On Thursday Spain introduced the 2009 edition of their national team to the public, and began by honoring two of Europe's brightest stars.
FIBA Europe Secretary General Nar Zanolin was on hand to present Pau Gasol and Ricky Rubio with the 2008 FIBA Europe Player of the Year and Young Men's Player of the Year Awards respectively.
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.
For the third time in the four year history of the award Maria Stepanova of Russia has been named the FIBA Europe Women's Player of the Year.
The 2.03m center also won the award in 2005 and 2006 with Anete Jekabsone-Zogota of Latvia taking home the prize last year.
For the second consecutive year Ricky Rubio of Spain has been named the FIBA Europe Young Men's Player of the Year by fans voting online and a panel of expert judges.
Rubio also won the 2007 award after a year in which he led Spain at the U18 European Championship Men and was named to the All-Tournament Team.
FIBA Europe announced on Wednesday that Gintare Petronyte of Lithuania has been named the 2008 FIBA Europe Young Women's Player of the Year.
The 1.95m center was a force on the youth level in the summer of 2008, averaging 20.8 points, 11.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocked shot per game for Lithuania at the U20 European Championship Women.
FIBA Europe will honor the best of European basketball starting next week with the announcement of the winners of the FIBA Europe Player of the Year Awards.
On Wednesday 18th February the winners of the Young Men's Player of the Year and the Young Women's Player of the Year awards will be announced. The selection is made from a group of nominees born in 1988 or earlier.