By Eurohoops team/ email@example.com
Norris Cole, who led Avellino to the road win after a double overtime is the marquee name of the Basketball Champions League team of the week, which also includes a BCL champion and a BCL finalist. Here are the best five players of the first round.
Per the BCL press release:
Norris Cole, Guard
What happens when you add a two-time NBA championship-winning point guard to your roster? We’ll tell you what happens! You get a season-opening 34 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals in a 100-93 double-overtime triumph at Nizhny Novgorod. The 29-year-old, who won titles with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013, was Avellino’s marathon man, playing more than 46 minutes and finishing with a game-high efficiency rating of +28.
Kevin Punter, Guard
Talking about titles, Punters knows something about that. He was a big part of AEK’s run to Basketball Champions League glory last season in Athens. On Gameday 1, Punter logged more than 37 minutes for new club Segafredo Virtus Bologna and poured in 27 points on 9 of 17 shooting in an 83-78 come-from-behind victory at the Land Rover Arena over a battling Neptunas Klaipeda. The 1.90m shooting guard ended up bringing the ball up the floor a lot in this game for his team and had ZERO turnovers. His efficiency rating was +23.
Pako Cruz, Guard
Down 2 in Freak City against Brose Bamberg with just 2.2 seconds remaining, who you gonna call? Pako “ice running in his veins” Cruz! The Fuenlabrada star, who had scored 19 points, did his best Superman imitation, catching a pin-perfect inbound pass from Dan Clark and drilling a long game-winning 3-ball. Mexico international Cruz finished 8 of 13 from the floor, including 3 of 4 from deep. He was +20 on the efficiency meter.
Ali Traore, Center
Vincent Collet sure knows how to get the best out of a player that he’s had in his France national teams before. Back at Strasbourg for the second time in his career, Traore, who played for Monaco last season in the Basketball Champions League Final defeat to AEK, had 20 points on 10-of-12 shooting from the field in SIG’s 81-71 victory at Petrol Olimpija. The 33-year-old also had 5 rebounds and a block and ended up with a +25 efficiency. Not a bad output from a pivot that played less than 18 minutes!
Robin Benzing, Forward
Besiktas knew what they were doing when penning Germany national team captain Robin Benzing to a deal over the summer. The early return in the Basketball Champions League looks like this: 20 points on 7-11 shooting, 3 of 5 from downtown, 2 of 3 at the charity stripe, 4 rebounds, 1 block and a + 20 efficiency. Maybe playing in the familiar surrounds at medi Bayreuth had something to do with it? Benzing was big time for the Turkish club in their 78-70 season-opening win.