A gold medal and MVP honours at EuroBasket 2007 and another strong showing for club side the Utah Jazz all add up the FIBA Europe Player of the Year Award for Andrei Kirilenko of Russia.
The 2.09m forward takes home the prize after winning a vote of both fans and a panel of basketball experts, media and coaches from 25 different countries.
The 2005 winner, Dirk Nowitzki finished second while Jose Calderon of EuroBasket silver medallists Spain came in third.
|Jose Calderon of Spain finished third in the voting.|
Kirilenko led the surprise Russian side at EuroBasket 2007; averaging 18 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.2 steals to go with 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.
On club level Kirilenko helped lead the Utah Jazz to the NBA's Western Conference Finals where they fell to eventual champions the San Antonio Spurs. Kirilenko is currently averaging 11.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.8 blocks per game for the Jazz.
"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."
Second place finisher Nowitzki was the MVP of the NBA last season, averaging 24.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. He was also 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.
Jose Calderon finished third after an impressive showing for Spain that helped them all the way to the finals. The 1.90m point guard was second on the team in scoring behind Pau Gasol and shot an impressive 50% from behind the three-point line. He has been phenomenal for the Toronto Raptors of the NBA as well this year, averaging 12.4 points per game and recording an impressive 5.62 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.
Andrei Kirilenko, Russia
Dirk Nowitzki, Germany
Jose Calderon, Spain
Tony Parker, France
Ramunas Siskauskas, Lithuania
Dimitris Diamantidis, Greece
Pau Gasol, Spain
Andris Biedrins, Latvia
Matjaz Smodis, Slovenia
Luol Deng, Great Britain
J.R. Holden, Russia