By: Sam Meyerkopf / @euro_adventures
As we head into week seven of Euroleague action some notable names continue to fly up the list. We’ve got one new addition who is starting to make a name for himself and a well known prospect who has finally put all of his talent and skills together. With four weeks left of the regular season, many of these Rising Star candidates are going to have to will their teams to more wins if they want to stay in the race.
Hate to see you go: Furkan Aldemir
Welcome to the party: Danilo Andjusic
1. Donatas Motiejunas, PF/C, Asseco Prokom
Points: 16.3 Rebounds: 7.2 Assists: 1.0
Last Week: 4
He’s worked too hard recently, so it had to be done, Donatas welcome to the number one spot. I’m going back on my word here. I said I wouldn’t take Donatas out of the four hole until Asseco Prokom won a game. While they’ve come close, that elusive first win still escapes Asseco, but by no fault of Motiejunas. He’s been an attacking monster these last couple of weeks, posting 26 points and 9 boards one week and 22 and 10 the next. It remains to be seen whether the Rockets want to bring over Donatas this season, but if he stays in Europe, it looks like the Dunking Donatas has finally hit his stride.
2. Milan Macvan, PF/C, Partizan Belgrade
Points: 15.3 Rebounds: 7.8 Assists: 2.2
Last Week: 1
It’s close, but Milan it’s not about you, it’s about Donatas. You’ve been playing great, but he’s been just a few steps better recently. Macvan is having an All-Euroleague type season so far, and with Nikola Pekovic shipping back off to the NBA in the next couple weeks, even more of the work load will be on Macvan. He’s going to receive a lot more double teams and won’t have Pek to take any of the inside heat off of him. For now Macvan rests at the number two slot, but let’s see how he survives in a post-Pekovic world.
3. Nikola M irotic, PF, Real Madrid
Points: 8.7 Rebounds: 2.7 Assists: 1.0
Last Week: 5
About time Nikola. We’ve been waiting weeks for you to get into Rising Star form. The past two weeks he’s gone off for 17 and 12 points respectively in Euroleague play. These are huge numbers for a guy who couldn’t get in double digits the first four weeks of the season. Those 29 collective points might have been some of the softest you’ll ever see, but it’s put Madrid on a two game winning streak and finally given them some scoring up front. If and when Mirotic straightens out that long distance shot (shooting 25% from three), he’ll start to push for the top spot.
4. Tornike Shengelia, F, Belgacom Spirou
Points: 8.8 Rebounds: 5.3 Assists: 1.2
Last Week: 3
The once favorite of the Rising Star competition has sunken into darker days. While Shengelia has kept up his production for the most part (Exception: -8 ranking in Maccabi game), Spirou can’t seem to find a win anywhere. With advancing hopes fading, Shengelia will have to ramp it up these next couple of weeks to really keep his name in this competition. Keep going hard to the hoop and battling for defensive rebounds and you can make a difference Tornike.
5. Danilo Andjusic, G, Partizan Belgrade
Points: 4.5 Rebounds: 0.7 Assists: 0.5
Last Week: Unranked
Maybe a bit premature with this pick, but young scorer Danilo Andjusic is on the rise. He only really started producing for Partizan two weeks ago, but he doesn’t seem to be looking back. All he does right now is score, but then again that’s a similar shtick to what Nikola Mirotic had last year and he won the award. As mentioned under Macvan, Pekovic is leaving, and a big scoring hole will be made in Partizan’s offense. Who can step up with Macvan and fill the void? I like Danilo to pick up a good portion of the load, as he starts his trek into the dark mist of the Rising Star Award competition.