Thursday, April 23, 2009

Euroleague Rising Star Trophy goes to Velickovic

A fun-to-watch forward who brought his team close to the Final Four for a second consecutive year, Novica Velickovic of Partizan Belgrade, has been rewarded with the 2009 Euroleague Rising Star Trophy in a vote of the competition's head coaches. Velickovic, 22, exploded in his fourth Euroleague season, becoming not only Partizan's newest go-to scorer, but one of the competition’s most decisive players in the crucial Top 16 round. 

Indeed, Velickovic won the MVP award for February, the only month exclusively devoted to the Top 16, while leading Partizan into the playoffs. He finished the season as Partizan's top scorer, with 11.5 points per game, and it's second best rebounder, with 5.1 on average. Velickovic was also among his team's best three players in steals, assists and blocks.

Velickovic also ranked among the Euroleague's best 25 players of the season in both scoring and rebounds. Most of all, Velickovic proved to be a team leader despite his age at the most crucial juncture of the season, averaging 14.5 points and 6.7 rebounds in Partizan's four victories during the Top 16. Led by Velickovic, the young Partizan team generated such a following in Belgrade that the team broke the all-time attendance record for European club competitions by attracting 22,567 fans to its last Top 16 home game. For his unique combination of talent and leadership skills, the Euroleague head coaches have tabbed Velickovic as the rising star of the competition this season. 

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