MOSCOW Pay dirt.
It took nine days, 14,587 miles, a strikeout in Turkey, a terrible case of food poisoning and tanks rolling down the streets in Moscow but we finally found someone who belongs in the NBA.
He is not Russian. He's not particularly athletic. Doesn't play great defense. Isn't 7 feet tall. Passed his 19th birthday 10 years ago. His upside was used up years ago. He even played college ball at Maryland.
But if there's one player in Europe who could make a difference in the NBA next year, it's Maccabi Tel Aviv's Sarunas Jasikevicius.
Jasikevicius led Maccabi to a second straight Euroleague title Sunday, and in the process, won the MVP of the Final Four. He scored 22 points on 7-for-12 shooting, shot 3-for-4 from beyond the arc, and had six rebounds and five assists. However, the stats aren't what makes him appealing.
Jasikevicius is a warrior. He has the soul of a champion. He's led his team to three straight Euroleague titles (his first was with Barcelona in 2003) and shows no signs of slowing down.
He's lapped the competition in Europe.