By Antigoni Zachari / email@example.com
The thrill of a blocked shot is one of the most spectacular things in basketball. It’s the ultimate display of a team’s defensive resolve to go to great lengths when it counts the most. Boulogne Metropolitans 92 forward Maxime Roos not only caters this delight to the audience but has managed to make 7DAYS EuroCup history with his strong performances in the Top 16.
The 25-year-old Roos has registered 5 blocked shots in each of Metropolitans’ last two Top 16 games, in Round 2 against Partizan NIS Belgrade and Round 3 against Dolomiti Energia Trento, becoming just the ninth player in EuroCup history to record this number twice in the same season. And while centers are used to being in the spotlight of this statistical category, at 2.02 meters, Roos is the shortest of those nine players on the list, with the next in line being Stephane Lasme, a 2.03-meter center.
What Roos has accomplished in his last two games with the French side has never been done by any other player in the Top 16 Round, although Lasme split his two games with 5 blocks or more between the regular season and the Top 16 back in 2017-18. Notably, only Roos and Lasme have had at least 5 blocks twice in the same season since 2009. Tracing back, Robertas Javtokas was the first — and for years only — player to have counted at least 5 blocks in back-to-back regular-season games during his Rytas Vilnius run in 2003-04. In fact, he had 7 rejections in each of those games.
To put Roos’s achievement in perspective, there have been just 14 times in EuroCup’s 19 seasons that a player has recorded 5 blocks or more in a single Last 32, Top 16, quarterfinals, semifinals or finals game, and the French forward repeated the deed twice. With 2 blocks in the Top 16 opener against Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar, he is averaging 4.0 in this phase. Roos had just 7 blocks total, or 0.7 on average, in 10 regular-season games. Following these two games, his numbers have shot up to an average of 1.5 and a league-high 3.3 per 40 minutes.
Roos, in his fourth season with Metropolitans, saw his role change when the Top 16 arrived. After the departure of big man Assem Marei, who was one of the pillars of the French side in the regular season, head coach Jure Zdovc can use all the help he can get from Roos, who is averaging 28 minutes in the Top 16 as opposed to 15 in the regular season.
And he is delivering. Not only did Roos post career highs of 13 points and a 22 performance index rating against Partizan, but his blocks powered Metropolitans’ defense against the Serbian club. When center Miralem Halilovic was sidelined in Round 3 due to the birth of his daughter, Roos stepped up again in an overtime win vs. Trento, to prove that Metropolitans has such a competitive roster in which all players can lead even in the toughest of circumstances. This fact now has a deeper meaning for the club, as Metropolitans is one win away from returning to the quarterfinals of the competition. That could be as soon as its upcoming Round 4 rematch on Tuesday in Trento.
If that happens, Metropolitans will return to the quarterfinals for the first time since the 2014-15 season. The Paris side remains one of the three French teams to have made it through this stage, joined by ASVEL and Strasbourg. Its fellow French League club AS Monaco also reached the quarterfinals last season before they were canceled, but will likely have to battle Nanterre 92, another team from greater Paris, for that privilege this time.