He started the decade as a promising Turkish Airlines EuroLeague rookie and finished it having reached the greatest heights possible in the competition. The latest player to be revealed as a member of the 2010-20 EuroLeague All-Decade team is none other than Nando De Colo!
A relentless force with the ball in his hands – whether shooting, driving, passing or getting to the foul line – De Colo won two continental titles in his six full EuroLeague seasons so far and swept four individual trophies, tying the record, in one of them. That he finished the decade as the EuroLeague's leader in average performance index rating, at 18.0 per game, was final proof of De Colo's consistent excellence.
Nothing but a superstar
De Colo made his EuroLeague debut with Valencia Basket in the 2010-11 season, soon after having won the 2010 EuroCup as an All-EuroCup First Team selection. He helped Valencia go all the way to Game 5 of the 2011 EuroLeague Playoffs, then left the competition, soon to return in 2014 with CSKA Moscow. He would play in Moscow for five full seasons as arguably the most dominant EuroLeague player over the second half of the last decade. De Colo was a driving force as CSKA won EuroLeague titles in 2015-16 and 2018-19, with the first of those seasons considered one of the greatest by any player in EuroLeague history after he swept four individual awards: Alphonso Ford Top Scorer Trophy, All-EuroLeague First Team, Season MVP and Final Four MVP. De Colo was chosen to the All-EuroLeague First Team in 2016-17 and 2017-18, as well, and to the All-EuroLeague Second Team in 2014-15 and 2018-19, giving him a record-tying streak of five such honors consecutively. He was named MVP of the Month three times during the decade and earned the MVP of the Round honor a record 16 times, including the last one with his current team, Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul.
"It is an amazing feeling to win the EuroLeague. It is the best championship in Europe and every big team fights for it."
May 23, 2016.
Despite playing just six seasons in the 2010s, De Colo ranked second in total PIR (3,228) and scoring (2,886 points), trailing Ante Tomic and Vassilis Spanoulis, respectively. He ranked sixth in steals (203), 10th in assists (630) and 11th in three-point shooting percentage (43.4%). His excellence at free throw shooting is beyond comparison, however. After making 717 of 763 attempts at the foul line last decade, De Colo's accuracy rate of 94.0% is the EuroLeague's all-time best.
Everything clicked for De Colo at the 2016 Final Four. He led CSKA in the semifinal against Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar with 30 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists and a PIR of 30. In the championship game against Fenerbahce, De Colo delivered again with 22 points, 7 assists, 11 fouls drawn and a PIR of 26. When he missed a potential game-winning shot at the end of regulation time, however, his teammate Victor Khryapa fixed that with a put-back basket that took the game to overtime, and there De Colo refused to lose. He made the difference with 10 points in that extra period, leading CSKA to a 96-101 victory for its sixth EuroLeague title and first since 2008. De Colo was voted the Final Four MVP after the highest-scoring title game since 1969. His 52 points over two games were the most in any Final Four this century until then. In that weekend, De Colo sealed his credentials as a EuroLeague legend in the making.