A slightly belated congratulations this morning go out to CSKA Moscow’s Viktor Khryapa, who became the Euroleague’s answer to Dwight Howard in taking the “Euroleague Best Defender” trophy and snapping Panathinaikos’ Dimitris Diamantidis’ five-year stranglehold on the award.
Meanwhile, NBA fans need take note: Finishing second was FC Barcelona wunderkind Ricky Rubio in what was reportedly “a very close race” – “one of the closest ever” reportedly – among the top three, with Diamantidis finishing third. In fourth through sixth places came Barça’s Fran Vazquez, CSKA’s J.R. Holden, and Stephane Lasme at Maccabi Tel Aviv.
And if you think this is just an excuse to post some YouTubes, well, you know BallinEurope well enough. Clips after the break.
First, the official highlight video of Khryapa khrushing:
Now, in Rubio’s case, the offensive play usually gets the YouTube coverage. But here’s a nice sample from poster AnAvailibleUserName (hey, that’s what it says here) which is succinctly and descriptively described as “Ricky Rubio abusing [Euroleague/ACB rival] Caja Laboral” in “the ultimate example of how a point guard can contribute without scoring.” Specifically, in this case, six steals and five assists in 4.30 of play. (Includes bonus Tiago Splitter and Juan Carlos Navarro sightings.)
That sound you just heard was that of 50,000 Minnesota Timberwolves fans salivating.
As for Diamantidis, here’s a trippy and cram-packed highlight reel of the Greek’s play over the past couple of seasons…
…something Spartanly called “THE BIG BLOCK” (this one’s duplicated a zillion times on the ‘Tube; posterized is Alex Acker)…
…and, as a flashback, here’s Diamantidis, his individual defense perhaps not quite yet peaked, destroying Chris Paul with a mighty block back in the 2006 FIBA Worlds.
Until next time, remember: Always play tenacious D; you will be rewarded.