Artem Klimenko Named VTB United League's Young Player Of The Year

Avtodor center Artem Klimenko has been named the 2015-16 VTB United League Young Player of the Year.

Several factors went into choosing the Young Player of the Year (for players 23 and under): top three rankings from each of the seven regular season months, efficiency rating and input from the league's expert panel, which features 12 basketball legends from across Eastern Europe: Gundars Vetra (Latvia), Ivan Edeshko (Russia), Sergei Elevich (Russia), Jiri Zidek (Czech Republic), Andrei Kirilenko (Russia), Ilona Korstin (Russia), Nikita Morgunov (Russia), Hanno Mottola (Finland), Martin Muursepp (Estonia), Egor Meshcheryakov (Belarus), Sergei Tarakanov (Russia) and Valery Tikhonenko (Kazakhstan/Russia).

Avtodor center Artem Klimenko came out on top, earning 8 points. He beat out VEF forward Janis Berzins (6 points) and Enisey guard Denis Zakharov (5 points) in the final rankings.

Artem Klimenko played in 27 games during the regular season, averaging 7.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.1 assists and an efficiency rating of 9.2. Klimenko was Avtodor's starting center, helping the club finish 6th in the standings, the team's best result yet in the league.

This is the 4th season that the league has awarded the Young Player of the Year. Sergey Karasev was honored in 2012-13, Edgaras Ulanovas and Dmitry Kulagin split the award in 2013-14 and Janis Timma picked up the title in 2014-15.

- First of all, I want to thank the VTB United League Panel for highly rating my performance this season, - Klimenko told VTB-League.com. - It's nice to be the best, especially with such strong competition. Avtodor had a good showing in the league: 6th place. Unfortunately, we couldn't improve on our place in the postseason, but it was still a successful season for the club. Personally, I took a step forward compared to last season. I got stronger and tougher emotionally. I gained experience. I was essentially the starting center on the team and had a lot of playing time. I had enough opportunities on offense: my teammates trusted me and I tried not to let them down. At the same time, there's a lot to work on and ways to improve in different areas of the game, especially getting stronger and improving my endurance. It's very physical in the paint in the VTB United League. I don't want to come up short. I'll relax for a few weeks after the season then get back to work. Next season, I hope to be more consistent. I don't want to disappear for stretches or drop below a certain level. I'd like to push off from that foundation and continue progressing.

How the Young Player of the Year was selected:

Monthly Top 3*:
1. Artem Klimenko (Avtodor) - 3 points (9 point - two 1st place finishes, one 2nd place, one 3rd place)
2. Denis Zakharov (Enisey) - 2 points (8 points - one 1st place finish, two 2nd place, one 3rd place)
3. Janis Berzins (VEF) - 1 point (7 points - one 1st place finish, two 3rd place)
* - 3 points for finishing first, 2 points for second and 1 point for third.

Efficiency Rating:
1. Janis Berzins (VEF) - 3 points (10.5 average)
2. Artem Klimenko (Avtodor) - 2 points (9.2)
3. Chasson Randle (Nymburk) - 1 point (8.5)

VTB United League Expert Panel:
1. Artem Klimenko (Avtodor), Denis Zakharov (Enisey) - 3 points (each received four votes)
2. Janis Berzins (VEF) - 2 points (3 votes)
3. Mikhail Kulagin (CSKA) - 1 point (1 vote)

Final Results:
1. Artem Klimenko (Avtodor) - 8 points
2. Janis Berzins (VEF) - 6 points
3. Denis Zakharov (Enisey) - 5 points
4. Mikhail Kulagin (CSKA) - 1 point
4. Chasson Randle (Nymburk) - 1 point