The Turkish Airlines Euroleague soared to new heights in the 2015-16 season thanks to the hundreds of players who suited up for 24 teams. Among them all, Euroleague Basketball salutes the 10 that stood tallest to earn places on the 2015-16 All-Euroleague First and Second Teams after voting by fans and accredited media members. The voting is made without regard to player positions. This season's group features players from six different clubs and many new faces. Three of them just completed their debut Euroleague campaigns, while seven are first-time All-Euroleague honorees. The All-Euroleague First Team is made up of Malcolm Delaney of Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar, Nando De Colo and Milos Teodosic of CSKA Moscow, Jan Vesely of Fenerbahce Istanbul and Ioannis Bourousis of Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz. Fenerbahce has two more players on the All-Euroleague Second Team, Luigi Datome and Ekpe Udoh, who are joined by Quincy Miller of Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade, Anthony Randolph of Lokomotiv and Gustavo Ayon of Real Madrid. De Colo and Teodosic are the only returning players from the 2014-15 All-Euroleague teams. The 2015-16 MVP will be revealed at the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Awards Ceremony in Berlin on Thursday, May 12 to tip off the Final Four in the German capital!
First Team: Delaney, De Colo, Teodosic, Vesely, Bourousis
Malcolm Delaney is the leader of a Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar team that is making its first Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four appearance. In his second Euroleague campaign, Delaney has broken the competition's single-season records for minutes played (965) and fouls drawn (187), and is on pace to set new ones for free throws made (131) and attempted (156). He also ranked among the league leaders in three-pointers made (second, 62), performance index rating (third, 19.3 per game), scoring (fourth, 15.8 ppg.) and assists (sixth, 5.7 apg.). Along with his 3.4 rebounds per game, Delaney improved on his previous averages in every major category. Delaney was chosen MVP for October and earned back-to-back weekly MVP honors to start the Top 16, when his 31 points against Cedevita Zagreb marked the most scored by any Euroleague player this season. Delaney now joins Nando De Colo as the first players ever to earn both All-Euroleague First Team and All-Eurocup First Team selections.
Nando De Colo took the Euroleague by storm this season, his second with CSKA Moscow. He led the competition in scoring (18.9 ppg.) and performance index rating (24.0 per game). He is only the second player to accumulate an index rating of more than 600 in a Euroleague campaign, and with 473 points so far is in range to break Alphonso Ford's all-time record of 495 points in a single season. But that's not all De Colo has done while helping CSKA reach the Final Four. His 124 free throws made and 137 attempted were both the second-most in the competition. He ranked sixth in free throw accuracy (90.5%) and three-point accuracy (46.2%) and ninth in assists (4.9 apg.). De Colo averaged career-highs in scoring, index rating, free throw, two-point and three-point shots made, assists, and rebounds (3.6 rpg.). He earned weekly MVP honors three times and was chosen as the MVP for February. This is second consecutive All-Euroleague selection for De Colo, who joins Malcolm Delaney as the first players ever to earn both All-Euroleague First Team and All-Eurocup First Team selections.
Coming off the bench in every game for CSKA Moscow, Milos Teodosic was as big a superstar as ever. With CSKA tied for a competition-best 22-5 record coming to the Final Four, Teodosic posted a career-high 16.3 scoring average, which was second-best in the competition and on CSKA, too. He led the Euroleague with 72 three-pointers made, another career-best, which also puts him in close range of breaking the Euroleague single-season record of 74. Teodosic ranked fourth in the competition in free throws made (104), fifth in index rating (17.6) – also a career best – and seventh in assists (5.6 apg.). He was the hero of CSKA's playoffs opener with 23 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists to hold off Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade, which earned him the weekly MVP title for Playoffs Game 1. This is the fifth All-Euroleague selection for Teodosic, which ties him for the third-most in competition history. It is his third time on the All-Euroleague First Team, which is also third on the all-time charts.
An Achilles' tendon injury suffered late in the Top 16 did something that no opponent could earlier this season: stop high-flying big man Jan Vesely. The Fenerbahce Istanbul forward, nicknamed the Czech Helicopter, was at the heart of the team's march to first place in its regular season and Top 16 groups. Even though he ranked third in the league in rebounding (7.0 rpg.), seventh in blocks (1 bpg.) and ninth in performance index rating (15.6 per game) – and averaged a career-high 12 points per game – numbers don't do justice to the impact that Vesely had on his team's success. Whether as an intimidator on defense or a game-changing, big-play maker on offense, Vesely was often the pace-setter in Fenerbahce's games and did not need to have the ball much in order to demoralize opponents. His confidence and exuberance spread to his teammates, making him an anchor of Fenerbahce's success. This is the first All-Euroleague honor for Vesely, who earlier in the season was named MVP for January.
