Although the FIBA Europe Cup is not at the level of the Euroleague or the EuroCup, the competition had been pretty good until it was suspended. The most dominant teams were Pinar Karsiyaka, Ventspils, and Bahcesehir College.
However, the efficiency top consists of three players that come from teams that didn’t make it to the quarter-finals.
1. Jeff Withey (Ironi Ness Ziona)
The American was the most efficient player in the FIBA Europe Cup, having an average of 23.7. Withey had spent some years in the NBA, playing for New Orleans Pelicans, Utah Jazz, and Dallas Mavericks. His experience was a huge factor for Ironi Ness Ziona as he averaged 14.9 points/game and 8.3 rebounds/game.
An interesting detail is that Jeff Withey started the season with three games in which he had an efficiency bigger than 30. In all those matches he finished with a double-double: 23 points, 11 rebounds vs. Kapfenberg Bulls (+36), 19 points, 14 rebounds vs. Keravnos (+34), and 14 points, 11 rebounds vs. Landstede Hammers (+31).
2. Tayler Persons (ZZ Leiden)
Persons is maybe the biggest surprise of this top because he is in his first season as a pro-athlete and usually it takes some time to get used to the European style of play. However, Leiden’s player was very good and his stats are showing this: 18.6 points (2nd), 4.5 rebounds, 8.1 assists (2nd), and 21.6 at efficiency.
His best game was against Inter Bratislava in the second leg of the regular season. Taylor Persons played 38 minutes and finished with 28 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, and +37 at efficiency. Considering how young this player is I think he may be a future star not only in the FIBA Europe Cup but also in EuroCup or maybe Euroleague.
3. Tomislav Zubcic (Enisey Krasnoyarsk)
Zubcic is one of the most experienced players in the FIBA Europe Cup. During his career, the Croatian played for a lot of good teams such as Cibona Zagreb, Avtodor Saratov, Telekom Baskets Bonn, Ikogea or Manresa.
Last summer, Tomislav Zubcic decided to accept the offer received from Enisey Krasnoyarsk and he soon became one of the most important players of this team. He averaged 16.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.5 assists and his efficiency was 20.6.
In the second round, when Enisey played against Bascesehir College, Zubcic scored 33 points in 32 minutes and he added 6 rebounds, 2 steals, one assist, and one block. He finished with 70.6% FG and he had +36.
4. Trae Golden (Bascesehir College)
Born in Powder Springs, Georgia, Trae Golden is pure gold. He led the competition in points (19.9) and assists (8.5) and got his team to FIBA Europe Cup’s semifinals. In the second leg of the duel with Ventspils, Golden scored 41 points so he set the new scoring record, passing Rashawn Thomas’ 40 points in March 2019.
In that game, he had an efficiency score of +44 so his average went up to 20.2. During the season, Trae Golden had four double-doubles: 24 points, 10 assists vs. CSM CSU Oradea (+28), 15 points, 13 assists vs. BC CSU Sibiu (+21), 22 points, 14 assists vs. Enisey Krasnoyarsk (+23), and 41 points, 11 assists vs. Ventspils (+44).
5. Timothy Shorts II (Ventspils)
T.J. Shorts is another rookie who just finished college at the University of California. He adapted very well in Latvia and he became a true point guard, averaging 6.3 assists (5th in the competition). With 14.6 points and 2.8 rebounds, Shorts had 20.1 at efficiency concluding the top five list.
His best games were against Sigal Prishtina in the first round of the FIBA Europe Cup. First, he finished with 18 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, 4 steals and only one turnover in 31 minutes and then he had 17 points, 8 assists, 3 rebounds, and one steal in 25 minutes.
There is a very small chance that FIBA Europe Cup will resume its season but whatever will happen we will remain with the amazing performances of these players.