By: Sam Meyerkopf / @euro_adventures
Holy Furkan Aldemir, we had quite a week for the Euroleague youngsters. It seems we have a solid pack of four players in real contention right now, with some sleepers settling down for cat naps at the moment. The biggest question still remaining is, when does Nikola Mirotic fully awaken? He’s seemed about a cup of coffee and a hot shower short all season, but this week he looked a little more caffeinated.
Hate to see you go: Dino Muric, Dragan Milosavljevic
Welcome (back) to the party: Furkan Aldemir, Nikola Mirotic
1. Milan Macvan, PF/C, Partizan Belgrade
Points: 14.8 Rebounds: 7.8 Assists: 2.3
Last Week: 1
For those who watched the Partizan vs. Real Madrid game, there isn’t much to say that you didn’t see on the court. Macvan looked like the best player on the floor at times and finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds, and hit all eight of his free throws. His addition to Partizan changed their entire season and turned them into a playoff contender. Macvan will need a decently sized slip-up to dethrone him from the top spot anytime soon, but wait—what’s that sound? Are those…footsteps?
2. Furkan Aldemir, PF, Galatasaray
Points: 8.5 Rebounds: 6.0 Assists: 0.8
Last Week: Unranked
Thud, thud, thud, slam. Aldemir’s back. Plain and simple, Furkan Aldemir was a boss last night. Anything he wanted to do, HE DID. Enraged by not being included in last week’s Rising Star Ranker, Aldemir took all his anger out on unsuspecting Union Ulimpija players. He dunked harder, ran faster, played tougher, and closed the game for Galatasaray, who got a much needed road victory. Furkey finished with 18 points, 11 boards, and was the source of Ratko Varda’s foul trouble. Just sit back and enjoy his work (WARNING: Deon Thompson fans might want to cover their eyes).
3. Tornike Shengelia, F, Belgacom Spirou
Points: 10.5 Rebounds: 6.3 Assists: 1.5
Last Week: 2
I hate to see Toko slide down to the three spot; it’s not like he’s playing badly. But with the uncontrolled rage Furkan Aldemir played with on Wednesday night, I’d be scared for my own life and the safety of my family if I didn’t at least put him back in the number two hole. Shengelia hasn’t been getting the minutes he deserves for the production he puts up, but sooner or later the Spirou coaches will give him his just due. Shengelia had seven points, five rebounds, and two assists versus Milano, but Spirou choked the game away late and ended up with the loss. Next week he’ll find himself hiking up Mount Sofo and chasing around Lior Eliyahu, neither of which will be easy. Good luck, young Toko.
4. Donatas Motiejunas, PF/C, Asseco Prokom
Points: 12.5 Rebounds: 6.0 Assists: 1.0
Last Week: 4
This is now downright hilarious. For the third week in a row Dunkin’ Donatas finds himself in the four slot. No matter what he does, good game or bad, he can’t shake the cuatro. Motiejunas did have his best game of the season this week putting in 19 points and 9 rebounds, but Asseco still lost. With Alonzo Gee texting his way out of the team, Donatas finally played with some real tenacity and aggressiveness, so I have to give him a pat on the back for that. But I’ll tell you what Donatas: until you can lead your troops to victory, you’re officially banished to the land of four. What was that? You’re on the road versus Siena next week, then at Galatasaray, and then Barcelona comes to Poland? This is the Euroleague. It’s supposed be tough. Don’t cry about it, do something about it. Daryl Morey is watching.
5. Nikola Mirotic, PF, Real Madrid
Points: 5.8 Rebounds: 2.3 Assists: 1.0
Last Week: Unranked
Mirotic finally got the playing time this week against Partizan, but nine points and four rebounds in 31 minutes in a loss does not impress me. The once deadly jumper just isn’t there right now and the rest of his offense has suffered. Mirotic gets a spot in the ranker this week only because of sub par performances by his would-be competition.
The problems go past Mirotic for Real Madrid, who is still having trouble finding their team identity. I wonder if Pablo Prigioni reads all those hand written notes Nikola sends to Vitoria or if Dusko Ivanovic has them wrapped up in a closet like Allie’s mom in The Notebook. And no, I never watched that movie. I just heard people talking about it.