Czech him out: Hruban is the BCL all-time scoring leader
MIES (Switzerland) - The Basketball Champions League has provided an excellent stage for numerous charismatic scorers to showcase their talents, but nobody has matched the consistency and longevity of Czech international Vojtech Hruban over the four seasons of the competition.
The ERA Nymburk winger became this season the competition's all-time scoring leader after reaching a total of 752 points in the Regular Season and the Play-Offs and overtaking two-time BCL champion Kevin Punter, who has 706 career points in the BCL. Hruban has also become the competition's all-time leading scorer in the Regular Season.
The 30-year-old Czech swingman and Punter are the only two players to have passed the 700-point mark in the competition. J'Covan Brown of Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem is in third place with 683 points, former AEK captain Dusan Sakota is in fourth with 658 points and another Hapoel player, Tashawn Thomas, rounds off the Top-5.
Hruban is also the competition's all-time leading scorer in the Regular Season and the only player to have passed the 600-point mark in that stage, as we can see in the table below:
There are three main reasons why a player such as Hruban, who is often trusted with guarding the best perimeter player on the opposite team and therefore expends precious energy on the defensive end, has climbed to the very top of the all-time scoring list.
The first is rather obvious: Hruban joined Nymburk in 2012 and, since the perennial Czech champions have taken part in every edition of the BCL so far, he has competed in all four BCL seasons. The experienced small forward has also avoided major injuries during this stretch, so he has been available to play almost every game. He has stepped out in 61 BCL games with Nymburk, the joint-most for a player with a single team, alongside his veteran teammate Petr Benda.
Moreover, Hruban's mentality enables him to battle through fatigue and minor injuries in a rather impressive manner, especially considering all the minutes he has logged in big international games with the Czech national team during this four-year stretch. "My job is to play basketball and winning makes it easier to recover and to forget about fatigue," he said in a recent interview with championsleague.basketball when asked how he coped with playing for both club and country over such a prolonged period.
The second reason is Hruban's versatility as a player, which enables him to get buckets despite the fact that scoring is not something he seeks actively, as he lets the game come to him and will never force shots. He is an outstanding shooter who can play off the ball and come out of screens, but he can also put the ball on the floor and finish at the rim or generate Nymburk's transition game.
The third aspect has to do with the fact that Hruban has enjoyed a very long spell of stability at Nymburk. The Czech champions are not one of those teams that overhaul their roster every summer and, equally importantly, they have made minimal changes on the sidelines too.
Ronen Ginzburg was Hruban's coach on both Nymburk and the Czech national team from 2013 through 2017, and when he decided to work exclusively for the Czech Lions in 2017, his former assistant Oren Amiel took the reins at Nymburk.
Hruban has therefore worked only with two coaches during all these years and, it is quite safe to say, there is no facet of his game his coach doesn't know and doesn't employ.
The fruits of this stability are perhaps best reflected in the fact that the 2019-20 Regular Season (it's worth reminding that Nymburk have qualified for the Final Eight, which will conclude the current season in September-October) and the 2018-19 Regular Season were far more productive for the Czech winger than his first two regular season campaigns in the BCL:
|Season||Total Points||Points per Game||Games Played|
In the 2019-20 season Hruban established his longest double-digit scoring streak, as he put up 10 or more points in each his most recent 11 games in the competition. The Czech winger averaged 17.5 points per game in that 11-game stretch, after starting off the season on a relatively slow five-game stretch in which he averaged 9 points per game.
That impressive late 11-game stretch included the Round of 16 series against Teksut Bandirma, where Hruban scored 19 points in each of the two games of the series.
|Season||Total Points||Points per Game||Games Played|
Nymburk have never before advanced past the Round of 16, so Hruban has never played more than two games in the BCL Play-Offs. His 19-point average in the series against Bandirma far exceeded his output in both the 2017-18 Play-Offs, when he averaged 11 points against AEK, and the 2016-17 Play-Offs Qualifiers when Nymburk fell to Dinamo Sassari (the Regular Season had five groups back then, so there was an extra round before the Round of 16).
Due to the forced change to the normal competition format, Nymburk won't get to face off with AEK in a best-of-three Quarter-Finals series, and will instead clash with the Greek team in a single knock-out game in the Final Eight.
This change reduces the number of games to conclude the season and consequently Hruban's chances of scoring the 48 points he needs to become the first player to pass the 800-point mark within four BCL seasons, but the feat is still within his reach if Nymburk advance past AEK into the Semi-Finals and then either in the Final or in the Third-Place Game.
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