A veteran of 14 Euroleague seasons, defending Euroleague champion Ioannis Bourousis broke out this season at age 32. In his first campaign with Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz, Bourousis roared to career-best averages in scoring (14.6), rebounding (8.9), assists (2.3) and performance index rating (21.5), as well as total free throws (112), two-point (99) and three-point (28) shots made. He led the Euroleague in rebounds as well as double-doubles (11), ranked second in performance index rating, third in free throws made and attempted, and sixth in scoring – all while coming off the bench. He set single-game career-highs in all but one category and had the season's highest performance index rating: 44 in a regular season victory over his former team, Olympiacos Piraeus. Bourousis earned weekly MVP honors four times and was chosen as the MVP for March. This is his second All-Euroleague First Team selection; his first came in 2009 with Olympiacos and the seven years between them is the longest gap between such awards for a player in competition history.
Second Team: Datome, Miller, Udoh, Randolph, Ayon
After four seasons away from the competition, Luigi Datome was quick to show Euroleague fans what they were missing in his first campaign with Fenerbahce Istanbul. His smooth shooting stroke and savvy all-around skills were key components in the team's success. A contributor in nearly all facets of the game, Datome was second on the team in scoring (12.2 ppg.) and fourth in both rebounding (4.3 rpg.) and assists (1.8 apg.). He ranked ninth in the league in three-point accuracy (45.6%), which he raised to a whopping 55% in the Top 16. Datome was at his best when he scored 22 second-half points en route to a career-best 27 in a come-from-behind win over Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade for which he won Top 16 Round 9 MVP honors. Datome becomes the first Italian player to earn All-Euroleague honors since Gregor Fucka in 2001.
Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade enjoyed a historic 2015-16 Turkish Airlines Euroleague campaign by reaching the playoffs for the first time behind the stellar play of forward Quincy Miller. Signed after the season started to replace the injured Luka Mitrovic, Miller soon took over with four straight performances of at least 20 points as his team climbed into Top 16 contention. Another big game from Miller in the regular season finale advanced Zvezda to the next stage, but he didn't stop there. Throughout the Top 16, he put up more big numbers to send Zvezda to the playoffs to challenge mighty CSKA Moscow in what was ultimately a losing effort. For the season, Miller ranked seventh in the league in scoring (14.1 ppg.) and second in blocks (1.5 bpg.). He added 5.7 rebounds per game in following Boban Marjanovic to become the second Zvezda player to collect All-Euroleague honors.
In his first season in the competition, center Ekpe Udoh set the tone in the middle for Fenerbahce Istanbul by posting a new competition record with 53 blocked shots. Although many paid more attention to his defensive impact, he led his team in scoring (12.4 ppg.), too. In addition to his league-best 2.1 blocks per game, Udoh ranked eighth in performance index rating (15.7 per game) and 10th in true shooting percentage (59.4 %). He teamed with All-Euroleague First Team selection Jan Vesely to form an elite frontline. When Vesely went down late in the Top 16 due to injury, Udoh stepped up and starred in his team's playoff sweep of outgoing champion Real Madrid, claiming weekly MVP honors after Games 2 and 3 of the series. He was later named the Euroleague's MVP for April. He blocked a shot in all but two games this season and his 7 rejections against Unicaja Malaga tied for the third-most in a game in competition history.
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar came into the season knowing that big man Anthony Randolph would miss most of the regular season. The team planned accordingly, because it knew how valuable he could be when he returned. Randolph not only met the expectations, he surpassed them with an impressive and entertaining season, while helping Lokomotiv to new heights by reaching the Final Four. He ranked sixth in the league in scoring with 14.5 points per game, led his team in both steals (1.3 spg.) and blocks (0.9 bpg.) and was second on Lokomotiv in rebounds (5.8 rpg.). When he was at his best, there was no stopping Randolph: his performance index rating of 43 against Cedevita in the Top 16 was the highest in a non-overtime game all season. And Randolph singlehandedly outscored FC Barcelona Lassa 10-4 in overtime in Game 4 of the playoffs to keep his team's Final Four dream alive. Randolph is an end-of-season honoree for the second straight season: he was named to the All-Eurocup Second Team last year.
Gustavo Ayon put together a very good first season for Real Madrid, in which he helped Los Blancos win the 2015 Euroleague crown. But in his second season, the center from Mexico simply dominated. Ayon ranked among the league leaders in performance index rating (fourth with 18.4 per game), rebounding (second, 7.9 rpg.), steals (second, 1.8 spg.) and blocks (fourth, 1.3 bpg.). He was also second on Madrid in scoring (11.6 ppg.) and third in assists (2.3 apg.). Ayon was the Euroleague MVP of the Month for December, during which his monster 22-point, 9-rebound, 6-steal and 3-block effort against FC Bayern Munich helped Madrid remain in the Top 16 race. That was the first of his two games this season with a performance index rating in the 40s. Ayon also collected seven double-doubles during his memorable campaign.