Kirilenko Named 2007 FIBA Europe Men’s Player of the Year
Posted Feb 8 2008 8:31PM
SALT LAKE CITY/MUNICH, GERMANY (February 8, 2008) – Fédération Internationale de Basketball (FIBA) announced today that Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko has been named the 2007 Europe Men’s Player of the Year.
The 6-9 forward takes home the honor after winning a vote of both fans and a panel of basketball experts, media and coaches from 25 different countries. After leading Russia to a gold medal and garnering MVP honors at EuroBasket 2007, Kirilenko has also helped the Jazz to a strong start in the 2007-08 NBA season. The 26-year-old is currently averaging 11.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game. Kirilenko registered his third career triple-double vs. the Los Angeles Lakers on November 30, 2007 with 20 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists and 4 blocks.
Last year's winner, Dirk Nowitzki finished second while Jose Calderon of EuroBasket silver medalists Spain came in third.
Kirilenko led the surprise Russian side at EuroBasket 2007 averaging 18 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.2 steals in addition to nearly two blocks per game. He had 29 points and eight rebounds in a crucial semi-final win over Lithuania and 17 points in the final against Spain. "Andrei Kirilenko is a deserving winner of this award," commented FIBA Europe President George Vassilakopoulos. “Very few people expected Russia to win the gold medal this summer and their eventual victory was due in large part to his stellar play."
"Andrei is one of the best players in the world and he proved that this summer in Spain," added FIBA Europe Secretary General Nar Zanolin. “Russia has always been a force in European basketball but in a competition like EuroBasket you need more than just talent and he proved his abilities extend beyond his impressive statistics."
Nowitzki finished second, finishing as the leading scorer at EuroBasket 2007, averaging 24.0 points per game in leading Germany to a fifth place finish and a possible spot in the Olympics via the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
Calderon finished third after an impressive showing for Spain that helped them all the way to the finals. The 6-3 point guard was second on the team in scoring behind Pau Gasol and shot an impressive 50 percent from behind the three-point line. This season with the Toronto Raptors, Calderon is averaging 12.4 points per game and an 8.7 assists-to-turnover ratio.
Tony Parker of France and Ramunas Siskauskas of Lithuania rounded out the top five with Parker just edging out the CSKA Moscow star for fourth place.