Sasha Vezenkov

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Sasha Vezenkov
Sasha Vezenkov 14 FC Barcelona Bàsquet 20180126 (2).jpg
Vezenkov with Barcelona, in 2018
No. 14 – Olympiacos
PositionPower forward
LeagueGreek Basket League
EuroLeague
Personal information
Born (1995-08-06) 6 August 1995 (age 23)
Nicosia, Cyprus
NationalityBulgarian / Greek / Cypriot[1]
Listed height6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)
Listed weight225 lb (102 kg)
Career information
NBA draft2017 / Round: 2 / Pick: 57th overall
Selected by the Brooklyn Nets
Playing career2011–present
Career history
2011–2015Aris
2015–2018Barcelona
2018–presentOlympiacos
Career highlights and awards

Aleksandar "Aleks" Vezenkov (alternate spelling: Alexander "Alex" Vezenkof) (Bulgarian: Александър "Алекс" Везенков; Greek: Αλέξανδρος Βεζένκοφ; born 6 August 1995), commonly known as Sasha Vezenkov[2] (Bulgarian: Саша Везенков; Greek: Σάσα Βεζένκοφ), is a professional basketball player for Olympiacos of the Greek Basket League and the EuroLeague. He is a 2.06 m (6 ft 9 in) tall[3] 102 kg (225 lb.)[4] power forward. Vezenkov was born in Cyprus, and was raised in Greek communities in Cyprus and Greece.[5][6] However, due to his Bulgarian descent, he has Bulgarian citizenship, and he has regularly chosen to represent the Bulgarian national team, on both the junior and senior levels.[7][8][9] Despite that, Vezenkov holds triple citizenship for Bulgaria, Cyprus and Greece.[10]

Early career[edit]

Vezenkov, who was always considered to be one of the best youth players in Europe in his age group, began playing youth club basketball in Cyprus in 2005 with APOEL Nicosia's youth teams. In 2009, he moved to Greece and began playing youth club basketball with Aris' youth teams, until 2011, when he joined Aris' senior men's club.[11] He trained for several years at Nick Galis Hall, located near the center of Thessaloniki, Greece.

On 16 May 2013, Vezenkov committed to play American college basketball in the Big East Conference, at Xavier University, with the Xavier Musketeers.[12] However, he ultimately decided to stay in Greece with his club team Aris instead.[13]

Professional career[edit]

Vezenkov began his pro career with the senior men's team of Aris, in the Greek League, in 2011, appearing in 10 games, with an average of 2.5 minutes on the floor.[14] In the 2012–13 season, he appeared in 21 games, averaging 3.9 points and 2.5 rebounds per game.[15] He was named the Greek League Best Young Player in 2013.[16]

In August 2013, he re-signed with Aris for 3 years.[13] In the next season, he established himself in the team, appeared in 26 games and averaged 11.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 0.9 steals per game.[17] He was named the Greek League Best Young Player again in 2014.[18] In the local derby against rivals PAOK, during the 2014–15 season, Vezenkov achieved Greek League career-highs in scoring and rebounding, with 29 points and 14 rebounds respectively.[19] In total, he played in 37 games during the 2014–15 Greek Basket League season, averaging 16.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game.[20] During 26 regular season games, Vezenkov led the league in total points scored, with 469, and was second in total rebounds grabbed, with 201.[21] He was also named the league's MVP, Most Improved Player, and Best Young Player that season.[22] Vezenkov had originally planned to enter the 2015 NBA draft, but later withdrew his name from it before the deadline that was set for international players back in June.

On 31 July 2015, Vezenkov signed a four-year deal (with the 4th year being optional) worth €2 million euros net income,[8] with the Spanish ACB League club FC Barcelona.[23] FC Barcelona also paid a €315,000 euros buyout fee to Vezenkov's former club, Aris.[24] Vezenkov's contract with FC Barcelona also included a buyout option for the NBA, set at the amount of €1 million euros.[25] The Spanish League club Valencia Basket, and the Greek League club Panathinaikos, also were interested in signing Vezenkov to a contract at the time.[24] Vezenkov would then put his name in the 2016 NBA draft, after his first season with Barcelona ended. However, he wound up removing his name from the draft on the 13 June 2016, deadline for international players.

