After a stellar rookie season with FMP Belgrade in Serbia, 2017 NBA Draft hopeful Jonah Bolden was named the Adriatic League’s top prospect. Nathan Sobey appears to love Greece, delivering a big offensive display for PAOK Thessaloniki against Jason Cadee and Kymis.
Leaving UCLA early to turn professional has proven to be a wise choice for the promising 6’10 forward, with Bolden’s star rising significantly to the point that he is now firming as a first round NBA draftee. Bolden’s breakout season with FMP Belgrade saw him average 12.9 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1 steal per game in the regular season. He was 4th in rebounding and 17th in scoring across the league, and impressed everyone with his rapid development. While FMP finished the season in 9th position with a 10-16 record and outside of the finals, they helped Bolden realise his NBA potential.
Across in the Greek A1 League, Kymis and Jason Cadee were no match for Nathan Sobey and PAOK Thessaloniki as they were overrun 71-88. Sobey was on fire, 11-of-19 from the field for a game-high 25 points with 2 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals in an eye-catching performance. He was also the highest ranked player for the game (23 rating) and will certainly attract interest from other clubs for next season. For 11th placed Kymis, Cadee started and chimed in with 10 points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals.
Still in Greece, Brad Newley scored 8 points in 15 minutes off the bench in AEK Athens’ 89-63 win against Koroivos. his side remain in third place, just ahead of Sobey’s PAOK who are in 5th position.
Ben Madgen continued his outstanding year in Lithuania in helping lead Lietkabelis Panevezys to a commanding 100-69 victory over Nevėžis. After gaining early control of the contest, Lietkabelis rested it stars to give the bench a good run. Madgen would only play 16 minutes in which time he gathered 8 points (3-of-7 FG), 1 rebound, 3 assists and 2 steals. Lietkabelis remained locked in equal second placed with Lietuvos Rytas, trailing competition benchmark Žalgiris Kaunas by 5 games.
Žalgiris Kaunas experienced a tougher time than Lietkabelis, managed to overcome Juventus 73-71 in a thriller. Despite trailing by 9 points in the third term, Žalgiris fought back strongly to steal the road win. With an important EuroLeague contest to follow, Žalgiris shared the minutes around. Australian forward Brock Motum would come off the bench to contribute 3 points and 2 rebounds in just 14 minutes. His side remains in outright first place and in prime position to defend their Lithuanian crown.
Sharpshooting forward Clint Steindl made 7-of-14 from the field on his way to a team-high 16 points with 2 rebounds in the Leuven Bears’ 69-83 loss to third placed Brussels. Currently in second-last position in the standings, the Bears outgunned from the start and never seriously threatened one of the title contenders. They next take on 5th placed Crelan Okapi Allstar.
The Danish League commenced their finals series, with both Dan Trist and Matt Adekponya in action. Second placed Horsens IC dismantled Randers 112-80 in game 1 of their quarterfinal series. Trist was one of 6 players to score in double figures for the winners, chiming in with 13 points (5-of-9 FG) and 6 rebounds. Adekponya came off the bench to play just 5 minutes for 2 points in Naestved’s narrow 67-72 game 1 loss to Svendborg.
In Estonia, Tartu Rock enjoyed another big win, this time a 94-72 result over 5th ranked Korvpalliklubi Tallinn. Versatile forward Venky Jois started and managed to pull down 8 rebounds with 4 points and 3 assists. Tartu continue to sit atop the Alexela KML standings. However in the Baltic League, Tartu experienced a rare 88-88 draw in the opening game of the quarterfinals against Pieno Zvaigzdes in the best of two game series played at home and away with the series won on aggregate scores. Jois saw just 6 minutes of action off the bench for 2 points, 1 rebound and 1 assist ahead of the return bout in Lithuania.
In his return to Obradoiro Aleks Maric came off the bench to play 12 minutes for 4 rebounds in their 90-83 win against Real Madrid in the Spanish ACB. It was a massive upset by the 16th ranked side against the 2nd placed Real Madrid, helping them stay above the relegation zone.