By Giannis Rammas/ email@example.com
Modern basketball requires big men who have athletic qualities. It requires fast pace in offense too, but without defense you’re not going anywhere. So, being an athletic big man doesn’t just mean alley-oop dunks, it also means blocks. Eurohoops answers all the big questions on the topic of rejections just before the end of the regular season, which has seen a spike in the number of blocked dunks.
Next stop… Udoh
Ekpe Udoh is in his second season with Fenerbahce Istanbul and his opponents already know him pretty well. Some know him better than others. The 30-year-old American has… turned the lights out 53 times in 24 games this year and he’s heading full steam towards breaking his own record of 61 blocks (in 27 games) in his first season with the Turkish champs. Udoh has the highest average this year with 2.21. blocks per game. Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul’s Alex Tyus is next on the list with 43 blocks from 28 games and the second-highest average: 1.54.
Unics Kazan’s Belarusian Art Parakhouski (1.37 bpg.) has squeezed his way into an otherwise all-American top five, which is completed by Anadolu Efes Istanbul’s Bryant Dunston (1.14 bpg.) and Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens’s Chris Singleton (1.11 bpg.). The rest of the Top 10 consists of Real Madrid’s Anthony Randolph, Efes’s Tyler Honeycutt, Galatasaray’s Tibor Pleiss, Brose Bamberg’s Daniel Theis and Olympiacos Piraeus’s Khem Birch.
You have read about those blocking shots, now let’s see whose shots they are blocking. Those that take the most shots on their teams would seem like the main candidates. Topping the list is a pair of Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul scorers; Brad Wanamaker has had his shot rejected 24 times and Will Clyburn has seen 23 of his shots sent back. Completing the top five is Charles Jenkins (19) of Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade, Kyle Hines (18) of CSKA and Vassilis Spanoulis (18) of Olympiacos Piraeus.
Vrankovic’s record still holds
Nikola Vujcic is the only player with a triple-double in the EuroLeague, which he did twice over the years for Maccabi Tel Aviv (11 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists on 3/11/05 and 27 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists on 30/11/06). Since then, many have come close to this record, but there is one who almost did it before him. That was Stojan Vrankovic, who had 9 points, 15 rebounds and 10 blocks for PAF Bologna in a 74-75 win over Cibona in Zagreb on 8/2/01. This double-digit number of blocks remains unreachable to this day. Grigorij Khizhnyak came close with 8 for Zalgiris Kaunas in 2000-01, as did Udoh with Fenerbahce last year.
The top of the top
Fran Vazquez has the honor of being the only player in competition history with more than 200 blocks to his credit. To be precise, he swatted away 249 shots in 254 games (0.98 on average) over 12 years in the EuroLeague. Panathinaikos’s Ioannis Bourousis is well behind in second place, but is only 9 blocks away from becoming the second player in the annals of the competition to reach 200. The CSKA Moscow duo of Victor Khryapa (156) and Kyle Hines (153), Zalgiris veteran Robertas Javtokas (144) and Alex Tyus of Galatasaray (142) are the only players currently active and listed in the Top 10.
CSKA threatens Zalgiris’s record
Zalgiris is represented in most lists of blocks and could not be missing from the one with the most blocks in a game, as they actually hold the record with 12, which was accomplished twice. CSKA came close to equalizing/beating that in the round before last (27th), when they rejected 10 shots in the 95-85 home win over Darussafaka. At least the Russian champion holds the record for most blocks in a year: (125 in 30 games in 2015).