FIBA Europe recently opened up the voting for FIBA Europe Player of the Year 2014. The awards are split into four categories: Men, Women, Young Men and Young Women. For each category FIBA releases a list of ten players to vote from based on their performances and/or special achievements at both international and club level in 2014.
Two Phoenix Suns players made the list for the Men's category this year: Goran Dragic and pick #27 of the 2014 Draft Bogdan Bogdanovic. To make it clear: out of all European players ten were selected for this prestigious list and TWO of them are Suns. Kudos to the players, but some props to the Suns front office as well.
For Goran this is nothing new, seeing as he was already on the list last year; mostly because of his outstanding performance in Eurobasket2013 in Slovenia where he also made the All-Tournament Team. He came in 5th place overall, though he had the third most fan votes (final ranking reflects a combination of fan and expert voting). This year FIBA is acknowledging Goran's efforts again:
Fatherhood has failed to slow down Goran Dragic, in fact it has had quite the opposite effect. In 2014 Dragic had his biggest impact on the NBA to date, producing week-in, week-out to earn the 2014 NBA Most Improved Player Award, as well as a spot on the All-NBA Third Team. The lightening-quick point guard was then raising his hand for national team duties, leading Slovenia to seventh spot at the FIBA Basketball World Cup with a team-high 16 points and 4.3 assists per game.
Bogdan, however, is on the list for the first time this year and it comes as no surprise considering the great year he had in Euroleague combined with excellent performances at the 2014 FIBA World Cup.
In what was an underwhelming season for Serbian powerhouse Partizan Belgrade, local lad Bogdanovic was a shining light for the club, leaving more than one European guard clutching at air as he regularly surpassed 20 points against elite European competition in the Euroleague, deservedly winning the Euroleague Rising Star Award. Following an inauspicious beginning to the FIBA World Cup, Bogdanovic's presence grew as the tournament progressed, finishing in double figures in all four of Serbia's knock out games, including 15 in the gold medal game.
Another chance to show support for your favourite players Suns fans. You can vote here once a day for three player you put in your preferred order. Voting closes on January 16th. Fan votes will be combined with votes from selected experts and the results from all categories will be announced from January 19 through January 28.
The eight other players who made the list are: Boris Diaw, Pau Gasol, Alessandro Gentile, Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker, Sergio Rodriguez, Milos Teodosic and Jonas Valanciunas.