FIBA Europe announced on Thursday that Spanish superstar Pau Gasol has been named the 2008 FIBA Europe Player of the Year by fans and a panel of expert voters.
Gasol finished ahead of fellow Spaniard Rudy Fernandez and 2005 winner Dirk Nowitzki, among others, to claim the prize.
The 2.15m center led Spain in points, rebounds and blocked shots at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing where his team claimed a
|Gasol's teammate Rudy Fernandez finished second.|
Those numbers included some herculean performances.
The Barcelona native scored 31 point and grabbed nine rebounds in a win over Angola and dominated Croatia to the tune of 20 point and 10 boards. He also performed admirably in the gold medal game against highly fancied Team USA, scoring 21 points and pulling down six rebounds.
Domestically Gasol helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers to the 2008 NBA Finals after being traded from Memphis mid-season. He averaged 18.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocked shots in 27 games with the Lakers.
"Pau Gasol's performance this summer in Beijing proved how worthy he is of this award," said FIBA Europe President George Vassilakopoulos.
"There are few players more passionate about playing for their country then Pau, and that passion is evident on the court."
"Pau is just now entering the prime of his career. He was a joy to watch in Beijing, not only because of his physical skills but becuase of the obvious pride he takes in playing for his country." added Secretary General Nar Zanolin.
Following Gasol, Fernandez and Nowitzki in the top five of the voting were Ramunas Siskauskas of Lithuania and France's Tony Parker.