be an excellent addition to any team at the highest level, not only because of his impressive physical attributes, but a lot because of his approach to the game, his impressive mobility and the hard work he puts in. Shermadini has the size needed to be a center, but he moves on the court and runs like a guard. He fights for rebounds, blocks shots and chases loose balls. He has tremendous potential and is exactly the kind of players we want at Maccabi."