No matter what a player's age, the learning curve in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague is steep for newcomers. Some players adapt quickly and put themselves on a track to impact the league long-term. That was true of many first-timers last season who now are back, though some with different teams, to show what they have learned. Here are the top 10 sophomores whom everybody, especially opponents, should be watching out for in the 2023-24 season.
Top 10 super sophomores in the 2023-24 EuroLeague
A midseason pickup, Moneke helped Monaco reach the Final Four with a solid Game 5 in the playoffs, but had best performance vs. Baskonia, where he has landed to showcase his forte: dominating the boards.
Ojeleye averaged 12.6 points for Virtus over his last 17 games last season, his best of which came in Valencia. His shooting rates – 58.9% on two-pointers, 46.1% on threes and 87.0% at the foul line – were exceptional for a rookie.
In 12 games with Milan, Napier averaged 15.0 points, 3.9 assists and 16.4 PIR while hitting 45.6% on triples and 87.5% on free throws. He also showed he can run an offense and defend the ball, which should make him invaluable for Zvezda.
EuroLeague coaches voted him the Rising Star Award winner after he started more than half of Partizan's games for Zeljko Obradovic. Madar's head is always in the game, which is what Fenerbahce fans can count on from their dependable new point guard.
Edwards came off the bench for 8.0 points in 15 minutes per game for Fenerbahce, but showed he can take over, as in a Game 2 playoffs road win at Olympiacos. At Bayern, he will get a lot more opportunity to show even more.
In his rookie EuroLeague season, Brazdeikis dropped more points than any Zalgiris player and upped his output to 13.7 per game in the playoffs. He had 19 double-digit scoring games last season, but may not need to do that much now that he has changed jerseys for runner-up Olympiacos.
He matched the second-highest PIR in any single game last season while helping Maccabi within a victory of the Final Four. Colson's top-10 finish in rebounding (5.6) and top-25 in PIR (13.1) stand to get better with a year of learning the competition behind him.
Kotsar opened his EuroLeague career as the MVP for Round 1 and finished the season ranked eighth in PIR per 40 minutes at 26.1, with three former season MVPs above him on that list. If he improves his free-throw shooting, the sky will become the limit for him.
Ranked third in PIR (27.5) and fourth in points (24.9) per 40 minutes, Motley was a force to be reckoned with as a rookie. His top-12 finishes in scoring (14.5), rebounds (5.4) and PIR (16.0) leave little to improve upon. Fener fans would love a repeat performance.
Walking into the EuroLeague and leading your team to within a victory of the playoffs is rare. Thompson's league-best 6.7 assists for Baskonia were just one indicator. His poise and late-game leadership landed him in Efes to replace Vasilije Micic, which indicates the rest.