2009-10 Eurocup MVP: Marko Banic, Bizkaia Bilbao Basket

Apr 12, 2010 by Eurocupbasketball.com Print
2009-10 Eurocup MVP: Marko Banic, Bizkaia Bilbao Basket
Marko Banic - Bilbao BasketEuroleague Basketball is proud to announce that Marko Banic of Bizkaia Bilbao Basket has been chosen as the 2009-10 Eurocup MVP. In his fifth Eurocup season at age 25, Banic helped make Bilbao the only undefeated team in the regular season and the first to win its Last 16 group. Starting even before the season began, when Bilbao had to play its way into the Eurocup, Banic has been as dependable as anyone in the competition as a go-to presence in the paint. He finished by leading Bilbao, the team that made it through the first two rounds fastest, in total points, two-point shots and free throws made, offensive and defensive rebounds, and performance index rating. The stability that Banic provided became even more important as Bilbao experienced ups and downs outside the Eurocup, including a midseason coaching change. But on Tuesday nights, Banic and Bilbao were rock-solid, tying the competition record of 10 consecutive victories to start the season. Banic, who had been an All-Eurocup first team selection last season, Bilbao's first ever in European competition, ultimately led his team back to the semifinals, where they will play for the title at the Eurocup Finals in nearby Vitoria, Spain this weekend. In sum, his consistent performances combined with Bilbao's success in the competition made Marko Banic the outstanding player of the 2009-10 Eurocup season.

The Eurocup MVP is part of an awards structure meant to enhance the recognition of the finest Eurocup players for their efforts on the basketball court throughout the season. Banic's selection was made by a panel of Euroleague Basketball's in-house experts based on his and his team's performance during the Eurocup regular season, Last 16 and Quarterfinals rounds. Statistics and performance index ratings were taken into consideration for the award, but did not alone determine the winner. The award was previously given once, to Chuck Eidson of Lietuvos Rytas as the 2008-09 Eurocup MVP, and before that was won by the performance index rating leader at the end of each regular season.

Marko Banic - Bizkaia Bilbao BasketBanic dominated from the very beginning of this season, shining first in the Qualifying Round against BC Donetsk with 28 points on 10-for-10 two-point shooting in a second-leg victory that assured Bilbao's place in the Eurocup. Bilbao used its star player's momentum to roll into the Eurocup regular season. Banic posted incredible numbers in the opening three games, including road wins at Spirou Basket and Turk Telekom, in which he averaged 20.3 points by making 25-of-30 two-pointers and 11-of-11 free throws. Banic saw his playing time limited once Axel Hervelle joined the team, but still managed to stay productive. He averaged 12.3 points on 72.9% two-pointers in less than 20 minutes per night, leading Bilbao to win its first four Last 16 games and make clinching first place look easy. Banic was also Bilbao's leading scorer in a difficult Quarterfinal series against CEZ Nymburk that launched the team into its second consecutive semifinal. Banic finished the season ranking second among all Eurocup players in two-point percentage (68.9%) and 11th in free-throw accuracy (85.7%). On a per-minute basis, Banic was first in two-point shots made, eighth in both scoring and performance index rating.

Banic joins a list of 2009-10 award winners that includes the best players and coaches in the Eurocup this season. Victor Claver of Power Electronics Valencia was selected as the 2009-10 Eurocup Rising Star Trophy winner. Ilias Zouros of Panellinios BC was named Eurocup Coach of the Year. Nando de Colo and Matt Nielsen of Power Electronics, Devin Smith of Panellinios and Immanuel McElroy of Alba Berlin joined Banic on 2009-10 All-Eurocup First Team. The All-Eurocup second team features Arthur Lee of CEZ Nymburk, Kostas Charalampidis of Panellinios, Dijon Thompson of Hapoel, James Augustine of Gran Canaria 2014 and Blagota Sekulic of Alba Berlin The last of the awards, the Eurocup Finals MVP trophy, will go the best player at that event as voted by accredited journalists in attendance during the title game.