By Jared Grellet
|Okben Ulubay of Turkey was voted the MVP of the U16 European Championship |
Turkey's Okben Ulubay has been named MVP at the Dadu U16 European Championship and consequently also heads the all-tournament team.
Playing on a side that championed the team game, Ulubay was the most consistent performer, averaging a team-best 11.3 points and 5.1 rebounds a night.
The athletic 2.00 metre small forward provided plenty of highlights at the tournament with his crowd-pleasing dunks.
Improving as the tournament progressed, Ulubay's biggest performance came in his team's semi-final victory over Serbia when he came close to recording a double-double, finishing with 17 points, nine rebounds and three assists.
Voted on by the coaches of all 16 teams who appeared at this year's championship, Ulubay leads an all-tournament team that also includes Croatian center Marko Arapovic, Italian playmaker Federico Mussini, German swingman Jan Wimberg and French guard Etienne Ory.
Arapovic finished the tournament averaging the second most points a night with 19, alongside 7.7 rebounds, living up to his billing as one of the most promising Europeans born in 1996. His biggest performance came against Turkey in the opening round, finishing the game with 32 points and 13 rebounds.
Rounding out the front court alongside Ulubay and Arapovic is Wimberg. The swingman showed versatility in the front and back court, looking just as comfortable jacking up threes as he did posting up under the basket. Wimberg averaged 12.6 points and 7.9 boards a game.
In a tournament dominated by big men, Mussini and Ory were the standout little men. Despite lacking the big stats of some of the other players in Lithuania and Latvia, Ory's role at leading his team to the gold medal game could not be questioned as he successfully ran the best defensive unit over the course of the two weeks.
Mussini was integral in organizing the second-best offensive team at the tournament, playing over 30 minutes a night to average 14.6 points. The 1.79 meter playmaker showed his true value to his team in their quarter-final victory over Poland, scoring a game-high 20 points, including a crucial free-throw to extend the lead to three in the final moments.
For the spirit in which they played the game, Ukraine was awarded with the fair play award.