AK takes home FIBA Europe’s Player of the Year

Andrei Kirilenko has been voted as FIBA Europe Men’s Player of the Year reclaiming the award he previously won back in 2007.

Whilst most NBA players became frustrated during the lockout that kept them of the courts at the end of 2011, other players found that it worked in their favour.

One player falling into the latter category was Kirilenko, who thrived on the opportunity to return to his native Russia and play for CSKA Moscow.

The small forward terrorised players throughout Europe, leading CSKA to the EuroLeague final; a VTB League Championship; and victory in Russia’s domestic league, the BEKO PBL.

His EuroLeague performances were enough to earn him EuroLeague MVP and a position on the All-EuroLeague First Team.

In summer his attentions turned to London as the Russians gunned for an Olympic basketball medal for the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union. They achieved just that with Kirilenko playing a starring role in earning the Russians a bronze.

Following summer, Kirilenko ended a 10-season relationship with the Utah Jazz, with the 31-year-old instead reviving his NBA career with the European-laden Minnesota Timberwolves.

With franchise player Kevin Love missing the beginning of the season, Kirilenko took on a bigger scoring role, taking his European form back to the biggest league in the world.

“Andrei is a deserving winner of this award. It is a mark of the man that he has been able to retain his high-intensity throughout the year in a number of competitions,” said FIBA Europe President Olafur Rafnsson.

“It was fantastic to see Andrei excelling at domestic and international level in 2012 and I hope for him that he can continue with the same form this year,” added FIBA Europe Secretary General Kamil Novak.