Ryan Broekhoff's stellar season with Russian side Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar has resulted in the 2016 Rio Olympian being named to the 2017-18 All-EuroCup First Team.
Joining Broekhoff on the EuroCup First Team is former Cairns Taipan star Scottie Wilbekin of Darussafaka Istanbul who earned the regular season MVP award. Wilbekin has guided his team to the finals, and a date with Broekhoff's Lokomotiv. Rounding out the top 5 players are Amedeo Della Valle (Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia), Quino Colom (UNICS Kazan) and Devin Booker (FC Bayern Munich).
With Lokomotiv advancing to the EuroCup finals unbeaten throughout the 2017-18 season, Broekhoff was desperately unlucky to sustain a broken thumb just prior to the playoffs, a set-back that saw him ruled out for their championship run. Following a brief return to Australia for surgery, Broehoff has rejoined his team for their best-of-three games championship series tipping off on 11 April Australian time.
Despite being forced to sit out the playoffs, Broekhoff was a model of consistency and at his sharp-shooting best this past season. With a game that fits the '3 & D' modern day NBA-archetype, his outstanding season drew the attention of NBA front offices and resulted in a number of scouts attending his games.
He impressed in leading a talent-laden Lokomotiv in scoring (12.3 ppg) and offensive rebounding (1.6 orpg), while ranking second on the team in rebounding (5.5 rpg). Broekhoff was able to inflict damage at both ends of the court, with his length and athleticism causing trouble defensively, while he literally shot the lights out at the other. Broekhoff's three-point shooting was almost automatic; he made multiple three-pointers in 13 of his 16 appearances, including five games with at least 4 triples made and three games with 5. He ended his season--albeit prematurely--shooting a remarkable 50.6% from beyond the arc (fourth) and an additionally impressive 66.7% from inside it (fifth). He was also among the league leaders in performance index rating (ninth; 16.3 per game) and free throw accuracy (sixth, 88.6%).
Quite simply, he was impressive.
History beckons for Lokomotiv and Broekhoff, despite him not being able to play. With a win in game 1 of the EuroCup finals, Lokomotiv will break the EuroCup record for consecutive wins with 21 straight. Hold aloft the EuroCup title in 2018, and they will win just their second--their first coming in 2013 with another Australian in Aleks Maric on the roster. Broekhoff would also become just the third Aussie to win a EuroCup title, with the only other to do so being Matt Nielsen, a feat he achieved twice (Valencia 2010, Khimki 2012).
Despite the outcome of the EuroCup finals, Broekhoff is on track to return in time for the VTB United League finals, with Lokomotiv sitting comfortably in third place.
Earning All-EuroCup selection is due recognition for an impressive season by Broekhoff. Out of contract at season-end, we could well see the Australian wing in the NBA sooner rather than later.