Winners of FIBA Europe Cup Fan Awards announced
MUNICH (Germany) - The polls are now closed, all votes have been counted and the winners of the seven different categories in the Fan Awards are now waiting to be announced.
There was record-breaking participation in the end-of-season ballot, with the best FIBA Europe Cup players and coaches splitting 82,400 votes across the categories for an outstanding 27.8 percent increase from last year's Fan Vote.
The award winners and other fan favorites will be revealed one category per day, starting on May 6th and culminating with the Most Valuable Player announcement on May 12th to wrap up the proceedings.
MVP: Jordan Hulls (s.Oliver Wurzburg)
Jordan Hulls doubled his glory in the Fan Awards by adding the Most Valuable Player honors to his haul, having also been named the top guard in the competition.
The only player to triumph in multiple categories, the s.Oliver Wurzburg backcourt star won the MVP race by a landslide, receiving 4,748 votes for a 39.6 percent share of the total after leading the German side to a runner-up finish in the FIBA Europe Cup.
Having flirted with the famed 50-40-90 club throughout the campaign, he ultimately fell short. Hulls averaged 14.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game while shooting 52.5 percent from the field, 49.0 percent from three-point range and 84.0 percent from the free-throw line.
Rashawn Thomas of Dinamo Sassari finished second in the voting with 1,756 votes (14.6 percent), Daequan Cook picked up 1,122 votes (9.4 percent) and was third, while fourth-placed Darius Thompson received 1,022 endorsements for 8.5 percent.
BEST COACH: Damir Mulaomerovic (Z Mobile Prishtina)
Damir Mulaomerovic is still better known for his remarkable playing career, but the 44-year-old former Croatia international is slowly but surely making a name for himself on the sidelines as well.
Having taken over the reins at Z Mobile Prishtina in the early days of the season after their unsuccessful attempt to qualify for the Basketball Champions League, he turned heads in the FIBA Europe Cup by taking a club that had never been past the Regular Season directly into the Play-Offs in the first go-around.
Despite losing twice to Pallacanestro Varese in the Round of 16, it was still the best ever European campaign for the Prishtina-based club, who surprised plenty of opponents along the way.
Mulaomerovic secured the top spot in the Fan Awards with 2,181 votes (20.4 percent), while Balkan Botevgrad head coach Nebojsa Vidic finished second with 1,977 votes (18.5 percent) in a close race. They were closely followed by the championship-winning Dinamo Sassari playcaller Gianmarco Pozzecco, who received 1,824 votes (17.1 percent), and runner-up Denis Wucherer of s.Oliver Wurzburg, who collected 1,571 votes (14.7 percent).
YOUNG PLAYER: Vladyslav Voytso (FC Porto)
It may not have been an outcome expected by many, but it was FC Porto forward Vladyslav Voytso who came away with the Young Player of the Year honors in the Fan Awards after receiving remarkable support from Portugal and Ukraine.
Born in Ukraine but a member of Portuguese junior national teams, the 19-year-old from Porto racked up 2,043 votes (23.6 percent) to outduel some of the better-known names in the FIBA Europe Cup. Joshua Obiesie of s.Oliver Wurzburg received 1,824 votes (21.0 percent) to finish second, while Dinamo Sassari prospect Ousmane Diop was third with 1,611 votes (18.6 percent).
DEFENSIVE PLAYER: Rashawn Thomas (Dinamo Sassari)
From setting a new FIBA Europe Cup single-game record for efficiency to lifting the title in Wurzburg, it truly was a season to remember for Dinamo Sassari star Rashawn Thomas. The 24-year-old power forward from Oklahoma added another accolade to his resume in the Fan Awards, topping the Defensive Player of the Year category.
A key cog in Sassari's championship-winning squad, Thomas averaged 15.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 0.9 steals, as Dinamo suffered only two defeats in 22 FIBA Europe Cup contests. Throughout the campaign, the Sardinian club outscored their opponents by 222 points with Thomas on the floor, by far the best mark in the competition.
He won the Defensive Player of the Year ballot with 1,189 votes (23.6 percent), Cameron Wells of s.Oliver Wurzburg finished second with 1,356 votes (17.6 percent), while ZZ Leiden's Worthy De Jong rounded out the top three with 1,116 votes (14.5 percent).
BEST CENTER: Khalid Boukichou (Z Mobile Prishtina)
It was a ground-breaking season for Z Mobile Prishtina in many regards and Khalid Boukichou winning the Best Center nomination serves as yet another reminder of how much the team from Kosovo has grown in recent years.
Leaning heavily on Boukichou and a few other cornerstone players, Prishtina reached historic heights in the FIBA Europe Cup, crowned by their maiden Play-Offs appearance. It was also the most successful season in Europe for the 26-year-old Belgium international, who registered career-highs across the board with 13.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 0.8 blocks.
Having joined Elan Chalon in France after Prishtina ended their European campaign with a defeat to Pallacanestro Varese in the Round of 16, he still received the full backing of the Prishtina faithful in the Fan Awards.
No player received more votes in a single category than Boukichou, who had 6,808 votes when polls closed, good for a 28.5 percent share of the total. In a close-fought race, Alex Gavrilovic of Balkan Botevgrad finished second with 6,282 votes (26.3 percent), while Jack Cooley lined up third with an also impressive haul of 4,934 votes (20.7 percent).
BEST FORWARD: Mikael Hopkins (Balkan BC)
Few could have expected Balkan Botevgrad to go as far as they did in the FIBA Europe Cup and the Bulgarian club reaching the Play-Offs was in no small part linked to the stellar play of Mikael Hopkins.
The 25-year-old power forward did it all for the Nebojsa Vidic-coached club, averaging 14.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and a competition-best 2.1 blocks per game. He also ranked third in efficiency with an average output of 19.4 and fourth in rebounds, as the overachievers from Botevgrad became the first Bulgarian side to reach the Round of 16.
To capture the Best Forward honors in the Fan Awards, Hopkins collected 2,106 votes for a 24.0 percent share of the total, besting two FIBA Europe Cup Finalists in Xavier Cooks of s.Oliver Wurzburg and Dinamo Sassari star Rashawn Thomas. Cooks finished second with 1,656 votes (18.9 percent), while Thomas wasn't too far behind in third with 1,511 votes (17.2 percent).
BEST GUARD: Jordan Hulls (s.Oliver Wurzburg)
Serenaded by the s.Oliver Wurzburg faithful and feared by the team's opponents, the competition's premier sharpshooter Jordan Hulls was among the main driving forces in the German club's historic European campaign that extended all the way to the Final.
Having flourished in Dirk Nowitzki's hometown, the 29-year-old Indiana University alumnus averaged 14.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists for coach Denis Wucherer in the FIBA Europe Cup while converting field goals at an extraordinary 52.5 percent clip for a guard, In 16 appearances in the competition, he left court with a single-digit point total only once throughout the season.
He was unfortunately unable to help his teammates in the return leg of the title-decider in Wurzburg after suffering what turned out to be a season-ending injury in Sassari.
With 2,918 votes, making up 27.7 percent of the total in the category, Hulls had a clear lead on runner-up Dardan Berisha of Z Mobile Prishtina, who had 2,174 votes for a 20.6 percent share. UNET Holon's Corey Walden received 1,459 votes and finished in third place with 13.8 percent.