With the Euroleague Final Four ready to get underway in Milan next week, the organization has announced the First and Second Team for the season. Comprised of the best players in this season’s competition, both teams are packed with some of the best talent in European Basketball. As FIBA was keen to point out on its website, both teams are also filled with players who will be showcasing their talents at this year’s Basketball World Cup in Spain.
It comes as little surprise to see that the First Team features predominantly Spanish based players; such has been the form of Real Madrid and Barcelona this season. Los Blancos has two players in the elite team, while Barca has one, with EA7 Milan and CSKA Moscow also represented in the line up.
Sergio Rodriguez (191 cm) – It has been another fantastic Euroleague campaign from Real Madrid player Rodriguez. The point guard was a key component of Madrid’s early season unbeaten form, and while Los Blancos have since been defeated, Sergio Rodriguez has continued to help the team be one of the favourites for this season’s title. The 27-year old has collected averages of 13.5ppg, 4.9apg, 2.0rg, and 1.2spg.
Rudy Fernandez (198 cm) – Rodriguez is joined in the First Team by Madrid teammate Rudy Fernandez (main image). The small forward has been huge for the club once again and will be important at the end of the season as Madrid looks to win both the Spanish League and the Euroleague. That would cap an unprecedented treble as the club has already won the Spanish Cup, although Fernandez will need to continue his 13.2ppg, 4.3rpg, and 3.2apg for to help that cause. Fernandez is making his second consecutive appearance in the All-Euroleague First Team.
Ante Tomic (217 cm) – Big Croatian center Tomic has been in typically formidable form for Barcelona and lands in the First Team for the second straight year. The 27-year old was outstanding as Barcelona went on a record breaking run in the Last 16 that saw the club go 24 games unbeaten over two seasons at that stage. Tomic has averaged 11.8ppg, 6.8rpg, and 1.8apg while helping himself to a couple of weekly MVP awards.
Keith Langford (193 cm, Kansas’05) – One look at the scoring chart will show why Langford is worthy of his place in the First Team. The EA7 Armani Milan guard has been deadly and is leading the scoring charts with 17.6 points per game. Langford’s points allowed Milan to become one of the surprise packages of the Euroleague this season, while he backed up his scoring with 3.4rpg and 2.9apg.
Sonny Weems (198 cm, Arkansas’08) – It is interesting that CSKA Moscow has flown under the radar somewhat this season. The Russian powerhouse has quietly gone about business while the Spanish clubs have taken the plaudits, while CSKA even topped Madrid in Group F during the Top 16. Moscow is once again in the Final Four and once again a favourite for the title and one of the architects of that success has been Sonny Weems.
Vassilis Spanoulis (193 cm) – Double Euroleague champs Olympiacos relinquished their crown this season after an inconsistent campaign ended at the Semi-Final stage. Despite crashing out, the team has still been propelled by the talismanic presence of last season’s MVP Vassilis Spanoulis. The guard has been at his dynamic best and has averaged 15.1ppg and 4.6apg.
Ricky Hickman (185 cm, NC-Greensboro’07) – Israeli giant Electra Tel-Aviv finds itself in the Final Four despite a stop/start campaign. Aiding the team has been point guard Ricky Hickman, who has delivered 12.1ppg, 2.5rpg, and 2.8apg during a solid season.
Nikola Mirotic (207 cm) – Montenegrin forward Mirotic has had arguably his most consistent season wearing the white jersey of Real Madrid. He has certainly picked up his best numbers during three seasons in the Euroleague by grabbing 12.2ppg, 4.6rpg, 1.2apg, and 1.2spg.
Viktor Khryapa (203 cm) – Often among the best defensive players in Europe, Khryapa has had another season to remember for CSKA Moscow. Things may get better if the club can win the Final Four, but for now the big Russian will be happy with averages of 5.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game.
Stephane Lasme (203 cm, Massachusetts’07) – Panathinaikos may have slipped out of the Euroleague at the Semi-Finals stage, but Lasme will look back on a good season. The former NBA center has collected 2.9 defensive rebounds per game and has padded his averages out with 8.9ppg.