Round 10 of the 7DAYS EuroCup was a turning point in that it marked the start of the second half of the regular season. For several teams, it could also prove to be a watershed moment as several players stepped up with fantastic performances that could propel their sides to big things in the future.
A two-time All-EuroCup selection and a winner of the competition last season with AS Monaco, Mathias Lessort’s second game with Partizan NIS Belgrade was his best ever in the EuroCup. The big man set a pair of career-highs in leading his team to a 102-77 rout of Hamburg Towers.
Lessort posted 22 points in 21 minutes. He made 9 of 12 two-point shots and 4 of 5 free throws and also collected 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 5 steals and 1 block in compiling a performance index rating of 33. Both the steals and PIR were personal bests in his 44th game in the EuroCup.
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar big man Alan Williams is no newcomer; he is in his third season with the club. Last season he was clearly in the MVP conversation with incredible averages of 15.7 points, 13.4 rebounds, 1 steal and 1.4 blocks for a PIR of 22.7 through the team’s first seven games in staking Lokomotiv to a 5-2 record. However, he suffered a season-ending knee injury in Round 8.
Williams returned this season after a long rehab, but was used in a backup role behind Johnathan Motley, who took the competition by storm until he was hurt last week. In his first start of the season, Williams ran wild over MoraBanc Andorra for 17 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.
Another Group A big man who shined in Round 10 was Tomer Ginat of Boulogne Metropolitans 92. After center Miralem Halilovic had his best game of the season in Round 9, he was out on Tuesday and Coach Collet needed more minutes out of the rest of his frontcourt players. Ginat more than made up for the absence with his best game in a Metropolitans uniform.
In his second season with the club, Ginat set season-highs with 13 points and 4 assists, tied his season-high with 9 rebounds and posted a career-best PIR of 22 to lead his team to a victory over Turk Telekom Ankara.
The excellent play of these three big men raises the ceiling for each of their teams. They all are parts of frontlines with other well-known players. In Partizan’s case, Lessort joins Zach LeDay, Alen Smailagic and Balsa Koprivica to form a dangerous quartet. At Lokomotiv, Williams teams with Motley and Gregg Whittington as major forces in the paint. And Ginat has Vince Hunter and Halilovic as frontcourt mates.
The rest of the Group A big men had better beware. Lessort, Williams and Ginat sent reminders this week of how important frontcourt depth is in the EuroCup and their teams clearly have it.