By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Rytas Vilnius center Martynas Echodas won the EuroCup 2018-2019 “Rising Star” trophy, the competition announced.
Per EuroCup Basketball:
Euroleague Basketball is proud to announce that Martynas Echodas of Rytas Vilnius has been chosen as the 2018-19 7DAYS EuroCup Rising Star Trophy recipient. Widely regarded as one of the top prospects in Europe at age 21, the Rytas big man was a big contributor in the club’s solid EuroCup season. The EuroCup Rising Star Trophy recognizes the most outstanding player in the competition who was younger than 22 years of age on July 1 of the summer before the season started. Echodas, who will turn 22 next July 7, helped Rytas reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 2012. Despite coming off the bench in 16 of his team’s 18 EuroCup games this season, Echodas was the second-best rebounder on his team, ranked third in scoring and third in performance index rating. On a per-minute basis, Echodas ranked 28th among all EuroCup players in scoring, 14th in rebounds and 18th in PIR.
The Rising Star Trophy is part of an expanded end-of-season awards structure launched before the 2008-09 season to enhance the recognition of the finest EuroCup players for their efforts on the basketball court. Apart from the EuroCup Rising Star, Euroleague Basketball and its in-house experts also select the EuroCup Coach of the Year, while fans add their help by voting for the All-EuroCup First and Second Teams and the EuroCup MVP. The EuroCup Finals MVP will be announced following the completion of the finals series.
Echodas, a 2.04-meter center, averaged 9.6 points and 5.1 rebounds in 18 EuroCup games this season. He hit 62.6% of his two-point shots, ranking 17th overall. He had a strong start to the season, scoring in double digits in six regular season games, including his second career double-double – 14 points, 11 rebounds – on the road against Fiat Turin for a PIR of 24. In Round 10, Echodas posted career highs of 24 points and 31 PIR, hitting 11-of-14 two-point shots to go with 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 steals. Only one EuroCup player this season made more two-pointers than Echodas on that night. Once in the Top 16, he kept rolling, averaging 11.3 points in the first three games despite averaging under 17 minutes in those games. His next double-digit scoring came in Game 2 of the best-of-three playoffs against Valencia Basket, when he had 11 points. Echodas has shown great aggressiveness, ranking fifth overall (4.6) in offensive rebounds per 40 minutes and 16th in blocks (1.3) per 40 minutes.
Born in Kaunas, Echodas dominated youth competitions before making his EuroCup debut with Rytas. He helped Zalgiris win the ANGT Kaunas qualifier in 2014 and 2015, earning MVP honors in his second appearance, with 22 points and 10.3 rebounds on average. Echodas also did well in the Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament in both years, averaging 17.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4 blocks in 2014, while earning all-tournament team honors. He averaged 15.3 points and 7.7 rebounds in 2015. He was also successful with the Lithuanian youth national teams, winning a bronze medal at the 2015 U18 European Championships, and a silver medal at the 2018 U20 European Championships. Echodas made his EuroCup debut last season, averaging 8.3 points and 4.5 rebounds in 16 games, and helped Rytas win the Lithuanian Cup trophy this season.
Echodas joins a select list of Rising Star trophy winners that also includes Victor Claver of Power Electronics Valencia, Milan Macvan of Hemofarm Vrsac, Donatas Motiejunas of Benetton Basket Bwin, Jonas Valanciunas of Lietuvos Rytas, two-time winner Bojan Dubljevic of Valencia Basket, Kristaps Porzingis of Baloncesto Seville, Mateusz Ponitka of Stelmet Zielona Gora, Rolands Smits of Montakit Fuenlabrada and last year’s winner, Dzanan Musa of Cedevita Zagreb.