Awudu Abass was a heralded player in his youth. The swingman made his Turkish Airlines EuroLeague debut with Cantu as a teenager in 2012 and in the summer of 2013 was a member of the all-tournament team after leading Italy to the gold medal at the 2013 European U-20 Championship.
Since then, Abass has been a rotation player with three different clubs – three seasons with Cantu, two with AX Armani Exchange Milan and now a season and a half with Germani Brescia Leonessa. On Tuesday night, he was much more than that.
At the tail end of a defensive struggle in which the Promitheas Patras had wrested the momentum away from Brescia to lead 43-49 with 7 minutes remaining, Abass was ready. He had help as Tommaso Laquintana and Tyler Cain drew the hosts within 2 points. Then Abass took control.
First, he drove to the basket and drew a foul for a three-point play to put Brescia ahead. Then he went into the corner for a fadeaway baseline jumper. Promitheas called timeout, but that didn't cool off Abass, whose pull-up three-pointer capped a 12-0 run – in which he scored 8 – for a 55-49 lead. He answered Promitheas's next score with a jumper in traffic and with all eyes on him then dished to an open Luca Vitali for three. Abass wasn't done yet as he added one more triple to reach a career-high 19 points.
As impressive as his game was – only 5 missed shots, plus 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks for a season-high performance index rating of 24, what truly stood out with Abass was that he took charge in money time. He called for the ball and showed no fear in setting up his own shots.
Abass will turn 27 at the end of this month and is entering the prime of his career. Against Promitheas, he displayed a primetime performance. If he is able to step up as Brescia's closer going forward, Coach Vincenzo Esposito's side becomes a lot more dangerous.