Turkish Small Forward Hedo Turkoglu Won NBA’s Most Improve Player Award

Tuesday, April 29 2008 @ 12:47 pm UTC

On Monday, Orlando Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu, a Turkish forward in his eighth National Basketball Association season, was named the league's Most Improved Player here. Turkoglu, who turned 29 last month, received 380 points in a vote of North American media, including 61 first place votes. Rudy Gay of Memphis was second with 167 points with Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge third on 128 points. The award is presented annually to a player for dramatic improvement over one or more seasons and Turkoglu demonstrated that by averaging career highs with 19.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists a game for the Magic. