FIBA Europe published today the results of their vote for the Best Young player of the year 2007. The vote has been made by a panel of basketball journalists, players and coaches from 25 countries for two third and for one third by the votes of the public.
To start, here are results of the vote: 1st place for Ricky Rubio, 2nd for Milos Teodosic and third place for Marco Belinelli. The Spanish kid won the contest with a big distance, either on the journalist poll and on the public vote too. The result is in fact not a surprise to me, however, I don’t really understand what Rubio has done so special in 2007?
Ok, this is a bit provocative, but this is a blog and it is a place where I can say what I think. Rubio is of course the most talented player of the whole pool that was eligible. But what did he reach? His U18 National team finished without a medal at the 5th place of the "their" championship in Spain where everything was planned by the FEB to make them sure winners. With his club team, he did not manage to qualify for the Euroleague, a competition where Badalona played the year. So why Rubio is Number 1?
Of course nobody has his ability to steal the ball. Nobody at his age has dominated youth competitions at will since Drazen Petrovic. Nobody since the former Balkan Mozart had such huge impact on the senior level at the age of 16. But this vote should have been a consecration for what the players have accomplished in 2007, not what their talent level is.
So my vote went to the player that only finished 6th in this vote. A player that was the third best scorer of the U18 championship (ahead of Rubio), third best rebounder and that also was the go-to-guy of a team that beat Spain in the qualification round. Besides that, he was also named U19 World Championship MVP and finished his summer with two Gold Medals while Ricky had zero. I am speaking of Milan Macvan from Serbia. For me, he was clearly the youth player of the year 2007, looking at the international Youth competitions.
Of course his impact on the professional level is not that big as the one of Rubio and he is also a year older. And I don’t accept the excuse that Rubio is born in 1990 and played a 1989 competition at the U18. Macvan did the same at the U19 Worlds this summer.
I accept the vote of Rubio and he will probably win some more Youth trophies in the upcoming years. But for me 2007 was the year of Milan Macvan.