Who was the most impressive player in the Qualifiers?
MUNICH (FIBA Europe Cup) – They stole the spotlight with eye-catching plays, they turned heads with impressive numbers and — most importantly — they led their respective teams to safety through the qualification minefield.
Who exactly are they and which one of them deserves a special nod for the early-season performances in the FIBA Europe Cup Qualifiers?
Darius Thompson of ZZ Leiden lit up ece Bulls Kapfenberg in Qualification Round 2 by combining for 48 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists over the two legs. The 23-year-old American guard set a FIBA Europe Cup season-high by going off for 30 points on the road in Austria, as the Dutch side scored two double-digit wins to emerge victorious from the Qualifiers. He led the league in efficiency with an average index of 30.5.
Number two on the efficiency leader board, Rilski Sportist power forward Jalen Jenkins helped the Bulgarian team qualify as one of the 'lucky losers' despite suffering a 22-point blow in the first leg against Kataja Basket in Finland. He put together a 15-point and 14-rebounds double-double with 4 assists and 3 blocks in the return leg, as Rilski Sportist propelled themselves into a qualifying position. Over the two games, Jenkins averaged 17.5 points, 10.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.5 blocks.
Jalen Jenkins stuffed the boxscore in both games against Kataja Basket
No one did it quite like Oleksandr Mishula, with the Dnipro guard leading the all-Ukrainian club through to the Regular Season despite tough matchups against Lavrio Aegean Cargo and Alba Fehervar. The point guard averaged 22.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists in the four contests, while going 16-of-41 from three-point range.
It was hard to envision Dnipro reaching the Group Phase due to their unkind draw, but the 6ft 3in (1.90m) sharpshooter made it a reality with consistent individual displays; he scored at least 20 points in each of the games.
Istanbul BBSK center Shevon Thompson obliterated his opponents in the Qualifiers, putting up 17.3 points, 10.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in just 22.7 minutes per game. He could have easily boosted his numbers had he gotten more playing time, but that was not needed with the Turkish side cruising through their contests against DEKSTONE Turi Svitavy and Lulea.
Shevon Thompson had a 15-rebound game against Svitavy in Qualification Round 1
Stellar all-around play from Ironi Ness Ziona guard Chris Dowe was among the main reasons the Israeli side were able to get past the Sodertalje Kings and U-BT Cluj-Napoca barriers in their maiden international campaign. The guard averaged 14.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.0 assists per game.
One of five players to average a double-double in the Qualifiers, Jordan Heath of Alba Fehervar stifled Dnipro with his size, turning around the tie from an apparent dead end with a 90-67 victory in Szekesfehervar after losing the first leg on the road by 16 points. Having gone a combined 12-of-18 from the floor over the two games, Heath averaged 17.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks to help the Hungarian club the Regular Season.