[Editor's note: BallinEurope apologizes for a previous edition of this piece which incorrectly identified Jan Vesely as having rights owned by the Oklahoma City Thunder. This was a grievous error of which you surely need not know details. Rest assured that the infinite number of monkeys formerly ravaging the BiE headquarters are now under control of the proper authorities. Thank you for your patience.]

Jan Vesely was yesterday named FIBA Europe’s Young Men’s Player of the Year for 2010, nipping three-time winner (!) Ricky Rubio for the honors. Both fans and a panel of experts voted, with the tallies weighted to produce a final score.

How close was the race between Vesely and Rubio? Vesely received some 53 more popular votes than The Human YouTube Clip of 97,079, a difference of less than 0.06%; in the expert vote, Vesely scored 14 points higher than Rubio of a total 693, or just about a 2% margin.

Finishing third overall was 19 year-old Jonas Valanciunas, currently of Lietuvos Rytas; Andrew Albicy, currently of Paris-Levallois; and “Free” Enes Kanter, currently in basketball limbo thanks to forces beyond his control.

In the fan ballots, Mateusz Ponitka received a whopping 29.7% of all ballots cast, landing nearly 29,000 votes. The experts didn’t think quite as highly of Ponitka as the Polish the public, with the 17-year-old receiving just nine points from the judges for a 13th-place finish there. Finishing a distant second with 7,416 votes was “Dangerous” Dejan Musli.

(One wonders who perfected the basketball ballot box-stuffing technique first: The Poles with FIBA voting or the Chinese with NBA All-Star voting. BiE will always think of Marcin Gortat as the Yao Ming of Europe…)

Official press release follows.

(FIBA Europe) – FIBA Europe announced on Monday that Jan Vesely of the Czech Republic is the winner of the European Young Men’s Player of the Year award for 2010.

Vesely edged out three-time winner Ricky Rubio of Spain in both the public and an expert panel vote, in what turned out to be the closest race ever in this category. Players born in 1990 or later were eligible for the award.

The versatility of the all-around 2.10m (6’11”) forward, reminiscent of Toni Kukoc, made him stand out in the impressive Partizan side that reached last year’s Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four. He averaged 8.4 points and 4.9 rebounds in that competition and posted almost identical numbers with the Belgrade team in the Adriatic League, 8.4 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.

Vesely first featured in the senior national team in EuroBasket 2009 Division A. His exceptional talent became immediately apparent, as the then 19-year-old Czech finished the tournament with 11 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.

“I have been following Jan Vesely’s progress in the last years and I have the feeling he’ll give us all plenty of reasons to keep a close eye on him for many years to come. He is that rare kind of player that can play in any position, a natural basketball talent” said FIBA Europe Secretary General Nar Zanolin.

FIBA Europe will announce the winner of the Women’s Player of the Year Award for 2010 on Wednesday and the Men’s Player of the Year on Friday.

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