Semen Antonov named League’s Top Russian Player

Nizhny Novgorod forward Semen Antonov has been named the 2013-2014 VTB United League's Top Russian Player. He was honored in Moscow prior to Game 3 of the VTB United League playoff finals. VTB United League general director Andrey Shirokov was on hand to present Antonov with his prize.

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.

Semen Antonov wins the award for the first time (CSKA forward Viktor Khryapa was honored last season). This season, Antonov beat out CSKA center Alexander Kaun and Khimki forward Sergey Monia in the voting by the League and R-Sport (RIA Novosti).  

During the VTB United League regular season, Antonov played in 16 games for Nizhny Novgorod, averaging 13.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists and an efficiency rating of 13.8. The team captain also helped Nizhny advance to the playoff finals, eliminating Astana, Khimki and Lietuvos Rytas along the way, while averaging 12.6 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists and an efficiency rating of 14.9 in the postseason.

I didn’t expect to win this prize, - Semen Antonov told VTB-League.com in an interview. – Of course, it’s very nice, since there are plenty of good Russian players in the League. I remember that Viktor Khryapa won this award last season. This prize isn’t just my individual award—the credit also goes to the whole team. Without my teammates and without the success that Nizhny Novgorod enjoyed, I likely wouldn’t have been recognized as the season’s top Russian player.

Semen Antonov is the ninth and final 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), Kazakhstan's Anatoly Kolesnikov (Astana), Latvia's Janis Blums (Astana), Belarus's Vladimir Veremeenko (UNICS) and Lithuania’s Martynas Gecevicius (Lietuvos Rytas) were honored earlier this spring.