EuroCup standouts: Eric Buckner

May 21, 2020 by Eurocupbasketball.com Print
EuroCup standouts: Eric Buckner

It took Eric Buckner a couple of 7DAYS EuroCup season to establish himself as one of the most reliable centers in the competition. In an era in which big men seem to put the ball on the floor and stretch defenses with their outside shooting, AS Monaco prefers the old-school approach with rock-solid centers who can score in the paint, rebound and intimidate. Elmedin Kikanovic was the team's leader the previous two seasons and has returned to the club recently and Buckner arrived midway through the 2018-19 campaign and this season has led the club to a first-place finish in its Top 16 group. Buckner ranks fourth in two-point shooting percentage (74.7%), 13th in rebounding (5.3 rpg.) and 10th in offensive boards (1.9 orpg.), all in less than 22 minutes per night.

Above all, his 2.13-meter height and great timing allow Buckner to finish above the rim more often than most centers. A great pick-and-roll player, Buckner has mastered the ability to roll and wait for the right moment to jump and complete the alley-oop, even in traffic. Buckner didn't miss a field goal attempt until his fourth EuroCup game this season, making his first 15 two-point shots of the campaign. By the end of the regular season, Buckner had made 44 of 55 two-point shots in all sorts of ways - alley-oop dunks, jump hooks, layups off pick-and-roll plays, mid-range jumpers and low post moves. His shooting percentage was a bit lower in the Top 16, but no player ever needed fewer attempts (139) to reach 100 two-pointers in EuroCup history. On defense, he is a good shot blocker due to his timing and athleticism, which also help him on the glass. Buckner's free-throw shooting percentage (51.7%, 30-of-58) remains his main weakness and one he will need to work hard on to be even more unstoppable around the rim.

Buckner knows his limits and rarely plays out of control. He is aware of his shooting range and has only tried one three-point shot in his EuroCup career. In over 350 professional games throughout his career all around the world, Buckner has taken 4 shots from downtown. That shows he is a very disciplined player, one who plays with great intensity at both ends. In 29 EuroCup career games with Monaco and ASVEL Villeurbanne, Buckner has never fouled out, averaging 9.3 points on 71.3% two-point shooting and 4.8 rebounds. Buckner has played most of his career in Turkey with Usak Universitesi, Istanbul BB, Turk Telekom Ankara and Demir Insaat, but also spent time in China with Henan Shedianlaojiu and in Greece with Aris Thessaloniki before joining ASVEL in 2018. Monaco fans know what to expect from Buckner going forward: strong performances, good defense and above-the-rim action as the club tries to reach high in the EuroCup.