On the one hand, the man who swept Anadolu Zero for the great season in its history • On the other, the one who became the anchor of the Maccabi Tel Aviv and regained the trust of the fans • It is unclear what is greater, the game between the Turkish and Israeli champions or the battle between Shane Larkin and Scottie Wilbkin
Wilbkin in the victory over Panathinaikus
Shane Larkin. Leading the Euroleague in the index
The Euroleague has been blessed this season with super-players who do everything for their teams, and naturally lead them to the top tier: Mike James, who was undesirable in Milan, has already scored two baskets for CSKA Moscow; Alexei Shabed was and remains the man to rise and fall in Moscow; Nicolas Mirotich demonstrates to everyone every evening why Barcelona poured imaginary sums of money to get him out of the BBC.
Tonight (19:30), at the Sinan Erdem Doom Hall in Istanbul, two of the best scorers will meet in the factory, with Anadolu Zero hosting the Maccabi Tel Aviv. On the one hand, Shane Larkin, Deputy King of the Euroleague's Slim (second only to Sweden), who with Vasilia Mitz Yitzch swept his team from last place to the Final Four, facing Scotty Wilbkin, the undisputed king of the Israeli champion, who is in a great fit, if you will, the next national team of Turkey (President Taipei Erdogan is already running) against the outgoing national .
Well above zero
Larkin was simply not convinced in the summer to stay in Turkey. The NBC teams winked at him, but Larkin ran and signed for two years for $ 5.5 million (fourth in the Euroleague earning table).
This is an insurance certificate for the Turkish team to stay strong in the top. Last season Larkin led her to the big season in her history, with a Euroleague final and a local championship. This season he upgraded (20.6 points versus 12.5 last season), making the club's leaders fantasize about winning the Euroleague history.
There are quite a few reasons why Anadolu, to many, is the best team in Europe and plays the beautiful basketball in the prestigious continent, but above all the main reason is of course her big star.
"He is the best player in Europe today," coach Argin Atman said of him. "He enjoys playing in our team and is comfortable with the style of play we play. Larkin has proven that he is not just a scorer. He can be seen on the hardwood he gives himself 100%. He gives war, reaps rebounds and defends."
Ottman. "Larkin gives 100 percent of himself" // Photo: IP
Anadolu's style of play was exactly matched to him. He has Mitchich, who lowers the ball-carrying load and fits to play alongside him like a glove next to it. If Ataman decides to move into a set of scenes, Rodrigue Boboa and Cronoslav Simon play alongside him - in a deadly lineup outside the arc.
Last season he had some amazing plays, but this season stunned him with a 75: 104 victory over Bayern Munich as he shot 10 threes (equalizing the factory record), finishing with 49 points (all-time record in Euroleague) and with the fifth metric in his history (53).
When he was on his way to the climax, his coach Atman took him out with 4 minutes remaining. He did not understand why and of course he wanted to continue, and after the game heard his coach explain: "Shane forced shots, I took him out to rest half a minute on the bench. He told me: 'But only 4 minutes left.' They'll do enough to score and do it. " And that's exactly what happened.
Recently, he confessed in the United States that he was suffering from OCD, a disruptive disorder that caused him to wash his hands, for example, for bloodshed. For now, Anadolu Zero doesn't bother, all the way to first place in the table.
A strong Turk
If Larkin made Anadolu the most improved team in the Euroleague, Wilbkin does this to Maccabi Tel Aviv this year. Only a year ago, he confronted the team's fans at the conclusion of the impeachment match from the National Cup against Maccabi Rashon. Some of them quarreled quite a bit last year about his form and decision making.
And then, suddenly this season, he became a fan idol, and even composed a special song about "The Most Beautiful in the World" by Eyal Golan. Coach Janis Spropoulos made the start of the season transferring the ball to Nate Walters and now to Yuval Sussman and Tyler Dorsey, and Scottie Wilbkin diverted to his favorite position: the scorer. He gets permission to throw in any situation, and returns an incredible shooting percentage (nearly 4 threes in the game by 45%) and shots that are crucial to games.
"Players are getting better and older in their game," explains David Blatt, who coached him at Drushpaka. "Wilbkin is one of the top scorers. He produces the shots himself and has the highest level of confidence."
Wilkin. Became a fan idol this season // Photo: Oded Karni
Over the past month, Wilbkin has also managed to cover a host of problematic injuries. The record was in the last quarter against Panathinaikus and in the match against Gilboa / Galilee. The rivalry, of course, brings him double-guarding and tries to keep him out of the ball, but nothing stops him this season: he has infinitely improved the ball-free movement, always trying to look for new angles to get the ball. Give him one second to spare - and boom.
Maccabi is aware that Wilbkin started the season in August (with the Turkey team at the World Championships), but every week there is a big game that gets the best of it. It's usually hard for him against Turkish groups who know him well, but the concept of "difficulty" doesn't exist in his lexicon. At least not this season.