EuroCup Star Turn: Amar'e Stoudemire

Jul 20, 2020 by Print
EuroCup Star Turn: Amar'e Stoudemire

One of the most recognizable players in basketball in the first decade of the millennium, Amar'e Stoudemire not only became a shareholder at Hapoel Jerusalem, but he later decided to play basketball for the team. He made the business move in 2013 while he was still playing in the NBA and signed with Hapoel before the start of the 2016-17 season. Still going at age 37, Stoudemire only played one season in the 7DAYS EuroCup, but had a very good run.

What came before

Stoudemire went to the NBA straight from high school and was chosen with the ninth pick in the 2002 NBA Draft by Phoenix. He immediately delivered, averaging 13.5 points and 8.8 rebounds to earn 2002-03 NBA Rookie of the Year honors over Yao Ming. Stoudemire became the first player drafted out of high school to win the award. In his third NBA season, Stoudemire boosted his numbers to 26.0 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 80 games to gain the first of his six NBA All-Star nods. He was also chosen to the All-NBA Second Team for the first time at the end of that season.

Despite missing most of the 2005-06 season due to a knee injury, Stoudemire remained one of the best power forwards in basketball. He was picked to the All-NBA First Team in 2007 and to the second team in 2008 and 2010 as he helped turn Phoenix into an NBA contender. Phoenix, however, lost three times in the NBA Western Conference Finals - against San Antonio in 2005, Dallas in 2006, and L.A. Lakers in 2010. At the end of the 2009-10 season, Stoudemire opted out of his contract to sign a five-year contract with New York. He averaged 25.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in his first season with the Knicks and was named to the All-NBA Second Team for the fourth time in his career, but his numbers started to go down after that and New York never got past the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Stoudemire also played for Dallas and Miami before finishing his NBA career in 2016. He amassed 15,994 points (18.9 ppg.), 6,632 rebounds (7.8 rpg.) and 1.054 blocks (1.2 bpg.) in 846 NBA regular-season career games. Stoudemire also took part in 78 playoffs games, in which he was worth 18.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks.

EuroCup experience

Stoudemire joined Jerusalem before the start of the 2016-17 season and made his EuroCup debut against Valencia Basket on October 19, 2016. He had a double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds) and helped Jerusalem get a rare road win at La Fonteta, 77-81. Stoudemire would record another double-double (16 points, 11 rebounds) against ratiopharm Ulm and helped Jerusalem qualify for the Top 16 with a 5-3 record after averaging 11.0 points and 6.4 rebounds in eight games. Stoudemire led Jerusalem to a first-place finish in its Top 16 group (5-1) with some excellent individual performances; he posted 22 and 26 points against Zenit St Petersburg, 19 against Nizhny Novgorod, and another double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds) against Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius. Stoudemire averaged 15.2 points and 6.8 rebounds in six Top 16 showdowns to send Jerusalem to the playoffs with the home-court advantage.

Jerusalem swept its quarterfinals series against Herbalife Gran Canaria; it won 87-67 at home and 79-85 in Spain. Stoudemire tallied 14.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in that series. Valencia was its next opponent and Jerusalem returned to La Fonteta for Game 1 of the best-of-three series. Valencia won the opener 83-68, but Jerusalem bounced back in the Israeli capital to win 79-66. In the do-or-die Game 3, Stoudemire had 17 points but could not prevent his team from losing. Valencia recorded a 90-75 win and qualified to the EuroCup Finals. Stoudemire was chosen to the 2016-17 All-EuroCup Second Team after ranking second in blocks (1.2 bpg.), fifth in rebounds (6.6 rpg.), and averaging 12.8 points and PIR of 15.4. Stoudamire helped lead Jerusalem further than it had gone in the EuroCup since 2006.

What came after

Stoudemire helped Jerusalem to win its second Israeli League title in 2017 after downing Maccabi Haifa 76-83 in the championship game. He also played for Jerusalem in the 2018-19 campaign and captured the Israeli State Cup trophy before moving on to play for Fujian Sturgeons of China, where early in the 2019-20 season he averaged 19.4 points and 8.3 rebounds in 11 games. After that, Stoudemire joined Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv and made his EuroLeague debut at age 37.