By Johnny Askounis/ email@example.com
Six youngsters were named as candidates for the 2022-23 EuroLeague Rising Star award.
Rokas Jokubaitis of FC Barcelona, Yam Madar and Alen Smailagic of Partizan Mozzart Bet, Nico Mannion of Virtus Segafredo Bologna, Jaime Pradilla of Valencia, and Gabriele Procida of ALBA Berlin made the cut, as presented on EuroleagueBasketball.net Thursday.
The recipient of the annual award usually moves on from the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague to the NBA but last season’s winner, Jokubaitis opted to stay with Barca for a second straight season. Over 24 games in the 2022-23 edition of Europe’s premier club continental competition, he is averaging 5.2 points and 2.2 assists per game. Beyond EuroLeague and the Catalonia giant, his NBA rights are controlled by the New York Knicks since picking him with the 34th overall selection of the 2021 draft.
Procida, 20, has emerged among the important players in the young squad of ALBA Berlin. After being selected with the 36th pick of the 2022 draft, his NBA rights were traded from the Portland Trail Blazers to the Detroit Pistons. Also moving his talents to Germany during the offseason, he is up to 5.9 points and 1.7 rebounds per game.
Partizan enjoys two players on the list, from Boston Celtics stash Madar to the former player of the Golden State Warriors Smailagic. Working under legendary coach Zeljko Obradovic, both are in good hands looking to help the Belgrade outfit clinch a berth in the Playoffs. Scoring averages are 6.0 and 4.1 points for the Israeli guard and Serbian forward, respectively.
Mannion, 21, another player with experience at the Warriors, has 5.4 points and 1.9 assists per game in his debut EuroLeague campaign after helping Virtus Bologna win 7DAYS EuroCup last season.
Pradilla, 22, has tallied 4.4 points and 2.4 rebounds per contest for the Oranges coming off the EuroBasket championship with Spain last summer.
Similar to the Rising Star candidates, the shortlists for the Best Defender and Top Scorer were revealed earlier this week.
Photo Credit: EuroleagueBasketball.net