With Barcelona, Vezenkov won the Spanish Supercup title in 2015, and was named to the all Spanish League All-Young Players Team of the 2016–17 season. On June 29, 2018, Barcelona part ways with him.[26]

On July 12, 2018, Vezenkov signed a two-year deal with Olympiacos of the EuroLeague.[27][28]

NBA[edit]

On 22 June 2017, Vezenkov was selected with the 57th overall in the 2017 NBA draft by the Brooklyn Nets.[29]

National team career[edit]

Junior national team[edit]

Vezenkov was a member of the Bulgarian junior national teams. With Bulgaria's junior national teams, he played at the following tournaments: the 2010 FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship, the 2011 FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship, the 2012 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship, the 2012 FIBA Europe Under-20 Division B Championship, and the 2013 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship. He led the 2011 FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship in scoring, with an average of 27.1 points per game.[30]

He led the 2013 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship in scoring, with an average of 22.4 points per game.[31] He also led the 2014 FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship in scoring, averaging 19.3 points per game,[32] and rebounds, averaging 11.2 rebounds per game.[33] He was also named to the tournament's All-Tournament Team.[34]

Senior national team[edit]

Vezenkov also represented the senior men's Bulgarian national team in the second qualification tournament for FIBA EuroBasket 2015, averaging 17.3 points per game, and also being the highest scoring player for the team, in 5 of their 6 games, as well as the team's overall top scorer.[35] He also played at the EuroBasket 2017 qualification.

Career statistics[edit]

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  PIR  Performance Index Rating
 Bold  Career high

Note: The EuroLeague is not the only competition in which the player participated for the team during the season. He also played in domestic competition, and regional competition if applicable.

EuroLeague[edit]

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG PIR
2015–16 Barcelona 22 1 8.9 .457 .444 1.000 1.2 .3 .2 .0 2.7 2.6
2016–17 Barcelona 30 6 18.4 .577 .479 .848 3.2 1.1 .7 .2 7.5 9.7
2017–18 Barcelona 13 1 11.4 .429 .222 .923 2.5 .5 .4 .1 3.5 5.2
Career 52 7 14.4 .548 .469 .868 2.4 .8 .5 .1 5.5 6.7

Awards and accomplishments[edit]

Pro career[edit]

Bulgarian national team[edit]

Individual[edit]

  • 2× Best Young Basketball Player of Bulgaria: 2013–14, 2014–15[36]
  • 2nd place in the Viasport.bg "Best Young Sportsperson of Bulgaria" rankings: 2014[37]

Personal life[edit]

Vezenkov is the son of Ianka Vezenkova (née Gerginova) and Sachko "Sasho" Vezenkov,[38] who has served as both head coach and director of sports of Lukoil Academic.[39][40] Sasho is also a former international basketball player, who played at EuroBasket 1985, EuroBasket 1989, and EuroBasket 1991.[41] Sasho was also the captain of the senior men's Bulgarian national basketball team.[42] Sasho moved to Cyprus, and he played and coached basketball there in the Cypriot Basketball League for many years.

Vezenkov's older sister, Michaela Vezenkova,[43] played college basketball at UNC Wilmington, and also played professionally in the Cypriot women's league.[44] Vezenkova decided to represent Cyprus, rather than Bulgaria, and she eventually became the captain of the Cypriot women's national basketball team.[42]

While living in Greece as a youth, Vezenkov attended Greek schools. Vezenkov is fluent in both the Greek and the Bulgarian languages, with Greek being his native tongue, and Bulgarian being his second language.[5]

