The big prize that the teams involved with the Final Four are looking for is the Euroleague Championship title, but this major event provides a chance for some of the star names of the Euroleague to be acknowledged and recognised. On Thursday night, the night before the action gets underway; there will be a big award show where the Euroleague gets to relax before the big basketball action comes to the fore again.
Euroleague Rising Star Trophy: Bogdan Bogdanovic of Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul
For the second campaign in a row, Bogdan Bogdanovic from Fenerbahce has been named the Euroleague Rising Star Trophy. The award is available for players who are under 22 years old on the 1st of July before the season starts.
Bogdanovic started the most amount of games for the Turkish team and he was second highest with respect to the amount of minutes he clocked up on the court. Bogdanovic won the award last season while playing for Partizan NIS Belgrade, and he now joins Nikola Mirotic in winning the award twice. Mirotic won the award in 2011 and in 2012.
His unique combination of basketball skills and scoring ability together with maturity and poise have led Turkish Airlines Euroleague head coaches to vote Bogdan Bogdanovic of Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul as the Euroleague Rising Star Trophy winner for the second season in a row. The Rising Star Trophy recognizes the best Euroleague player each season who was under the age of 22 on July 1 of the summer before the season started. No Fenerbahce player started more games than the 22-year-old Bogdanovic and only one played more minutes than the savvy guard, whose 289 points scored led all Rising Star Trophy-eligible players this season. Having won the award also last season, when he played for Partizan NIS Belgrade, Bogdanovic joins Nikola Mirotic, who did so in 2011 and 2012 with Real Madrid, as the only players to win the Rising Star Trophy twice. Bogdanovic is also the first Fenerbahce player to win the award.
Bogdanovic was the MVP of the week when he grabbed 25 points and 4 assists in a 98-77 win over EA7 Emporio Armani Milan. The player also managed an average of 2.7 assists per game, an average of 10.7 points per game and he made 46 three point shots over the course of the campaign.
Some of the big name players who have won this award include Rudy Fernandez, who won in 2007 and Danilo Gallinari who won in 2008. Bogdanovic will receive his award at the Tip-Off event in Madrid on Thursday the 14th of May, with the event taking place at Casa de Correos.
Best Defender Trophy: Bryant Dunston of Olympiacos Piraeus
There is a touch of deja-vu in the Best Defender Trophy award as well because this is the second season in a row when Bryant Dunston of Olympiacos Piraeus has won the award. The Olympiacos defence has been in immense form this season and it would be fair to say that Dunston has had a big role to play in this form.
One of the most impressive parts of the season for Dunston can be seen in the performance rating index of some of the stars when they came up against him. Ante Tomic from Barcelona, Nenad Krstic of Anadolu Efes Istanbul and Sasha Kaun of CSKA Moscow all obtained a lower rating than usual when they came up against Dunston. The player is now only the second player to have won this award more than once, although he has some way to go to catch up with the record of Dimitris Diamtidis, who has won it six times!