Team of the Week: Blatt, Collins, Stone, Hunter and Buva
MIES (Switzerland) - The penultimate Gameday of the Regular Season had a bevy of all-star worthy performances, making our job of naming the Team of the Week as hard as ever.
Truth be told, we could have had two fabulous fives. There were solid, even heroic efforts from players that came out of nowhere like Umana Reyer Venezia's Andrea De Nicolao, whose 3 of 4 makes from behind the arc and last-ditch put-back forced overtime at Nanterre, where the Italian club eventually won, 89-80.
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There was "Mr Consistently Excellent" Jerai Grant, whose 13 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocks were MVP worthy for Neptunas in their 82-69 triumph at Promitheus. Grant now has 5 double-doubles in points and rebounds, and on three other occasions he's come up a rebound short of one!
Grant's 21.5 average efficiency in the BCL is second only to Vince Hunter's 23.4
Then Iberostar Tenerife's Pierre-Antoine Gillet decided to go off on poor Opava. The Belgium international made all 4 of his attempts from long range and finished with 20 points and get this, 14 rebounds!
💯 Record breaking Tenerife get their highest margin record back - they set it against Capo d'Orlando a year ago, Nanterre took it briefly, but a 59-point win get @CB1939Canarias back into the #BasketballCL record books!— Basketball Champions League (@BasketballCL) January 30, 2019
📊 https://t.co/v7NqH6iPYw pic.twitter.com/aTNDxdo4S0
The list goes on.
Well, we've come up with a Team of the Week that is stocked with players that were terrific.
Tamir Blatt, Guard
If Blatt hadn't had some big games last season with UNET Holon and also shone for Israel in the World Cup Qualifiers, he'd be on posters all over Jerusalem this season under the label 'A Star Is Born'. There is so much to like about the 21-year-old's game, from his passing and 3-point shooting to his confidence. He hit 5 of 9 from deep and had 17 points in Jerusalem's 103-89 victory over Brose Bamberg on Wednesday. Add to the scoring his 8 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals and +24 efficiency and you get another inclusion on the Team of the Week for Blatt.
Mardy Collins, Guard
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Watching a supremely focused SIG Strasbourg prevail, 83-80, at home over Segafredo Virtus on Tuesday in a game they simply had to win to stay in the hunt for a Play-Off spot sent chills down our spines. It made the hair on the back of necks stand up. It was riveting stuff from everyone, especially against a Virtus team that has a great chance of reaching the Final Four. Collins was a real leader. He was downright inspirational, hitting some tough shots on his way to 20 points. He also had 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal and 1 block and finished with +25 efficiency.
Julyan Stone, Guard
This is a player that does a lot of everything to help Umana Reyer Venezia win games. He wasn't that far off from a triple-double at Nanterre with 15 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists. Both the scoring and the assists were season highs for the 30-year-old. Stone had a couple of steals as well. Though he didn't make the layup at the end of regulation that would have forced overtime, De Nicolao had his back and well, you know the rest of the story. Venezia won to punch their Play-Off ticket.
Vince Hunter, Forward
Okay, we know you've never heard of this guy.. No seriously, you will have watched him so much in the BCL Social Media and seen him so many times on the Team of the Week that well, we've already said it all about Hunter. His latest display was as breathtaking as those that have put his name in bright lights on so many occasions this season. He had 25 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. The AEK jersey with the name Hunter on it ought to be selling like hotcakes! Might he take his foot off the pedal at some point and cruise a little? No, Luca Banchi certainly won't allow that to happen. Hunter is in the form of his life and appears hellbent on putting together the best season in BCL history.
Ivan Buva, Center
Buva jumped into the spotlight for Besiktas this week
The Besiktas big was a Croatian sensation this week as the Istanbul club shot down arguably the hottest team in the competition, Filou Oostende. Buva finished with 23 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 1 block in an 80-71 triumph. It was far from a one-man show, with Jason Rich scoring 24 points and Phil Pressey dishing out 10 assists, yet we should give it up to the man that was a tower of power for a club that is no longer pretenders, but contenders.