In a season that has seen a lot of firsts, all 10 members of the 2015-16 All-Eurocup First and Second Teams are first-time selections and half of them are Eurocup rookies. The annual All-Eurocup selections honor 10 deserving stars for their on-court excellence throughout the season and leading their respective teams in deep runs in the competition. Though the selections, made by Euroleague Basketball’s panel of expert, do not have many players rich in Eurocup history, they do tell the story of the current season as the league leaders or runners-up in performance index rating, scoring, defensive rebounds, blocks, fouls drawn and true shooting percentage are all represented, as are eight players who appeared in the Eurocup Semifinals and Four due to play in the Eurocup Finals. The All-Eurocup First Team is comprised of guards Errick McCollum of Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul and Mardy Collins of Strasbourg, forwards Vlado Micov of Galatasaray and Davide Pascolo of Dolomiti Energia Trento and center Alen Omic of Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas. The All-Eurocup Second Team features point guard Kevin Pangos of Gran Canaria, 2016 Eurocup Rising star Mateusz Ponitka of Stelmet Zielona Gora, forward Victor Rudd of Nizhny Novgorod and big men Julian Wright of Trento and Stephane Lasme of Galatasaray. Earlier in the week, Ponitka was announced as the winner of this season’s Rising Star Trophy and Maurizio Buscaglia of Dolomiti Energia Trento was named Eurocup Coach of the Year. Still to be revealed is the identity of the 2015-16 Eurocup MVP.
McCollum is this season’s leader in performance index rating (22 per game) and ranked second in scoring (18.7 ppg.), despite coming off the bench in half his games. He was twice the weekly MVP this season, including after Eightfinals Game 2, when McCollum totaled 21 points, 7 assists and 2 blocks to eliminate Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir. This is McCollum’s second Eurocup campaign; he led the 2013-14 Eurocup in scoring with Panionios Athens.
Collins joined the Eurocup prior to the Last 32, since he and Strasbourg started the season in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague, but the do-it-all swingman has been a key piece in his team’s march to the Eurocup Finals. He leads Strasbourg in average performance index rating (16 per game) and assists (4.3 apg.) and is second in scoring (13.2 ppg.), rebounds (4.6 rpg.) and steals (1.3 spg.). He was also the top scorer in each of Strasbourg’s victories in the knockout stages.
Micov’s performance has improved as the season has progressed. He played an instrumental win in the victory over Gran Canaria in Game 1 of the semifinal and then starred with 21 points and 7 rebounds in Game 2 to send Galatasaray to the finals. For the season he has averaged 13 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists plus invaluable experience for the squad. Micov, 30, is playing his second season for Galatasaray. This is his fourth Eurocup season in addition to five previous Euroleague campaigns.
Pascolo was the heart and soul of Trento’s historic run to the Eurocup Semifinals in both the team and player’s maiden season in European competition. Pascolo ranked seventh in the Eurocup in average performance index rating (19.1 per game), 11th in scoring (15 ppg.) and 13th in rebounding (6.1 rpg.). He scored in double figures in all but two games this season and took his performance to another level in the knockout stages by averaging 17.7 points, 8 rebounds and an index rating of 22.8.
Omic’s dominance in the paint was a big reason Gran Canaria reached the Eurocup Semifinals for the second years in a row. Omic was fourth in the Eurocup in rebounding (7.6 rpg.) and led his team in scoring (14 ppg.). He was twice the weekly MVP this season; Omic dropped 18 points and tied the for the most of any player this season with 17 rebounds against Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem in the Last 32 finale and then posted 20 points and 8 boards in a win over Zielona Gora in the quarterfinals opener.
Pangos’s rookie season was one to remember. He helped Gran Canaria come within a shot of returning to the Eurocup Finals by dishing the ninth-most assists (4.8 apg.) in the competition and ranking third in three-point accuracy (51.2%). Pangos was also second on the team in scoring (11.9 ppg.). He recorded one of the best games of the regular season with 31 points at MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg. Pangos showed he was built for big games in the knockout stages when he averaged 6 points more per game in the second legs than he scored in the first legs.
Rudd was the go-to guy for a Nizhny Novgorod squad that narrowly missed reaching the Eurocup Semifinals. The forward was fifth in the competition in scoring (15.8 ppg) and sixth in rebounding (6.7 rpg.). He set the tone for the eighthfinals series win over Zenit St Petersburg with 28 points on 5-of-8 three-point shooting in Game 1 to snag MVP honors. That was one of seven games this season in which Rudd buried at least 3 three-pointers.
Ponitka did it all for Zielona Gora, leading his team in scoring (13.5 ppg.), rebounding (6.5 rpg.), fouls drawn (4 per game) and performance index rating (17.3 per game), all of which led to his selection as this season’s Eurocup Rising Star. He averaged 19.5 points on 77.8% two-point shooting and 60% from downtown plus 2.5 steals to lead his team past Unics Kazan in the eighthfinals. This was Ponitka’s third Eurocup campaign, but first with Zielona Gora.
Wright proved to be the ideal frontcourt companion to All-Eurocup First Team choice Davide Pascolo at Trento. Wright was second on the team, behind only Pascolo in scoring (14.6 ppg.), rebounding (5.6 rpg.) and index rating (16.8 per game), while leading the team in steals (1.5 spg.) and blocks (1.1 bpg.). His 3.1 assists per game were also tops in the competition among centers. Wright scored at least 13 points in all six knockout stage contests to bring Trento to the verge of the Eurocup Finals.
Lasme, a former Euroleague Best Defender trophy winner and All-Euroleague selection, came to Galatasaray to fortify its frontline and did exactly that. He was second in the competition in blocks (1.3 bpg.) and 10th in rebounds (6.4 rpg.), while contributing 11.1 points on 64.1% two-point shooting. His average performance index rating of 15.2 is second on the team, but his real damage came in the second half of the season; Lasme’s average index is 19.2 per game since the start of the Last 32.