By Eurohoops team / firstname.lastname@example.org
A few days prior to the 7DAYS EuroCup finals, Luke Sikma was named the MVP of the current campaign for his great effort leading the team to the competition’s finals!
Sikma was chosen after the votes, which combined fan voting as well as the ballots from Euroleague Basketball’s in-house experts, were tallied. Sikma has excellent credentials to claim the award. He enters the finals as the EuroCup leader in accumulated performance index rating (363) and is third in average PIR (17.3). Sikma ranks third in rebounds per game (6.6 rpg.) and leads all frontcourt players with 4.3 assists per game, which is 11th overall. He is also tied for sixth in steals at 1.62 per night. Sikma played all 21 EuroCup games for ALBA until now, leading his team to a club-best 16-5 record, a first-place finish in the Top 16 and home-court advantage in both the EuroCup Quarterfinals and Semifinals.
Sikma is the 11th winner of the award, which was first introduced prior to the 2008-09 season. He succeeds last season’s winner, Scottie Wilbekin of Darussafaka Istanbul. The list of previous EuroCup MVPs includes Alexey Shved of Khimki Moscow Region in 2017, Errick McCollum of Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul in 2016, Tyrese Rice of Khimki in 2015, Andrew Goudelock of UNICS Kazan in 2014, Nick Calathes of Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar in 2013, Patrick Beverley of Spartak St. Petersburg in 2012, Dontaye Draper of Cedevita Zagreb in 2011, Marko Banic of Bizkaia Bilbao Basket in 2010 and Chuck Eidson of Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius in 2009.
When ALBA suffered through a series of injuries, particularly in the backcourt, Sikma stood tall to lead his team through thick and thin. He scored in double digits 12 times, pulled down at least 7 rebounds 10 times and dished 5 assists or more 10 times, which is only a sampling of how much his all-around contributions and versatility meant to the team. Sikma has been a consistent threat from beyond the arc (41.9% 3FG) and brought out his best in the Top 16, when he boosted his numbers to 11.8 points, 7.0 rebounds and 6.2 assists in leading ALBA to a first-place finish in its group and setting the stage for a great playoffs run.
Sikma had some memorable games this season. He scored 18 points with just 1 missed shot, 9 rebounds and 4 assists as ALBA bested Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar in regular season Round 5. He flirted with a triple-double three times; Sikma went for 19 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists against Rytas Vilnius to earn Top 16 Round 3 MVP honors. He posted 8 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists against Partizan NIS Belgrade in Top 16 Round 6. And, most remarkably, he tallied 20 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists in Game 1 of the semifinals against MoraBanc Andorra.
Sikma, 29, is the son of NBA legend Jack Sikma. After a four-year stay at the University of Portland, Sikma started his professional career in Spain with La Palma and Autocid Ford Burgos in the Spanish second division. He also played for Iberostar Tenerife and Valencia Basket in the top Spanish division. Sikma helped Valencia reach the EuroCup Finals and the Spanish Copa del Rey final and win the Spanish League title in 2017.