Eurocup Top 10 - A Decade of Eurocup Greats: The Top Players!

Jun 20, 2012 by Print
10 years EurocupIn a full decade of great Eurocup basketball, many players have had solid careers and made their mark on the competition. Indeed, a Top 20 list of the best could have easily be done with former winners, former Eurocup MVPs and other players who impacted in the competition, like Corey Brewer, Stefan Markovic, Chuck Eidson, Michael Wright, Mario Austin, Lazaros Papadopoulos, Maciej Lampe and Antonis Fotsis, just to name a few. This Top 10 list of the very best players since 2003 takes into consideration those with long careers in the Eurocup and their achievements in the competition, not only individually, but with their respective teams. The list includes multiple winners, stats leaders and above all, those players who have been ongoing Eurocup superstars over the decade since the competition started.

10.- Tariq Kirksay (Sluc Nancy, Unics, Cajasol Sevilla)
Tariq Kirksay - Unics KazanAn all-around player able to help his teams in many ways, Tariq Kirksay has had a great impact in the competition. His Eurocup debut came with Sluc Nancy in 2006-07, when he became the competition's best rebounder (9.6 rpg.). He helped Unics to reach the Final Eight in 2007-08, averaging 13.8 points, 9 rebounds and 20.5 in performance index ranking. Kirksay did even better with Cajasol Sevilla in 2010-11, earning All-Eurocup first team honors and making it to the title game. He ranks second all-time in total rebounds (406), third in steals (115) and fourth in index rating (962) – all in just 51 Eurocup showdowns!

9.- Marko Banic (KK Zadar, Bilbao Basket)
Now a well-known player in Europe, power forward Marko Banic has played five Eurocup seasons, including the original one back in 2002-03. By 2003-04, Banic was already a regular started with Zadar in his native Croatia, and in 2004-05, at age 21, he averaged 17.1 points on 70.9% two-point shooting. He returned to the Eurocup with Bilbao of Spain, reaching the semifinals in 2008-09 and 2009-10. Banic was named the 2009-10 Eurocup MVP and was chosen to the All-Eurocup first team twice. Banic owns the Eurocup’s highest two-point shooting accuracy all-time (69.2%) and the third-most two-point shots made.

8.- Todor Stoykov (Lukoil Academic)
Todor Stoykov - Lukoil AcademicIt is tough to picture Lukoil Academic in the Eurocup without the club’s homegrown scoring machine, Todor Stoykov. A shooting threat from all distances, Stoykov was the first player to register a triple-double in the Eurocup, amassing 33 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists against Zagreb in the first game he ever played in the competition. Stoykov is also the competition's all-time scoring leader with 1,102 points in 72 games. He is also first in minutes played (2,364), three-pointers made (169), fouls drawn (305) and free throws made (326), as well as ranking third in assists (190).

7.- Rudy Fernandez (DKV Joventut)
A young veteran with 48 Eurocup games on his back, Rudy Fernandez played his first game in the competition at the early age of 17. By 2003-04, Fernandez was already a full-time starter, helping DKV Joventut to reach the quarterfinals. For his fourth season in the competition, right after being chosen as the 2006-07 Euroleague Rising Star, Fernandez came ready to make Joventut reach bigger heights in the 2007-08 ULEB Cup. He averaged 15.2 points on 94.1% free throws and 3.7 assists in 14 games, helped Joventut to lift the trophy and earned Finals MVP honors despite battling a shoulder injury.

6.- Felipe Reyes (Asefa Estudiantes, Real Madrid)
Felipe Reyes - Real Madrid  - UC Final 2007One of the biggest stars in the early days of the competition, Felipe Reyes still ranks fourth in the all-time rebounds list with 368 boards. Reyes averaged 13.6 points and 8.2 rebounds in the original 2002-03 ULEB Cup season, leading Estudiantes to the semifinals. Estudiantes returned to the semifinals in 2003-04 and Reyes left to Real Madrid the following summer. He returned to the competition as a world champion in 2006-07, helping Madrid to conquer the Eurocup title. Reyes averaged 22.5 points and 12 rebounds in the semifinals against Unics and had 16 points and 8 rebounds in the title game against Lietuvos Rytas.

