19 September, 2017
02 May, 2018
25 Ivan Buva | Photo: Gregory Sokolov
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Who were the best players in the Second Round?

MUNICH (FIBA Europe Cup) - After an exciting down-to-the-wire finish crowned an eventful Second Round in the FIBA Europe Cup, with only the top teams moving to the Round of 16.

With the process complete, it is now time to look back and appreciate the competition's best players -those who provided the fireworks with consistently great performances in the second group phase.

Just like for the Regular Season awards, we examine the leaderboards of the main statistical categories, featuring many players who qualified for the Play-Offs, but also quite a few who already bowed out.


Ivan Buva became the go-to man for Istanbul BBSK

Istanbul BBSK big man Ivan Buva took his game to a higher level and became a force of nature in the Second Round but his stellar play wasn't enough to get the Turkish side to the Play-Offs.

After a relatively slow start to the campaign in the Qualification Rounds, the 26-year-old Croatian steadily increased his overall output during the course of the season and posted noteworthy performances on a weekly basis.

In six Group I games, Buva averaged 21.0 points on 55 percent shooting from the field with a side portion of 8.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.0 steal per game.

A league-best average efficiency score of 22.0 during this stretch put talented the center atop the leaderboard for the Second Round, ahead of the rest of the field, including the likes of Jeffrey Crockett, Peter Lorant, Strahinja Milosevic and Wesley Saunders, who have also been hot lately.

# Player Team G EFF
1. Ivan Buva Istanbul BBSK 22.0
2. Jeffrey Crockett Bakken Bears 6 20.3
3.  Peter Lorant Alba Fehervar 6 19.8
4-5. Strahinja Milosevic Szolnoki Olaj 6 19.3
  Wesley Saunders Kataja Basket 6 19.3


Ivan Buva posted double digits in scoring in 14 consecutive games

Ivan Buva was not only the FIBA Europe Cup efficiency leader in the Second Round, but also the competition's top scorer after seeing his numbers pop dramatically after the end of the Regular Season.

Having collected 13.6 points per contest in the previous rounds, the Istanbul BBSK inside presence averaged 21.0 points against the powerful lineup of opposition in Group I, featuring ESSM Le Portel, Nizhny Novgorod and Kataja Basket.

A string of 14 consecutive double-digit scoring games by Buva was put to a premature end by Istanbul BBSK's failure to secure a place in the Round of 16.  

Derek Needham of Mornar Bar was the only other player to average over 20 points in the Second Round, followed closely by Demir Insaat guard Erving Walker, Kataja Basket sparkplug Damier Pitts and Donar Groningen playmaker Brandyn Curry.

# Player Team G PPG
1. Ivan Buva Istanbul BBSK 21.0
2. Derek Needham Mornar Bar 6 20.2
3.  Erving Walker Demir Insaat 6 18.8
4. Damier Pitts Kataja Basket 6 18.5
5. Brandyn Curry Donar Groningen 6 18.3


Diamon Simpson's rebounding increased, but scoring dipped

The only player in the Second Round to average double digits on the glass, Diamon Simpson secured the top spot in the rebounding leaderboard with a 17-board performance in what turned out to be the last FIBA Europe Cup game of the season for Demir Insaat.

The Turkish side were forced out of the competition unexpectedly early in Group J, the 30-year-old American was certainly not to blame after averaging 8.5 points, 10.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.7 blocks per game.

Simpson considerably increased his across-the-board production in all but one category, with his scoring average in the Second Round dipping from 12.0 points per game in the Qualification Rounds and the Regular Season to single figures in the remaining six.

Kataja Basket wingman Wesley Saunders finished second on the leaderboard with an impressive rebounding average of 9.7 boards for a perimeter player, with Istanbul BBSK big man Ivan Buva, BC Nevezis prospect Tadas Sedekerskis and Peter Lorant of Alba Fehervar rounding out the other top spots.

