Women - The Candidates

Alba Torrens - Spain and UMMC Ekaterinburg
Building on her remarkable form at EuroBasket Women 2013, Torrens appeared to have a renewed purpose when she returned to Istanbul for the club season with Galatasaray. Her form was insatiable, being named Final Eight MVP in earning her club their first-ever EuroLeague Women title with 29 points in their upset victory over hot favourites UMMC Ekaterinburg in the semi-finals. Her good form continued in the national team vest, earning a spot on the FIBA World Championship for Women's All-Star Five as Spain made it as far as the gold medal game.
Alina Iagupova - Ukraine and Elizabeth Basket
Iagupova was starring indoors and out in 2014, as the main protagonist on her nation's EuroBasket Women 2nd Qualification Round and 3x3 teams. In the traditional format, she averaged 19.2 points as the Ukrainians won five of their six games to confirm qualification for the main stage in 2015, whilst in 3x3 Iagupova proved even more dominant. The forward took it to some of the best 3x3 exponents on the continent, almost single-handedly taking her team to the 3x3 European Championships in Romania. This included a remarkable performance in the qualification quarter-finals when her heroics saw the heavily favoured French knocked out of the competition.
Ana Dabovic - Serbia and Ormanspor
The Serbia guard was wearing her iconic smile at the completion of the 2014 European club season, as a member of the EuroCup-winning side, Dynamo Moscow. The then 25-year-old had been a main contributor to her team's winning efforts with 14.2 points a night. Her sharp-shooting remained when she moved on to national team duties, shooting at 47.2% from the field for a team-high average of 14.2 points a game at the FIBA Basketball World Championship for Women, also leading the Serbs in assists.
Celine Dumerc - France and Tango Bourges/Atlanta Dream
They say that the greatest players are defined by their ability to step up at the biggest moments, and so it was once again for Dumerc in 2014. After nailing the big shots to get France by Sweden at EuroBasket Women 2013, she pulled off a similar feat, this time for her club, at the EuroLeague Women Final Eight when she nailed a deep three late in the piece to take Bourges past Nadezhda and into the semi-finals. 2014 also marked a rookie season in the WNBA for the 32-year-old playmaker who signed with the Atlanta Dream.
Evgenia Belyakova - Russia and Dynamo Kursk
It is something of a stretch to refer to a 27-year-old as a veteran in too many sports, but that was the case for Russian small forward Belyakova on a youthful Sparta&K talent laden with locally honed talent. Belyakova was in sublime form throughout the EuroLeague Women season, leading her young troopes to the Final Eight. The dynamic forward continued her form into the EuroBasket Women 2nd Qualification Round, securing Russia a spot at EuroBasket Women 2015 with averages of 11 points, 8.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists.
Isil Alben - Turkey and Dynamo Kursk
Few would argue against those claiming 2014 to be the best year in the career of Alben. Perhaps unlucky to be overlooked in the favour of team-mate Torrens for the MVP Award at the EuroLeague Women Final Eight, the guard's slicing runs to the hoop, coupled with a slick passing game were key ingredients in the recipe for Galatasaray's maiden EuroLeague Women success, which was followed up by a domestic title. Alben also played a major role in navigating Turkey to the FIBA World Championship for Women semi-finals on home soil.
Lara Sanders - Turkey and Agü Spor Kulübü
In her maiden EuroLeague Women season, Sanders made an instant impact, wasting little time in establishing herself as one of the competitions' foremost threats under the basket by frequently surpassing double figures in both rebounding and scoring. Her performances were a key factor in Kayseri Kaski spor making a somewhat unexpected Final Eight appearance. Gaining a Turkish passport prior to summer, she took her game to the next level, proving the main scoring threat, and rebounder for the semi-final bound Turkish team at the FIBA Basketball World Championship for Women.
Sancho Lyttle – Spain and Galatasaray Istanbul/Atlanta Dream
Developing a lethal front-court combination at club and national level with fellow Player of the Year recipient Alba Torrens, the form of each was just as much a reflection of the form of the other. Working seamlessly with Torrens, the 2013 FIBA Europe Women's Player of the Year completed another sparkling twelve months of basketball with her ownership of the paint for Galatasaray and Spain seeing her join Torrens on the EuroLeague Women Final Eight All-Tournament team and the FIBA Basketball World Cup All-Star Five.
Sandrine Gruda – France and UMMC Ekaterinburg/LA Sparks
Playing for two of the biggest club teams on either side of the Atlantic, as well as for one of the world's leading basketball nations, carries a certain amount of responsibility, which Gruda dealt with well, producing consistently high performances on a personal level, even if her respective teams did not achieve their own lofty ambitions. Looking back on 2014 however, she may well be best remembered for an out-of-competition performance, when she claimed a 26-point, 15-rebound double-double to lead France to a rare victory over USA in an international friendly.
Yelena Leuchanka - Belarus and Jiangsu Phoenix
Playing a limited role in club basketball on the European continent in 2014, it was in a national team vest where Leuchanka shone brightest. The veteran center was in platinum form in Turkey at the FIBA World Championship for Women, averaging 14.5 points and 13 rebounds a game - her best-ever all-round returns playing on the international stage. The 13 rebounds a game were also a tournament-best whilst her efficiency of 24.8 was only second to Sancho Lyttle's 26.2. Thanks to the role of Leuchanka, Belarus would go on to finish in the tournament top-ten.

All Winners

2014: Tony Parker
2013: Tony Parker
2012: Andrei Kirilenko
2011: Dirk Nowitzki
2010: Milos Teodosic
2009: Pau Gasol
2008: Pau Gasol
2007: Andrei Kirilenko
2006: Theo Papaloukas
2005: Dirk Nowitzki

2014: Alba Torrens
2013: Sancho Lyttle
2012: Celine Dumerc
2011: Alba Torrens
2010: Hana Horáková
2009: Sandrine Gruda
2008: Maria Stepanova
2007: Anete Jekabsone-Zogota
2006: Maria Stepanova
2005: Maria Stepanova

Young Men
2014: Dario Saric
2013: Dario Saric
2012: Jonas Valanciunas
2011: Jonas Valanciunas
2010: Jan Vesely
2009: Ricky Rubio
2008: Ricky Rubio
2007: Ricky Rubio
2006: Rudy Fernandez
2005: Nikolaos Zisis

Young Women
2014: Angela Salvadores
2013: Astou Ndour
2012: Alina Iagupova
2011: Emma Meesseman
2010: Nika Baric
2009: Alba Torrens
2008: Gintare Petronyte
2007: Sonja Petrovic
2006: Sandrine Gruda
2005: Anete Jekabsone