One of the great shooters in competition history, Kyle Kuric took his game to new heights in the second stage of the season to lift Zenit St. Petersburg into the 7DAYS EuroCup Quarterfinals. Kuric was the Top 16 leader in scoring (22.5 ppg.), three-pointers made (24), free throws made (31) and performance index rating (23.7). He reached the 30-point mark twice in the six-game phase and was the MVP of the round in another. Such performances made Kuric a natural choice as 7DAYS EuroCup Top 16 MVP. This season is the first time in the 16-year history of the competition that EuroLeague Basketball is announcing mid-season awards and Kuric, a two-time All-EuroCup selection, is a perfect fit for the new honor.
Kuric, who joined Zenit over the summer after three seasons with Herbalife Gran Canaria, did not have an off night in the Top 16. He made at least 3 three-pointers in every game and shot 57.1% from downtown for the phase. He was also lethal from the foul line at 93.9%. He set a career high for index rating with 40 and was the Top 16 Round 2 MVP when he dropped 28 points on 6-of-8 three-point shooting in a 95-84 victory over Fiat Turin. A week later, he posted a career high of 31 points on the road at FC Bayern Munich. Kuric shot 9 for 9 from the free throw line twice in the Top 16 and also matched his career best in rebounds with 6 twice. With Kuric leading the way, Zenit swept its games against Fiat and Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius to place second in Group F.
After bursting onto the EuroCup scene in 2014-15, when he led Gran Canaria to the EuroCup Finals, Kuric’s next season was interrupted when doctors discovered he had a brain tumor. After three surgeries, Kuric fought back from the life-threatening situation to return to Gran Canaria at the end of the season and he was as good as ever last season. Following five seasons total in Spain, including two with Estudiantes Madrid, Kuric moved to St. Petersburg this season.
Entering the EuroCup Quarterfinals, where Zenit will meet Italy’s Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia, Kuric is the EuroCup’s career leader in three-point accuracy among players with at least 100 threes, with 48.1%. He has made 168 threes in his career and is 3 triples behind Lukoil Academic legend Todor Stoykov for the third-most in competition history. With 867 career points, Kuric needs just 3 more to reach the competition’s career top 25 and 39 points to crack the top 20. Kuric has accomplished all of this despite starting only 23 games in his storybook EuroCup career.