In basketball, EuroLeague players’ statistics are not emphasized as much as, for example, the NBA, but this does not mean that the strongest club series in the Old World has not seen strong individual performances. Some of the top scores will most likely stick around either forever or at least for a very long time.
Before we turn to the records, it should be mentioned that in the following article, the top achievements of today’s Euroleague, that is, the fantastic performances that have been made since the 2000/2001 season, will be the focus of our attention.
Over the past two years, the EuroLeague has only seen one player manage to grab at least 20 rebounds in a game. That honor belongs to the Lithuanian Donatas Motiejunas, currently representing Monaco, who grabbed 21 rebounds against Olimpija Ljubljana in 2011 while representing the Polish club Asseco Prokom. However, the EuroLeague record belongs to Antonis Fotsis, who wore Dinamo Moscow’s shirt at the time and had 24 rebounds against Treviso Benetton in 2007.
Highlights of Fotsis’ EuroLeague career:
Jeff Trepagnier’s name probably doesn’t mean much to basketball fans, but in 2006, the American made 11 steals against Partizan Belgrade. In the last nine years, Yogev Ohayon has come closest to him – he caught eight balls against Limoges.
If Trepagnier is a relatively infamous basketball player for Europeans, the same cannot be said about Stojko Vranković. In the 1990s, the 218 cm tall Croatian was one of the best centers in the Old World, was crowned Euroleague champion with Panathinaikos of Athens in 1996, and represented three NBA clubs during his career.
The president (until last year) of the Croatian Basketball Association, holds the EuroLeague single-game block record, when in 2001 he blocked ten opponents’ shots against his home country’s club Zagreb, Cibona. By the way, in the 1996 final, he swept away José Antonio Montero’s close-range shot in the last second of the game, which would have otherwise brought the title to Barcelona.
Vranković’s block against Montero:
In most European leagues, including the EuroLeague, the Performance Index Rating or PIR is used to reflect a player’s efficiency. A plus point is rewarded for every point, assist, rebound, steal, mistake to the player and block. A minus point is given for each turnover, mistake, blocked shot and missed shot.
This top mark also belongs to Tanoka Beard, who also earned his keep at the University of Tartu/Rock in Estonia, and who scored 63 PIR against Bologna Skipper in 2004, representing Kaunas Žalgiris. The powerful American “treated” the Italian team to 35 points, 19 rebounds, two steals and a block, and 11 mistakes were made against him. Beard missed three shots – but hit 13/13 free throws, for example! – and made three mistakes.
Beard excelling against Bologna:
The enormity of Beard’s achievement is illustrated by the fact that only three men have had a PIR over 50 in the past decade: Bobby Brown (50), Mike James (51) and Shane Larkin (53). Let it be said that the latter scored 49 points in that match against Bayern Munich, which is the highest mark in today’s EuroLeague.
In modern basketball, three-point shots are much more important than two-point shots. Twenty years ago, however, it was a different story, and classic under-the-basket powers were highly valued. Among them was Kaspars Kambala.
Later, the Latvian, who also took up boxing later, made 28 two-point shots against Barcelona in 2002, of which he hit 18. Both are the top marks of the EuroLeague.
Kambala showing what he’s got, against Barcelona:
Full season records
Today’s basketball is also characterized by a much more even distribution of playing minutes. Yes, even now in the EuroLeague there are iron men in the form of Tadas Sedekerskis and Nigel Hayes-Davis, who don’t seem to need rest, but during the season, they don’t spend 39 or 40 minutes on the field per game, because there are simply so many matches and the teams are deeper than before.
In the 2000/01 season, the American Dereck Hamilton earned his keep in the ranks of Spartak St. Petersburg, and his average number of playing minutes in the season was 38 minutes and 35 seconds. In the “worst” case, he was on the field for “only” 34 minutes.
Many have probably heard of the Alphonso Ford Award. It is named in honor of the scoring machine who died of leukemia at the age of 32 but who averaged 26 points per game for Perister in the 2000/01 season. Of course, it is a EuroLeague record!
Alphonso Ford highlights in the EuroLeague:
Currently, the award goes to the player who averages the most points before the final tournament, and after the 2000/01 season, both Miloš Vujanić (25.8) and Lynn Greer (25.1) threatened Ford’s top mark. Since then, however, such high averages have not been seen, because, since the 2004/05 season, Marc Salyers, Keith Langford and Aleksei Šved (21.8) have been at the top of the table.
Mirsad Türkcan, who was born in Serbia but represented Turkey on the international stage, collected 12.8 rebounds per game in the shirt of CSKA Moscow in the 2001/02 season. Since 2000, only five other men have had at least ten rebounds per game besides him: Tanoka Beard, Arvydas Sabonis, Boban Marjanović, Dejan Tomašević and Joseph Blair. In recent years, the average catch of the best rebounder has clearly remained below ten, it has been a little less than ten years since Marjanović’s 10.7 rebounds per game.
Mirsad Türkcan’s highlights in the EuroLeague:
Finally, one apparently unbreakable record from last season. Maccabi Tel Aviv manager John DiBartolomeo missed just one of 56 free throws meaning his percentage was 98.21. It’s hard to see anyone throwing a better percentage than that in one season!