Presenting yourrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr BallinEurope Alternate EuroBasket 2009 All-Tournament Team!
• Ersan Ilyasova, Turkey. Possibly the best Eurobasket performer not to make the official All-Star squad, Ilyasova was a disappointment only for those who had hearts set on seeing The Hedo Turkoglu One-Man Show. Showing prowess behind his 22 years, FC Barcelona’s young Turk put in 16.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per game from the three-spot while shooting a nice 44.8 percent from three-point land and a nearly perfect 18-of-20 on free throws. Ilyasova’s all-around contribution is perhaps summed up in the team’s exiting OT loss to Greece, wherein he produced a line of nine points, seven rebounds, three steals and three blocked shots. Fear this guy playing at home in the 2010 FIBA World Championship.
• Tony Parker, France. Aside from maybe Manu Ginobili, is there any single player in the world so critical to his national team’s success? OK, so Monsieur Parker took no one by surprise, but what was thrilling for Eurohoops fans was the evolution of Team France from one-trick pony to all-around solid team. And playing with Parker may have turned Nicolas Batum into a living advertisement for playing in international competition over training with the NBA franchise in the off-season; young Batum’s game advanced well further than it might have in an Oregon gym. Next step for Les Bleus: incorporate a few more youngbloods onto the squad to play with Parker before summer 2010.
• Ioannis Bourousis or Sofoklis Schortsanitis, Greece. The men in the middle for Greece put the team head and shoulders (so to speak) above smaller competition, particularly in the early rounds of Eurobasket play. Sofoklis was again the huge force he has earned a reputation for contributing in international play, acting as a magnet for fouls underneath while controlling the boards and dunking repeatedly for a 58-plus percent shooting percentage. When Schortsanitis was on the bench – more often than the Greeks would’ve liked, to be sure, at over 3.5 fouls per game – Bourousis took over the big-man-on-the-floor role and ended up averaging 10.4 ppg and 7.3 rpg. Sofoklis Bourosis, anyone?
• David Logan, Poland. If there were an award for Eurobasket Import All-Star, it would have been Logan. Incredibly, Logan ended up fifth in scoring per game for the tournament at 15.5 points founded in his 13-of-33 shooting from beyond the arc. Yet, new citizen Logan was no ballhog, dishing out 4.5 assists as well to give Team Polska more than a one-dimensional game based on twin towers underneath.
• Marcin Gortat, Poland. While the 13th man was doubtlessly key to a dream run by Poland, which entered Eurobasket ranked no. 18 in Europe and no. 55 in the world by FIBA, so too was its Magic Man Marcin. Though Poland only managed two wins in the tournament, the team’s big men usually kept them close and the hometown fans on the edges of their seats. In the end, Gortat’s average line read 15.5 ppg and 10.8 rpg: With a lot less to work with, this big man’s numbers were comparable to MVP Gasol’s 18.7 and 8.3.
• Dusan Ivkovic, Serbia. As wonderful as was Team Russia’s defense as taught by David Blatt, old hand Ivkovic showed why he’s routinely listed among the world’s greatest active coaches in taking his unheralded just-past-youth squad into the finals. Though Ivkovic first started collecting medals in 1988 for international team play and his Eurobasket 2009 silver makes his seventh top-two finish, he may be most proud of this team, who accomplished so much with what appeared to be so little. In his first trip to the podium in 13 years, Ivkovic might just earn the European Coach of the Year title he last bagged in 1997.