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Interesting news from our Finnish sports-writing friend:

Petteri Koponen wins the Finnish MVP award

It's official: Finnish League team captains and head coaches have selected Honka Playboys' Petteri Koponen as the Most Valuable Player in the League. In 36 regular season games, Koponen averaged 19 points, 3,9 assists, 3,6 rebounds and 1,8 steals a game while shooting his 2pt field goals 56,4%, 3pt field goals 42,6% and free throws 78,6%.

In playoffs, Koponen played only six full games before he was sidelined for four games because of broken thumb. Koponen's seventh playoff game was the deciding game of the finals series. Koponen entered the game with 8:30 remaining and scored one point and delivered two assists. His playoff averages were 15,6 points, 4,7 assists, 2,6 rebounds and 2 steals a game (the stat line notably affected by that finals game 4 cameo). Koponen shot in the playoffs even better than during regular season: 2pt fg 57,6%, 3pt fg 47,6%. His free throws dropped a bit to 73,3%.

Despite just turning 20, Koponen isn't the youngest all time winner of the Finnish league MVP award. The youngest winner ever is Finnish national team starting point guard Teemu Rannikko (6-2", 1980). Rannikko won the award in 1999 as an 18-year old. Rannikko is currently the sixth man of Russian powerhouse Khimky, playing alongside former NBA players Daniel Ewing, Maciej Lampe and Pat Burke. Last year Rannikko was the starting point guard of Euroleague team Olimpia Ljubljana and averaged 14,6 points and 3,3 assists a game in Euroleague competition.

The Finnish league MVP vote was very tight this year. Koponen's teammate, Finnish national team forward Jukka Matinen (6-7", 1978) lost the MVP award with just one vote difference. Matinen averaged 17,7 points and 4,5 rebounds a game while draining 53,8% of 2pt shots, 46,3% of 3pt shots and 87,3% of free throws. Matinen has also won the German Bundesleague championship with Frankfurt Skyliners.

Here's a couple of minutes of video footage from Finnish finals game 4 including glimpses of Petteri:



Click Here

--Dave (