Plenty of players came to the fore in Round 5 of the 2023-24 BKT EuroCup Regular Season, as they enjoyed big performances that in several cases led to victories for their teams.
Roll call: Impact performers of all ages
Risacher going from strength to strength
Mincidelice JL Bourg en Bresse improved to a 4-1 record in the EuroCup in Round 5, with 18-year-old Zaccharie Risacher playing a key role in the team’s 78-73 triumph over Buducnost VOLI Podgorica. The French prodigy has reached double digits in points in four of his five EuroCup appearances since joining Bourg from LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne, and his Round 5 outing at Ekinox saw him net a career-best 21 points. Impressively, Risacher knocked down 5 triples from 7 attempts en route to those 21 points, with his other 6 points coming from 3 made two-pointers on 7 shots. Risacher, who is averaging 12.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.2 steals, is certainly making people right across the world take note of his performances.
Hifi continued to showcase his amazing potential
Nadir Hifi has really taken the EuroCup by storm so far this season, with the 21-year-old Paris Basketball guard most recently matching his career high of 20 points in his side’s 79-96 win at Prometey Slobozhanske. Paris is one of just three teams still with an unbeaten record in the competition and, although usual star T.J. Shorts had a bit of an off night in Round 5, Hifi was there to step up. The EuroCup rookie has impressive numbers to this point, having averaged 16.4 points, 1.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists through the first five games, and he keeps getting better. Against Prometey, he had his best PIR to date, 19, after scoring his 20 points in 20:24 minutes on the floor. Admittedly, he also netted 20 against the London Lions last week, but 6 of those points game in the overtime period.
Alexander dominated the glass in London
Hapoel Shlomo Tel Aviv center Kyle Alexander may have contributed just 4 points in his team’s high-scoring 90-98 win on the road at the London Lions, but the 27-year-old certainly made his impact felt on the glass. On a night when Hapoel brought down 37 rebounds, Alexander chipped in with a game-high 13, of which 6 came on the offensive end and 7 were defensive. Those 7 defensive boards are the same number he managed in Round 4, but not quite the season high of 8 he achieved on his EuroCup debut in Round 3. However, his 6 offensive rebounds are by far the most – double his previous high – that he has achieved so far in his brief EuroCup career. It is still early days, but Alexander is showing that he can be a force at the EuroCup level.
Grazulis helps Trento keep rolling
Dolomiti Energia Trento registered its second consecutive victory, downing Turk Telekom Ankara 101-96 at home on Tuesday. Forward Andrejs Grazulis had a lot to do with it, finishing the game with 22 points by making 4 of 6 two-pointers, 3 of 4 three-pointers and 5 of 5 free throws. He added 7 rebounds, a steal and 6 fouls drawn for a PIR of 29. Grazulis was the last Trento player to score in regulation, hitting free throws for an 86-84 score in the next-to-last minute. Once in overtime, Grazulis buried a critical three-pointer that pretty much sealed the outcome, 99-93, with over a minute remaining. Fresh off a really solid performance with Latvia in the 2023 World Cup, Grazulis is playing a leading role for Trento, averaging 12.4 points on great shooting percentages (70.0% 2FG, 47.1% 3FG, 100% FT), 4.8 rebounds and a PIR of 14.2.
Mejeris brought much-need baskets for Cluj
Mareks Mejeris arrived to U-BT Cluj-Napoca this summer with more of a reputation for defense than offense. The 31-year-old forward had been around the block, having debuted in his native Latvia in 2009 and since played in Spain, France, Italy and Israel. That included a stop back home to play 10 EuroCup games with VEF Riga in 2014-15. Back to the competition for the first time since, Mejeris used his fourth game to come up big in Cluj's 59-61 road win at Aris Midea Thessaloniki, scoring his teams last 2 field goals among 12 points to go with 6 rebounds and a block for a game-high PIR of 20. His basket with a minute left drew Cluj within 59-58 and free throws settled it from there as the Romanian club soared to 4-1 in Group B.