Janis Blums named League's Top Latvian Player

Astana guard Janis Blums has been named the 2013-2014 VTB United League's Top Latvian Player. He was honored in Astana on May 1 during the Astana - Nizhny Novgorod first-round playoff game.

This is the second-straight year that the VTB United League has honored the top individual players in each of the League's nine countries. In the six nations represented by just one club (Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Belarus, Czech Republic and Kazakhstan), the League picks the winners. Elsewhere, in Russia (represented by 10 clubs), Lithuania and Ukraine (two clubs each), the top player is determined by the League and a leading sports media outlet in that country: Russian information agency R-Sport (RIA-Novosti), Lithuanian website basketnews.lt and Ukrainian website basket-planet.com.

Janis Blums wins the award for the first time (VEF forward Kristaps Janicenoks earned the award last season). Blums played in 18 games for Astana in the VTB United League this season, averaging 10.6 points, 2.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists and an efficiency rating of 10.2.

- I'm happy that I was the one recognized, - said Janis Blums in an interview with VTB-League.com. - There are a lot of other talented Latvian players. This is my second season in the VTB United League and I think that it's one of the three strongest leagues in Europe. I'm happy that I played for Astana this season and that I could help the team make the playoffs. We accomplished our first goal, now we'll keep battling. 

Janis Blums is already the sixth player to be honored as the top player in his country this season. Poland's Damian Kulig (Turow), Estonia's Rain Veideman (Kalev), Ukraine's Kyrylo Natyazhko (Azovmash), Czech Republic's Vojtech Hruban (Nymburk) and Kazakhstan's Anatoly Kolesnikov (Astana) have already been honored. Three more standouts from three League countries (Belarus, Lithuania and Russia) will be announced and receive their awards during the playoffs.