By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The 2018-19 7DAYS EuroCup season has been one to savor, with so many quality teams producing great basketball. Just before the last teams standing, ALBA Berlin and Valencia Basket, clash for EuroCup glory is a great time to salute the individuals that made this campaign such a great one. The five members of the All-EuroCup Second Team each played a big role in their respective teams reaching the EuroCup Quarterfinals. The list features new faces including two – Dylan Ennis of Morabanc Andorra and Mathias Lessort of Unicaja Malaga – who made their EuroCup debuts this season. Rounding out the list are three vets who had never before been awarded such an honor: 2014 EuroCup champion Sam Van Rossom of Valencia Basket, EuroCup Regular Season MVP Pierria Henry of UNICS Kazan and Miro Bilan of LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne. For the third consecutive season, the All-EuroCup teams were chosen based on a result of voting by both the fans and Euroleague Basketball’s panel of experts. Earlier in the week, Martynas Echodas of Rytas Vilnius was announced as the winner of this season’s 7DAYS EuroCup Rising Star Trophy and Aito Garcia Reneses of ALBA Berlin was named 7DAYS EuroCup Coach of the Year. Still to be revealed are the identities of the 2017-18 All-7DAYS EuroCup First Team and the season’s 7DAYS EuroCup MVP.
Pierria Henry, UNICS Kazan
The do-it-all point guard for UNICS Kazan, Pierria Henry took the competition by storm this season by dominating the regular season. Henry was named the EuroCup Regular Season MVP after leading UNICS to a share of the best record in that phase. In those 10 games, he posted an average performance index rating of 19.4, which was the highest among all players whose teams reached the Top 16. For the season, Henry ranked among the EuroCup’s top 10 in assists (5.3 apg.) and steals (1.5 spg.) and was one of the best rebounding guards in the competition (4.0 rpg.), too. He led UNICS in minutes played (26:39 per game), assists and steals, was second in rebounds and fourth in scoring (10.4 ppg.). Among his best games of the season, Henry flirted with a triple-double against Fiat Turin in Round 8 of the regular season before settling for 13 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists and later sparked his team to victory in the quarterfinals opener against Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar with 18 points and 9 assists.
Sam Van Rossom, Valencia Basket
At age 32, playmaker Sam Van Rossom has produced his greatest season to date and has been a major cog in Valencia Basket’s charge for what could be the club’s fourth EuroCup crown and the player’s second. Van Rossom has been a pillar for Valencia; he is second on the team in minutes played (22:14), leads the team in assists (4.9 apg.) and steals (0.9 spg.), third in average performance index rating (12.9) and fifth in scoring (9.1 ppg.), while shooting 43.5% on three-pointers. His assist average is seventh-best in the EuroCup this season. In his seventh EuroCup campaign – and fifth with Valencia, Van Rossom achieved a few career milestones by cracking the career top 10 in assists (310, ninth) and the top 20 in three-pointers (128, 19th). Among his best games this season, Van Rossom recorded 20 points on 6-of-10 three-point shooting plus 5 assists against Partizan NIS in the Serbian capital in a road win in Round 8 and helped seal Valencia’s passage to the EuroCup Finals as MVP of Semifinals Game 2 after leading Valencia to a series sweep with 15 points, 3 assists and 2 steals at UNICS Kazan.
Dylan Ennis, Morabanc Andorra
A EuroCup rookie, Dylan Ennis was a driving force behind the greatest season in Morabanc Andorra history. Ennis was the top scorer for the semifinalists with 12.2 points per game and ranked second on the team in average performance index rating (12.2), rebounds (3.9 rpg.), assists (3.5 apg.), steals (1.4 spg.) and minutes played (25:38). A native of Canada, Ennis first arrived in Europe in 2017 and made his Turkish Airlines EuroLeague debut that season with Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade. He played a key role in nearly all of MoraBanc’s biggest wins this season; Ennis tallied 12 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists in a key regular-season victory over Galatasaray, opened the Top 16 with 15 points and 9 rebounds to lead his team to an important road win at Cedevita Zagreb and starred with 15 points, 6 boards and 3 steals in a season-saving triumph over LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne for which he earned the title of MVP of Quarterfinals Game 2.
Mathias Lessort, Unicaja Malaga
Unicaja Malaga center Mathias Lessort earned a spot on the All-EuroCup team in his very first season in the competition by dominating the paint at both ends. Lessort led the competition in blocked shots this season with 1.32 per game, was third in two-point shooting accuracy (70.1%) and fifth in average performance index rating (16.6). He also led Unicaja in rebounding (5.4 rpg.) and steals (0.9 spg.) and was third in scoring (11.0 ppg.). Lessort seemed to only get better as the season progressed with his scoring and PIR increasing from the regular season (9.5 ppg. and 13.0 PIR) to the Top 16 (11.2 ppg. and 18.7 PIR) to the quarterfinals (15.7 ppg. and 24.7 PIR). He led the quarterfinals in PIR and was fourth in scoring with 15.7 points n 80.0% shooting. Lessort’s best game was 18 points on near-perfect shooting plus 7 rebounds and 2 blocks in a road win at ALBA Berlin in Game 1 of the quarterfinals. He was nearly as good in Game 3, but Unicaja fell and was eliminated. Lessort also posted a double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds) against this season’s other EuroCup Finalist, Valencia Basket, in the Top 16 opener.
Miro Bilan, LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne
Old-school center Miro Bilan signed for LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne over the summer and helped lead the team to the EuroCup Quarterfinals for the first time in more than a decade. Bilan ranked fifth in the EuroCup this season in rebounds with 6.2 per game and was second on his team in both performance index rating (11.7) and scoring (10.6 ppg.). He raised his output in the quarterfinals to 13.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and a PIR of 16.3 as his team fell in three games to MoraBanc Andorra. Though he played four previous EuroCup campaigns with Cedevita Zagreb of his native Croatia, Bilan set single-game career-highs in nearly every major statistical category this season. The 29-year-old posted three double-doubles on the season and had his best game in Round 8 of the regular season in a road win at Turk Telekom Ankara with 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting plus 7 rebounds and 2 blocks for a PIR of 33. Bilan was a bright spot for ASVEL to the end; he led the team with 19 points and 8 rebounds in Game 3 of the quarterfinals before his team bowed out.