With a unique combination of strength and smarts, one of the Eurocup's youngest players this season not only ranked among the competition's top performers, but led his team to the Final Eight. For his instant impact on courts around the continent, teenage power forward Milan Macvan of Hemofarm Stada has been chosen by Euroleague Basketball as the first Eurocup Rising Star Trophy winner! The brand new Rising Star Trophy recognizes the best Eurocup player who was younger than 22 on July 1 of the summer before the season started. Macvan, 19, dramatically improved throughout his second season with Hemofarm, pushing his team forward through two difficult stages of competition after star center Vladan Vukosavljevic was severely injured. His game-winning basket in the closing seconds of the final regular season game sent Hemofarm to the Last 16, where Macvan was even better, ranking eighth among all players in performance index rating. No other under-22 player came close to his numbers and leadership abilities. Macvan finished as his team's top scorer and rebounder, pacing Hemofarm to the Final Eight and a chance to win the Eurocup title!
The Rising Star Trophy is part of an expanded awards structure meant to enhance recognition of the finest Eurocup players for their efforts on the basketball court throughout the season. Apart from the Eurocup Rising Star, Euroleague Basketball and its in-house experts will also select the Eurocup Coach of the Year, All-Eurocup first and second teams and, above all, the Eurocup MVP. Additionally, the Eurocup Final Eight MVP award will go the best player at that event as voted by accredited journalists in attendance during the title game.
Macvan had a solid start of the season, averaging 10 points in the first three Eurocup games. After the injury to Vukosavljevic, Macvan became the team leader when it mattered most. After having collected 10 points in a critical 89-85 home win against Buducnost, Mavcan scored the game-winning basket in that 80-82 do-or-die, come-from-behind regular season finale, against CEZ Basketball Nymburk. Once in the Last 16, Macvan took over. He had 24 points and 8 rebounds in the Last 16 opener, a 84-74 home win against Azovmash Mariupol. Macvan soon added 15 points and 9 rebounds to help Hemofarm down Crvena Zvezda 88-73 and improve to 2-1. In the rematch against C. Zvezda in Week 4, Macvan had 11 points on 5-for-5 shooting as Hemofarm registered a blowout 65-91 win. By the time that Hemofarm won its final Last 16 game to qualify for the Final Eight, Macvan had averages of 15 points and 5.7 rebounds and an average index rating of 17.7. Only six players were better in that round. For the season overall, Macvan averaged 12.1 points on 60.3% two-point and 83.3% free-throw shooting to go with 4.8 rebounds and a 13.4 index rating per game.
Macvan, who doesn't turn 20 until November, had already led the under-18 and under-20 national teams of Serbia to gold medals in European and World Championships. Now, he'll try to put Hemofarm in the history books at the Final Eight in Turin, Italy from April 2 to 5.