Vezenkov officially received Greek citizenship on 30 December 2015,[6] under the official name of Alexander "Alex" Vezenkof (Greek: Αλεξάντερ "Αλέξ" Βεζένκοφ),[45] with his common Greek name being Sasha Vezenkof (Greek: Σάσα Βεζένκοφ). Before acquiring Greek citizenship, Vezenkov had previously stated that he felt like a member of Greek society, since he was born and raised in Greek communities in both Cyprus and Greece.[46]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nationality: Bulgaria/Cyprus/Greece.
  2. ^ VEZENKOV, SASHA.
  3. ^ ΒΕΖΕΝΚΟΦ Αλέξανδρος | HEIGHT 2.06 (in Greek).
  4. ^ ALEKSANDAR VEZENKOV PHYSICALS H: 6' 9" W: 225 lbs.
  5. ^ a b Αλ. Βεζένκοφ: «Νιώθω σαν να είμαι Ελληνας» (in Greek).
  6. ^ a b Ο Βεζένκοφ έδωσε... ελληνικό όρκο! (in Greek).
  7. ^ FIBAEurope.com Aleksandar Vezenkov (Bulgaria) Nationality: BUL.
  8. ^ a b Учен от Харвард превръща Александър Везенков в супериграч (in Bulgarian).
  9. ^ Focus on Aleksandar Vezenkov, FC Barcelona Lassa.
  10. ^ Nationality: Bulgaria/Cyprus/Greece.
  11. ^ Eurohopes.com Aleksandar Vezenkov Miscellaneous.
  12. ^ CollegeBasketballTalk.com Xavier lands 6–8 forward Aleksandar Vezenkov.
  13. ^ a b Ο Αλέξανδρος Βεζένκοβ στον ΑΡΗ για τα επόμενα τρία χρόνια (in Greek). Archived 8 August 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ "Alexander Vezenkov player statistics 2011–12" (in Greek). Greek Basket League. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  15. ^ "Alexander Vezenkov player statistics 2012–13" (in Greek). Greek Basket League. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  16. ^ A1Basket.gr Basket League Greece 2012–13 best rookie: Aleksandar Vezenkov.
  17. ^ "Alexander Vezenkov player statistics 2013–14" (in Greek). Greek Basket League. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  18. ^ ESAKE.gr Καλύτερος νέος παίκτης 2014: ΑΛ. ΒΕΖΕΝΚΟΦ (in Greek).
  19. ^ Το ντέρμπι κρίθηκε στον «αέρα» (in Greek). Greek Basket League. 7 February 2015. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  20. ^ "ΒΕΖΕΝΚΟΦ Αλέξανδρος Basket League ΣΚΡΑΤΣ 2014–15" (in Greek). Greek Basket League. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  21. ^ "Οι κορυφαίοι της κανονικής περιόδου στη Basket League! (pics) Διάβασε περισσότερα στο: Οι κορυφαίοι της κανονικής περιόδου στη Basket League!" (in Greek). gazzetta.gr. 11 May 2015. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  22. ^ VEZENKOV IS THE HEBA MVP. Archived 12 July 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
  23. ^ "Barcelona inks top prospect Vezenkov through 2019". Euroleague.net. 31 July 2015. Retrieved 31 July 2015.
  24. ^ a b Vezenkov, una joya búlgara para el Barça (in Spanish).
  25. ^ Vezenkov announced by Barcelona.
  26. ^ "Agreement for the release of Vezenkov, Diagné and Koponen | FC Barcelona". FC Barcelona. 29 June 2018. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  27. ^ "«Έπιασε» Λιμάνι ο Βεζένκοφ!". olympiacosbc.gr (in Greek). July 12, 2018. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  28. ^ "Olympiacos reshapes frontline with Vezenkov". EuroLeague.net. July 12, 2018. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  29. ^ "BROOKLYN NETS SELECT ALEKSANDAR VEZENKOV WITH 57TH PICK IN 2017 NBA DRAFT". NBA.com. 23 June 2017. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  30. ^ FIBAEurope.com STATISTICAL LEADERS – PLAYERS Points Per Game.
  31. ^ STATISTICAL LEADERS – PLAYERS Points Per Game.
  32. ^ FIBAEurope.com STATISTICAL LEADERS – PLAYERS Points Per Game.
  33. ^ FIBAEurope.com STATISTICAL LEADERS – PLAYERS Total Rebounds.
  34. ^ FIBAEurope.com Osman Headlines All-Tournament Team.
  35. ^ Aleksandar Vezenkov FIBA EuroBasket 2015 Qualification Profile.
  36. ^ gong editors (1 May 2015). "Везенков отново стана Най-добър млад играч в България" (in Bulgarian). gong.bg. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  37. ^ Kamenov, Kalin (24 December 2014). "30-те най-обещаващи млади спортисти на България" (in Bulgarian). kalinkamenov.com. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  38. ^ Sasho Vezenkov
  39. ^ Сашо Везенков: федерацията се ръководи от Тити, "Ту носи баница, ту носи боза, ту с всички", заяви треньорът на Лукойл (PDF) (in Bulgarian). livemedia.bg. 21 May 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 February 2015. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  40. ^ Информация за шампионите в българското баскетболно първенство (PDF) (in Bulgarian). basketball.bg. 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  41. ^ Sachko VEZENKOV (BUL) participated in 6 FIBA / FIBA Zones events.
  42. ^ a b בולגריה מתגעגעת לפיני גרשון (in Hebrew).
  43. ^ Cypriot Basketball players abroad - Part 1.
  44. ^ MICHAELA VEZENKOVA basketball profile.
  45. ^ Ο Βεζένκοφ ορκίζεται Έλληνας Ο Βεζένκοφ ορκίζεται Έλληνας (in Greek).
  46. ^ Βεζένκοφ: "Αγαπώ την Ελλάδα και τον Άρη" (in Greek).

External links[edit]