Kostas Papanikolaou Named 'Rising Star' Of Euroleague
News out of Europe today that Kostas Papanikolaou, whose rights the Trail Blazers acquired in the deal that sent Raymond Felton and Kurt Thomas to the Knicks, has been named the Euroleague's Rising Star Trophy winner for the 2012-13 season
. The award goes every year to the best player under the age of 22 competing on a Euroleague team. Papanikolaou narrowly beat out Nikola Mirotic, the 23rd pick in the 2011 Draft, for the award. From the press release ...
One of the heroes for Olympiacos as it became champion in breathtaking fashion a year ago, Papanikolaou improved his reputation for great performances in big games this season. He also made a smooth transition for promising young talent to a pillar in the Reds' drive to repeat as Euroleague title-holders. During this 2012-13 season, Papanikolaou boosted his production in every major statistical category, led the Euroleague in three-point accuracy and collected his first bwin MVP of the Week honor. His never-ending hustle, feel for the game at both ends of the court, and tremendous confidence have helped Papanikolaou develop into an exciting force to watch.
Past winners of the award include Rudy Fernandez, Ricky Rubio, Danilo Gallinari and Andrea Bargnani.
(By the way, that Ray Felton sign-and-trade might go down as the best low-key move of the 2012-13 season. Neil Olshey traded one player who wasn't going to come back (Felton) and a 40 year-old (Kurt Thomas) for Jared Jeffries (who has since been waived), Dan Gadzuric (who was immediately waived and did not make an NBA roster this season), a trade exception and the rights to Georgios Printezis, both of which were used to acquire Eric Maynor from Oklahoma City, and the rights to Papanikolaou, who is, if the award is to be believed, one of the best young players in Europe. That's getting something for nothing.)