04 October 2012
In pre-season he was threatening and against Blancos de Rueda Valladolid he exploded. Nikola Mirotic, 21 years old with a record that already includes a Copa del Rey, a Supercup, an under-20 gold medal and two nominations as the Euroleague’s best young player, achieved another milestone by becoming the youngest player in the ACB to score such a high valuation: 46 points. It is 17 years since a Madrid player scored such a high valuation. It is two years and nine months since we saw such a high valuation in the league. His 26 points (including four from four in three pointers, six out of seven two pointers, and two from three in free throws), ten rebounds, three steals, five blocks and seven fouls drawn have put Mirotic in line to become the MVP for the second round of matches. This is something that excites him as he said before setting off for America: “When the game finished I never thought I would have such a high valuation. It is exciting to be the MVP for the round. It would be my first time and going on tour like that is very exciting. I’m very happy”.
“Every year I set myself targets; every year I want to improve and I think this is the key for a young player who wants to be someone important. This should be my year”. Just two weeks ago as the pre-season finished Mirotic made these comments to the programme 6,75. Today, after the game against Blancos de Rueda Valladolid and before setting off for the USA, Mirotic’s words sound just as considered, but there is a touch of happiness and even surprise in his tone after his feat in Valladolid: “When the game finished I never thought I would have such a high valuation. The statistician Pepe Blanco told me. He came up to me and said that I had scored 46. I was very surprised and to be honest very excited. But I don’t want to get carried away. I always keep my feet on the ground; I always remember that the key is to keep working and that is what I’ll do: keep looking to the future”.
The former youth-team player, who joined the club in 2006, showed in Pisuerga that he has come of age, even being applauded by the home fans for his performance against their team. The applause was well earned. Mirotic made history by becoming the youngest player to get such a high valuation in the ACB rankings. Laso’s apprentice, who will turn 22 in February 2013, scored a valuation of 46 points thanks to match where he did everything right. This figure puts him amongst the top ten valuations of the decade and is the best in the last 33 months. Despite his achievement he is still cautious. “It is true that I had a good all-round game in Valladolid; I felt comfortable from the start. I want to have more games like that but I don’t think a player can maintain that level for the whole year. I’ve worked hard and things are going well for me; it is paying off. I feel more important and more confident and I am happy. But the season is very long and I will stay calm”.
MIROTIC’S PERFORMANCE AGAINST BLANCOS DE RUEDA VALLADOLID
Mirotic has achieved something with Real Madrid that no player has achieved in the last seventeen years; ever since 22 March 1995 when Sabonis and Arlauckas sunk Festina Andorra with valuations of 54 and 50 respectively no player had come close to these scores. Despite this Mirotic played down this fact: “I don’t usually pay attention to what people write as I need to stay concentrated. I don’t let myself dream about anything that I’m not already achieving, which is to be successful with Real Madrid and win trophies. We’ve already won the Copa del Rey and the Supercup and this year we are stronger. Personally I feel at home and I want to win here”.