Turkish Airlines EuroLeague
Adidas Next Generation Tournament
2009-10 Eurocup Rising Star Trophy Victor Claver, Power Electronics Valencia
Apr 07, 2010
With a unique mix of athleticism, talent and basketball IQ, a young gold medalist from last summer's EuroBasket 2009 now has helped lift his club team into the Eurocup Finals. For his solid contribution to making that happen and his impact on Eurocup courts around the continent, forward Victor Claver of Power Electronics Valencia has been chosen by Euroleague Basketball as the Eurocup Rising Star Trophy winner for 2009-10. In its second season, the Rising Star Trophy recognizes the best Eurocup player who was younger than 22 on July 1 of the summer before the season started. Claver, 21, fired up Eurocup fans all season long with his high-flying dunks, three-pointers and outstanding physical skills. Claver is a mismatch at small forward due to a combination of 2.06-meter size, ballhandling and quickness. Born and raised in Valencia, Claver has made the most of his opportunities while walking a tough road from intriguing prospect to star-in-the-making. No other under-22 player in the Eurocup boasted such numbers, determination and ability to take his team so deep into the competition as Claver. An essential pillar in head coach Neven Spahija's rotation, Claver was Valencia's only player to take part in all 14 Eurocup games. He finished second-best on the team in rebounds and steals, third-best in assists and blocks. Most important, Claver was key in helping Valencia seize a solid chance to lift the Eurocup trophy!
The Rising Star Trophy is part of an expanded awards structure launched in the 2008-09 season 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 the Eurocup MVP. Additionally, the Eurocup Finals MVP award will go the best player at that event as voted by accredited journalists in attendance during the title game.
Claver's heroics started even before the Eurocup season itself. Fresh off winning the gold medal at EuroBasket 2009 with the Spanish national team, Claver averaged 11.5 points and 7 rebounds in a Qualifying Round series against Dexia Mons-Hainaut of Belgium that Valencia needed to win in order to even play in the Eurocup regular season. Claver had a solid start to that regular season, pacing Valencia with 15 points in a 74-73 come-from-behind home win against Le Mans. Soon, he was posting a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds in an 85-60 home win against Triumph Lyubertsy. He then had 14 points in just 19 minutes of a big home win against Hemofarm to keep Valencia undefeated through five regular season games. Once in the Last 16, Claver earned Week 4 co-MVP honors with 21 points - his Eurocup career-high - in a victory over Galatasaray Cafe Crown. He added 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 steals in a one-of-a-kind performance. His monster, fourth-quarter tomahawk dunk against Aris in the second-leg game of Valencia's quarterfinals win against Aris was a series-defining moment, letting the home fans celebrate that their team was on the way to the Finals. For the whole season, Claver finished with averages of 8.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.1 steals for a per-game performance index rating of 10.2.
Claver and last season's winner Milan Macvan of Hemofarm Vrsac are the first two players to receive the Rising Star Trophy. Now, Claver will be aiming for a second trophy, that of the Eurocup champion, as he tries to help Power Electronics Valencia reach the winners’ podium at the Eurocup Finals in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain on April 17 and 18.