By Antonis Stroggylakis/ email@example.com
ANTWERP– Paris Lee was carrying a shiny award with the Basketball Champions League logo on his hands while several people were approaching him to take some photos.
He’s something sort of a local hero after all. The player who led Telenet Antwerp Giants to the unprecedented achievement of making the Final Four of a European competition.
Lee, 24, averaged 13.7 points, 5.0 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game prior to the Final Four. Numbers that earned him a well-deserved spot in the BCL Star Lineup Second Team. The silverware we mentioned above.
“It means a lot to me man,” Lee told Eurohoops. “I wish I was on the First Team of course. Just some extra motivation to come and work even harder next season. Come back even stronger.”
Lee’s production and the overall impact he had in his team’s game could make a strong case for the First Team indeed. But there was a specific someone that had just “locked” the point guard position.
“Well, you got a guy like Tyrese Rice on the First Team. He’s a legend,” Lee said. Rice had just been named season MVP apart from earning a spot in the Star Lineup First Team.
Lee has several things in common with Rice. They are both left-handed, high-motored guards and they both began their professional careers in Europe at 22 years of age.
“I tip my hat to him,” Lee added.
Following the semifinal loss to Iberostar Tenerife, Lee was visibly quite upset. “I haven’t been like this since I was a child. It hurts,” the American guard told reporters few moments after the game.
“I’m a little better now,” Lee said to Eurohoops during Saturday’s award ceremony. “You might dwell on it the same night with those type of games. But the next day, you just got to let go.”
After all, Lee and the Giants’ job is not done yet. They want to bid farewell to their fans with a win in the third-place game against Rice’s Brose Bamberg.
“We got to win it. We just have to.”
For Lee it’s kind of personal to finish the BCL season on a high note since he felt disappointed for the way he performed in the semifinal. “I wasn’t a leader out there. They took me out of the game,” he mentioned after that match.
Despite the loss, the season for Lee and the Antwerp Giants was definitely a success. We’re talking about the youngest squad in the competition with an average of 23 years. Yet despite their inexperience and the young of their age, they made it to the Top 4 of the BCL.
“We showed everybody in Europe that the youngsters can play,” Lee commented.