By Eurohoops Team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
EuroLeague is not all about additions of well-experienced stars via the crazy summer transfer period, but will display its share of promising players as well. EuroLeague picked out the Top 10 Rising Stars expected to shine from the tip-off of the upcoming regular season.
Per EuroLeague: The Turkish Airlines EuroLeague has always been a breeding ground for future stars. At the end of each season, the head coaches vote on the young player who has impressed them the most and the winner is awarded the EuroLeague Rising Star Trophy. The list of past EuroLeague Rising Stars is riddled with future champions and All-EuroLeague champions, including the likes of Rudy Fernandez, Ricky Rubio, Nikola Mirotic, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Luka Doncic. Any player born after July 1, 1997, is a candidate to win the award this season. Here’s a look at 10 of the top candidates to join that list of winners at the end of this season!
10. Tarik Biberovic, Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul (2001)
After polishing his skills at Spars Ziraat Bank Sarajevo the last few seasons and showing his upside at the Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament, Biberovic joined Fenerbahce last season and already saw playing time with the Turkish powerhouse, totaling 47 minutes in eight games – including in both Final Four showdowns, Biberovic is a modern forward with great ballhandling ability who is able to help at point guard. He runs the floor very well and is in the right place to take the next step under a coaching legend who trusts him and role models like Kostas Sloukas and Gigi Datome to learn from. Keep an eye on him.
9. Usman Garuba, Real Madrid (2002)
The youngest player on this list, Garuba – and Mario Nakic – are set to be the next on a respectable list of Real’s top homegrown talents, Both of them are already full-time members of Los Blancos’ first-team roster. Garuba is a force of nature; he is tall, mobile and has a 2.20-meter wingspan. Garuba boasts strong low post skills and is developing his outside shooting, but still struggles from the foul line. A natural-born rebounder, Garuba possesses great instincts to power the glass, and Real knows how to develop young talent at the highest level.
8. Rokas Jokubaitis, Zalgiris Kaunas (2000)
He made his EuroLeague debut last season and is set to play a bigger role for Zalgiris in the future after re-signing with the Lithuanian champs for three more years. Jokubaitis has settled down and gained the trust of Coach Sarunas Jasikevicius and will likely be one of the main pillars of the Zalgiris team over the next years. As a young point guard, he has the chance to learn from ‘Saras’, one of the best European players at the spot ever. A left-handed, athletic playmaker with good penetration skills, Jokubaitis dominated at the junior levels and is ready to face tougher challenges.