The busiest team in the market, BC Khimki Moscow Region, added another big name to its lineup with the signing of guard Petteri Koponen to a three-year deal, the club announced Thursday. Koponen (1.94 meters, 24 years old) has enjoyed success in the Italian League with Virtus Bologna in recent years. This past season, his fourth at the club, he averaged 13.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 32 regular season games and increased those numbers to 19.7 points and 3 assists in the playoffs. Khimki marks Koponen’s first chance to play at Europe’s highest level. He began his career in his native Finland, where Koponen made his professional debut as a 16-year-old with Espoo Honka and went on to lead the club to one cup and two league championships before moving to Italy. As an elite prospect, Koponen was also invited to play in the 2007 Nike Hoop Summit. Koponen is also the star of the Finnish national team and averaged 13.3 points and 3.1 assists in eight games to help his team to a top 10 finish at EuroBasket 2011 last summer. He joins big men Paul Davis and James Augustine and swingman K.C. Rivers among the early signings made by Khimki as it prepares to challenge in its return to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague this season.
"I have followed Koponen for a few years," Khimki head coach Rimas Kurtinaitis said."Every year he has progressed and especially had a great last season. He plays both guard positions, is a good shooter and passer and plays the pick-and-roll. Petteri is ambitious and very hardworking."