EuroCup Stepping Stones: Thabo Sefolosha

Jul 31, 2020 by Print
EuroCup Stepping Stones: Thabo Sefolosha

Thabo Sefolosha has spent the vast majority of his professional career overseas with 14 seasons in the NBA. However, the Swiss-born defensive ace initially made a name for himself in the EuroCup. The Vevey native grew up with Blonay and began his professional career at age 17 with Swiss first-division side Riviera. After the season he moved to France to play for Elan Chalon, which is where he made his EuroCup debut.

EuroCup experience

Sefolosha played sparingly for Chalon during the 2002-03 season, which he finished with 5 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal in 20 minutes over four games. He took on a much bigger role the following year. Already in the team's opener, Sefolosha showed his versatility with 3 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocks against Ovarense. After 6 points and 6 rebounds in Round 2, he broke out in Round 3 at Queluz Sintra with 16 points, 13 rebounds and 3 steals for a performance index rating of 24. Sefolosha followed that up with an even more impressive showing: 20 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals and 3 blocks for a PIR of 34 against Valencia Basket. All told, Sefolosha averaged 10.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.5 blocks in 10 EuroCup games.

What came after

Sefolosha jumped from France to Italy for the 2005-06 season to play with Pallacanestro Biella and was worth 11.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.9 steals. His production in Europe until that point resulted in him being selected with the 13th pick in the 2006 NBA Draft. After two and a half seasons with Chicago, Sefolosha was traded to Oklahoma City in February 2009. There he saw a major increase in playing time and set career highs of 8.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.7 steals, 1.1 blocks and 31 minutes in 23 games. He played all 82 games in 2009-10 and earned a spot on the 2010 NBA All-Defensive 2nd Team.

During the summer of 2011, the NBA locked out its players and Sefolosha returned to Europe and signed for Fenerbahce Istanbul, with which he made his EuroLeague debut. In seven games, he averaged 11.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.1 steals, including 19 points against SLUC Nancy and 17 points and 12 rebounds versus Olympiacos. Sefolosha returned to the NBA after the lockout ended and helped Oklahoma City reach the 2012 NBA Finals, where it lost to Miami 4-1. He moved on to Atlanta in the 2014 off-season and played there three seasons. Next came two years in Utah and last season Sefolosha signed with Houston. He is now closing in on 5,000 career regular-season points and, including the playoffs, has played in nearly 1,000 NBA games and it all started when he drew the attention of scouts around the world with his versatile game in the EuroCup.