5.- Andre Riddick (Spirou Charleroi)
A defensive wall like no other in competition history, Andre Riddick has intimidated opponents and made players change shots against his long arms throughout the decade. In fact, Riddick leads the Eurocup in all three major defensive statistical categories: as its all-time career leader in rebounds (450), steals (146) and above all, blocks. Riddick has 145 blocks, almost double the second-place shotblocker (Robertas Javtokas with 86). His longevity (77 Eurocup games in 7 seasons) and defensive efforts allow Riddick to rank sixth on the all-time performance index rating list (946).

4.- Robertas Javtokas (Lietuvos Rytas, Dynamo Moscow)
Robertas Javtokas - Lietuvos Rytas - ULEB Cup final 2004-05A great defensive big man with size and athleticism, Robertas Javtokas was the star who led Lietuvos Rytas of Lithuania to the club’s first continental trophy not long after returning from a life-threatening motorcycle accident. Javtokas had a solid ULEB Cup debut, averaging 10 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in 2003-04, when L. Rytas reached the quarterfinals. A year later, the club did even better, going all the way to the 2004-05 ULEB Cup title. L. Rytas edged Alfa Makedonikos 78-74 behind 14 points from Javtokas, who earned MVP honors in the title game. Javtokas also had two solid Eurocup seasons with Dynamo, reaching the semifinals in 2007-08 and the Final Eight in 2008-09. He is third in the all-time rebounds list (397) and third in blocks (86).

3.- Mire Chatman (BK Ventspils, Dynamo Moscow, BC Triumph, Besiktas Cola Turka)
Six Eurocup seasons with four different teams have allowed playmaker Mire Chatman to consistently showcase his many skills. Chatman played the 2003-04 ULEB Cup with Ventspils, helping his team to reach the elimination rounds. Chatman joined Dynamo in 2005-06 and led his team to win its last seven games, all the way to the title, while he averaged 21.4 points in the elimination rounds and the final. Chatman also played the Eurocup with BC Triumph and Besiktas and is the competition’s career performance index ranking leader (1,048). He also ranks second in steals (128), third in scoring (906) and fourth in assists (188). He had the third single-best scoring night (43 points) and the second-best overall performance (53 index rating against Hemofarm in 2010-11) in Eurocup history.

2.- Matt Nielsen (PAOK BC, Lietuvos Rytas, Valencia Basket, BC Khimki)
With an impact that reached well beyond his numbers, Matt Nielsen has been a winner almost everywhere he has played. His toughness and passing skills are unique for a power forward. Nielsen made his ULEB Cup debut with PAOK BC in 2004-05 and returned to the competition with Lietuvos Rytas, reaching the title game against Real Madrid in 2007. Nielsen kept doing well, making it to the Final Eight with Valencia Basket in 2008-09. It all paid off in 2009-10, as Nielsen led Valencia to the title, downing Alba Berlin 44-67 in a great defensive effort. He was named Finals MVP for his leadership in that game. Far from being done, Nielsen added a second Eurocup title with Khimki last season and at 346 boards, is the fifth rebounder in competition history

1.- Kelly McCarty (Hapoel Migdal Jerusalem, BC Khimki, Unics)
Kelly McCarty lifts the Eurocup trophyThere are plenty of reasons to choose Kelly McCarty as this decade's top Eurocup player. First, he won two Eurocup titles in different scenarios. He led Hapoel to the 2004 ULEB Cup title, scoring 22 points in the final against Real Madrid to earn MVP honors. McCarty did it again with Unics in 2011, as his team beat Cajasol Sevilla 92-77 in the title game, in which he had 18 points. He reached another final with Khimki in 2009, in which his 20 points were not enough. McCarty was named to the 2008-09 All-Eurocup First Team and to the 2010-11 Eurocup All-Second Team, too. He also has the numbers to prove his many achievements, ranking second all-time in performance index ranking (1,034) and second in scoring (915). McCarty spent the prime of his career in the competition, and proved himself by his special accomplishments.