The Turkish Airlines EuroLeague reached new heights in the 2017-18 season with great drama and amazing performances. At the center of all the excitement are the players, and Euroleague Basketball is pleased to salute the stars that made the season so fantastic. After voting by fans and accredited media members, five of the biggest stars in the competition have been selected to the 2017-18 All-EuroLeague First Team presented by 7DAYS. They are Nick Calathes of Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens, Nando De Colo of CSKA Moscow, Luka Doncic of Real Madrid, Tornike Shengelia of KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz and Jan Vesely of Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul.
This star quintet represents excellence in many ways, not to mention regeneration. Only De Colo returns from last season's All-EuroLeague Team and three of the players – Calathes, Doncic and Shengelia – have been voted to All-EuroLeague status for the first time. Media voting counted for 75% and fan voting 25% of the totals used to determine the All-EuroLeague selections. The All-EuroLeague First Team is among a series of honors being announced this week. The All-EuroLeague Second Team will be revealed on Friday. The EuroLeague MVP award will be named at the 2018 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four in Belgrade. The Alexander Gomelskiy Coach of the Year Trophy and the Gianluigi Porelli EuroLeague Executive of the Year are post-season awards.
Nick Calathes, Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens
Nick Calathes not only had the best season of this career, but one of the finest seasons by a point guard in the history of the competition. In his sixth year in the competition, Calathes shattered single-season EuroLeague records with a total of 249 assists and an average of 8.03 assists per game. He delivered at least 10 assists in 13 different games and his 11 double-doubles in points and assists were the most ever in a single season. Calathes also led the EuroLeague with 1.7 steals per contest, ranked fourth in the league with a career-best performance index rating of 18.5 and was sixth in scoring with a career-high 14.6 points per night. He ranked third in the EuroLeague with 29 minutes played per game and his average of 3.8 rebounds was the third-most on Panathinaikos. During the course of the season, Calathes was named EuroLeague MVP for November and earned three MVP of the Round honors, including Round 8 when he accumulated a EuroLeague season-high and personal best PIR of 42 in a road win over Anadolu Efes Istanbul. After leading the Greens to a fourth-place finish in the regular season, Calathes set a playoffs record with 16 assists in a Game 1 win over Real Madrid. A former EuroLeague and EuroCup champion and the 2013 EuroCup MVP, Calathes joins the All-EuroLeague Team for the first time.
Nando De Colo, CSKA Moscow
The bar remained high for former EuroLeague MVP and Alphonso Ford Top Scorer Trophy winner Nando De Colo this season. The star guard once again delivered consistent excellence, just like his team, CSKA. In helping the Russian powerhouse reach the Final Four for the 15th time in the last 16 years, De Colo netted 508 points and became the first player to score 500 points or more in three different seasons; no other player has done it more than once. De Colo ranks third among qualified EuroLeague players this season in average performance index rating (19.8 per game) and second in scoring (16.9 ppg.). He reached double figures in points in all but four of his 30 games played. De Colo, the EuroLeague career-leader in free throw accuracy, ranked fourth this season in that category (94.6%) and was also fourth in three-point accuracy (51.5%) after making a career-high 53 triples. He was third among EuroLeague guards in two-point shooting (58.7%) for his third consecutive season in the exclusive 50-40-90 club (50% field goal shooting, 40% three-point shooting, 90% free throw shooting). Apart from being highly efficient offensively, De Colo also placed third in the competition with 1.3 steals per game. This marks De Colo's fourth consecutive All-EuroLeague selection – there have been just four players ever with more – and third in a row on the first team.
Luka Doncic, Real Madrid
He started the season with great expectations on his shoulders and Real Madrid phenom Luka Doncic surpassed them all with the greatest campaign by a teenager in Turkish Airlines EuroLeague history. The 19-year-old do-it-all guard led the league in multiple ways in what was just his third professional season. He topped the charts in both average (21.8) and per-minute performance index rating (33.9 prorated over 40 minutes). Doncic recorded five games with a performance index rating of 35 or more in a season when no other player had more than two. He earned four MVP of the Round honors, which tied for a league high, and was the EuroLeague MVP for October when he helped his team jump out to a 4-0 start to the season. Doncic continued to deliver the goods on a regular basis and enters the Final Four ranked fourth in scoring (16.1 ppg.) after recording double-figure points in 26 of his 31 appearances. Much more than just a scorer; Doncic contributed significant numbers in almost every major statistical category. He ranked second among all EuroLeague players in fouls drawn (5.7), ninth in defensive rebounds (4.0), 11th in steals (1.1) and 12th in assists (4.4). Doncic also led Madrid in minutes played (25:43). Voted unanimously by EuroLeague head coaches as the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Rising Star for the second year in a row, Doncic now joins the All-EuroLeague Team for the first time.
Tornike Shengelia, KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz
Toko Shengelia produced the finest season of his career and played a major role in Baskonia becoming the first team in competition history to reach the playoffs after opening the campaign with a 0-4 record. He not only led his team and set career highs in scoring and rebounding, but Shengelia's 13.7 points per game were the most in the league by a power forward or center this season. He ranked fifth in the competition – and first among big men – with a career-high performance index rating of 18.2, and he was third with 6.1 rebounds per game. The Baskonia big man also posted career-best numbers in two-point accuracy (61.4%) and assists (2.2) while playing the most minutes in his career (25:29). His six point-rebound double-doubles this season were the most in the EuroLeague. Shengelia earned the first two MVP of the Round honors in his EuroLeague career during the season: first as co-MVP of Round 14 after scoring a career-high 24 points against FCB Barcelona Lassa, and later as Round 24 MVP when he tallied 15 points and a career-best 15 rebounds to beat Khimki Moscow Region. He was then chosen as EuroLeague MVP for March after leading Baskonia to a 6-0 record and the most wins ever by a EuroLeague team in a single month. This is Shengelia's first All-EuroLeague selection in what is his fifth EuroLeague season and fourth with Baskonia.
Jan Vesely, Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul
Jan Vesely's fourth season with Fenerbahce has been his best to date. With all of the team's other starters from last season's Final Four, where Fenerbahce won its first EuroLeague title, either injured for much of the season or no longer with the club, Vesely stepped up as a team leader both on and off the court. The high-flying big man averaged career highs in scoring (12.9 ppg.) and performance index rating (16.8), both of which were team bests this season, as were his 5.2 rebounds per game. Vesely's efforts led Fenerbahce to second place in the regular season and a 3-1 win over KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz in the playoffs to reach the team's fourth consecutive Final Four. During that playoff, Vesely tied the league record for offensive rebounds in a series with 18. Overall in the playoffs, he improved to 13.3 points per game, ranked third with 7.5 rebounds and was fifth with a PIR of 19.5. Among his highlights were scoring a career-best 31 points in an overtime road win against CSKA Moscow in Round 8, a career-high 6 assists in a Round 10 road win at Baskonia, and a double-double of 26 points and 11 rebounds for his personal-best index rating of 36 against Brose Bamberg, a performance that earned him the MVP honor for Round 22. This marks the second All-EuroLeague selection for Vesely, who was a member of the All-EuroLeague First Team in 2015-16.