Euroleague Basketball is pleased to announce that Aleksander Balcerowski of Herbalife Gran Canaria has been chosen as the 7DAYS EuroCup Rising Star Trophy winner for the 2020-21 season. Balcerowski improved as the EuroCup season went on to become one of his team's pillars in the playoffs. The EuroCup Rising Star Trophy recognizes the most outstanding player in the competition who was younger than 22 years of age on July 1 of the summer before the season started. Balcerowski, who will turn 21 in November, helped Gran Canaria reach the EuroCup Semifinals for the first time since 2016. The 2.15-meter center averaged 6.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 0.7 blocks in 15 EuroCup games this season in less than 14 minutes on court. He made 65.6% of his two-point shots, which was eighth-best in the EuroCup, and ranked 11th in the competition in both offensive rebounding (2.1 orpg.) and blocks.
The Rising Star Trophy is part of an expanded end-of-season awards structure launched before the 2008-09 season to enhance the recognition of the finest EuroCup players for their efforts on the basketball court. Apart from the EuroCup Rising Star, Euroleague Basketball and its in-house experts also select the EuroCup Coach of the Year, while fans add their help by voting for the All-EuroCup First and Second Teams and the EuroCup MVP. The EuroCup Finals MVP will be announced after the completion of the playoffs.
Balcerowski started to see significant playing time by the end of the regular season and posted 11 points and 4 rebounds in Round 9 against Frutti Extra Bursaspor. He continued to make the most of his playing time in the Top 16. Balcerowski posted 12 points on 6-of-9 two-point shooting in Round 1 against Mornar Bar and finished this stage with 11 points and 6 rebounds in a must-win Round 6 showdown against UNICS Kazan. Balcerowski averaged 8.0 points and 4.0 rebounds in the quarterfinals against Boulogne Metropolitans 92, and had a career-high PIR of 17 in Game 1 of the semifinals against AS Monaco, which he finished with 9 points and 7 rebounds. Balcerowski contributed 12 points and 5 rebounds in Game 2 against Monaco, which Gran Canaria lost and was eliminated. His per-40-minute averages were impressive with 18.8 points, 10.7 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and a PIR of 24.0.
Born in Swidnica, Poland, Balcerowski started to play basketball in his native country with Stowarzyszenie Gornik Walbrzych. In 2015, at the age of 14, Balcerowski joined Gran Canaria's Spanish youth system. On December 3, 2017, Balcerowski became the youngest Gran Canaria player to make his first-team debut; he was 17 years and 14 days old. He played the Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament Ciutat de L’Hospitalet twice, averaging 12.3 points and 6.0 rebounds in 2018. Balcerowski made his EuroCup debut against Tofas Bursa on December 6, 2017, and played in the 2018-19 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. He has earned EuroCup Rising Stars honors in his first season as a full-time member of Gran Canaria's first roster.
Balcerowski joins a select list of Rising Star trophy winners that also includes Victor Claver of Power Electronics Valencia, Milan Macvan of Hemofarm Vrsac, Donatas Motiejunas of Benetton Basket Bwin, Jonas Valanciunas of Lietuvos Rytas, two-time winner Bojan Dubljevic of Valencia Basket, Kristaps Porzingis of Baloncesto Seville, Mateusz Ponitka of Stelmet Zielona Gora, Rolands Smits of Montakit Fuenlabrada, Dzanan Musa of Cedevita Zagreb and the 2018-19 winner, Martunas Echodas of Rytas Vilnius.