Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul has had a rock-solid season, dominating its regular season and Last 32 groups before going all the way to the finals. None of its players has shined brighter than playmaker Errick McCollum, who has been unstoppable all season, leading the 2015-16 Eurocup in performance index rating average (22 per game) and taking Galatasaray to the Eurocup Finals for the first time. McCollum had already been the 2013-14 Eurocup top scorer (20.2 ppg.) playing for Panionios Athens and took his game to a new level this season as a go-to presence for Galatasaray through thick and thin. McCollum is the second-best top scorer in the 2015-16 Eurocup (18.7 ppg.), leads the competition in total fouls drawn (6.6 per game), free throws made (6.5 per game, with an excellent 86.7%). He also helped on the boards (4.4 rpg.) and shared the ball well (3.7 apg.). McCollum was our for a month due to a broken hand but was ready to deliver when his team needed him most, in the most important games of the season. He averaged 21 points on 72.2% two-point shooting in the eighthfinals against Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir, 15 points on 90.9% free throw shooting in the quarterfinals against FC Bayern Munich, and 17 points against Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas in the semifinals, helping Galatasaray to win each series on points differential. His combination of team results and statistical impact on the competition is second to none, making Errick McCollum a hands-down choice as this year's Eurocup MVP!
The Eurocup MVP is part of an awards structure that recognizes the finest Eurocup players for their efforts on the court throughout the season. McCollum's selection was made by a panel of Euroleague Basketball's in-house experts based on his and his team's performances during the Eurocup regular season, Last 32 and elimination series. Statistics and performance index ratings were taken into consideration for the award, but did not alone determine the winner. The list of previous Eurocup MVPs includes last season's winner, Tyrese Rice of Khimki Moscow Region, 2014 MVP Andrew Goudelock of Unics Kazan, 2013 MVP Nick Calathes of Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar, 2012 MVP Patrick Beverley of Spartak St. Petersburg, 2011 MVP Dontaye Draper of Cedevita Zagreb, 2010 MVP Marko Banic of Bizkaia Bilbao Basket and 2009 MVP Chuck Eidson of Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius. McCollum is scheduled to lead Galatasaray into Game 1 of the Eurocup Finals on Friday in Strasbourg. The second and last game of the finals is set for the following Wednesday, April 27, in Istanbul.
McCollum was the last player to arrive to Galatasaray but quickly became his team's leader, leaving no doubt about his all-around scoring skills from the very beginning of the season. McCollum opened the 2015-16 Eurocup with a 32-point performance in a road win against Neptunas Klaipeda, hitting 5-of-7 three-point shots and all 13 of his free throw attempts. He kept dominating early in the regular season, scoring more than 20 points in six of the first seven games. McCollum earned regular season Round 4 MVP honors in a win against Krasny Oktyabr Volgograd, in which he had 21 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals for a PIR of 36. He finished the regular season third in PIR (22.8) and scoring (20.3 ppg.), as well as fourth in fouls drawn (6.3 per game). After a couple of Last 32 games, McCollum was sidelined with a broken hand, a sensitive injury for a scorer, but he bounced back in style, rejoining the team in the elimination rounds. McCollum returned with a 21-point, 13-rebound effort against Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir in Game 1 of the eighthfinals, and followed that with another 21 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists to earn eighthfinals Game 2 MVP honors. In the quarterfinals, McCollum was all over the place against Bayern, averaging 15 point, 4 rebounds and 5 assists. He hit a pair of clutch free throws with 5 seconds left in the series, too. McCollum had 11 of his 16 points in Game 2 of the semifinals against Gran Canaria in the final 4 minutes of regulation and overtime, lifting his team in a do-or-die situation.
McCollum, who turned 28 on January, has been a great scorer throughout his career. Born in Canton, Ohio, his brother C.J. is also a professional basketball player. He attended Goshen College in the NAIA, where he holds the single season (795) and career (2,789) scoring records. He started his career with Elitzur Netanya of Israel and led the 2011-12 Israeli second division in scoring (24.3 ppg.) with Hapoel Kfar Saba/Kohav Yair. His great season allowed McCollum to join Apollon Patras of Greece, where he averaged 15.1 points in 28 games. He did even better in the 2013-14 season with Panionios, being the Eurocup (20.2 ppg.) and the Greek League (17.7 ppg.) top scorer. Last season, McCollum shined in the Chinese League as that competition's top scorer with Zhejiang Chouzhou Bank at 39.6 points per game. He set an all-time record with 82 points in a game against Guangdong Southern Tigers.
List of previous Eurocup MVPs (since new awards structure started)
2009 Chuck Eidson, Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius
2010 Marko Banic, Bizkaia Bilbao Basket
2011 Dontaye Draper, Cedevita Zagreb
2012 Patrick Beverley, Spartak St. Petersburg
2013 Nick Calathes, Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar
2014 Andrew Goudelock, Unics Kazan
2015 Tyrese Rice, Khimki Moscow Region