# Player Team G RPG
1. Diamon Simpson Demir Insaat 10.2
2. Wesley Saunders Kataja Basket 6 9.7
3-4. Ivan Buva Istanbul BBSK 6 8.5
  Tadas Sedekerskis BC Nevezis 4 8.5
5. Peter Lorant Alba Fehervar 6 8.3


Kasey Hill leads the overall assist leaderboard as well

Alba Fehervar point guard Kasey Hill used a red-hot Second Round to move into the top spot in the overall FIBA Europe Cup assist leaderboard, leapfrogging previous number one Doug Wiggins.

The 24-year-old former Florida Gator posted 13.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 3.8 steals per game and helped the Szekesfehervar club secure a first-place finish in Group J.

The uptick in assists can in part be explained by the increased playing time, with Hill's minutes going up from just under 27 in the Regular Season to 30 in the Second Round.

However, the increased dime-dishing rate was a significant factor as well, rising from 7.8 assists per 40 minutes to 8.8 assists per 40 minutes in the second phase of the competition.

Two forwards, Jaka Klobucar of Istanbul BBSK and Strahinja Milosevic of Szolnoki Olaj, also found a way to the summit of the assist leaderboard alongside Bakken Bears star DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell and ESSM Le Portel go-to-man Trae Golden.

# Player Team G APG
1. Kasey Hill Alba Fehervar 5 6.6
2. Jaka Klobucar Istanbul BBSK 5 5.8
3-4.  Strahinja Milosevic Szolnoki Olaj 6 5.5
  DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell Bakken Bears 6 5.5
5. Trae Golden ESSM Le Portel 5 5.2


Kasey Hill enjoyed success on both ends of the floor

Having been at the top of the assist and steal leaderboards at the end of the Regular Season, Bakken Bears guard Doug Wiggins ceded the top spots in both of the categories to Kasey Hill of Alba Fehervar.

While the race for the top assistman honors in the Second Round was relatively close, Hill was completely in a league of his own when it came to takeaways with an astronomic average of 3.8 steals per game.

The American player had multiple steals in all five games he played in Group J action, registering two big games on the defensive end with 6 steals against Egis Kormend and 5 steals against Demir Insaat in back-to-back contests.

Tarik Phillip and Terell Parks also made a name for themselves as a defensive specialists, hitting the 2.0 steal per game mark in the Second Round with Brandyn Curry and Diamon Simpson next in line with slightly more modest numbers.

# Player Team G SPG
1. Kasey Hill Alba Fehervar 5 3.8
2. Tarik Phillip Szolnoki Olaj 4 2.3
3.  Terell Parks Keravnos 6 2.0
4-5. Brandyn Curry Donar Groningen 6 1.8
  Diamon Simpson Demir Insaat 6 1.8


David Kravish was the only player to average at least 2.0 blocks

Tsmoki-Minsk big man David Kravish and Alba Fehervar center Christopher Horton managed to top the FIBA Europe Cup block king Uros Lukovic in the Second Round leaderboard.

Despite the many ups and downs in Group J, Kravish finished the phase as the best rim protector with an average of 2.0 blocks per game, while also chipping in with 8.3 points and 5.0 rebounds

The 25-year-old center registered a swat in all but one game, with a 4-block game against Mornar Bar and a 3-block night versus Bakken Bears helping to pad the numbers.

Despite seeing his lead shrink, Mornar Bar giant Uros Lukovic maintained pole position in the overall block leaderboard at 2.3 blocks per game, with Horton just marginally behind.

# Player Team G EFF
1. David Kravish Tsmoki-Minsk 2.0
2. Christopher Horton Alba Fehervar 6 1.8
3-4. Uros Lukovic Mornar Bar 6 1.7
  Diamon Simpson Demir Insaat 6 1.7
 5-6. Jean-Victor Traore ESSM Le Portel 6 1.3
  Michel Diouf Bakken Bears 6 1.3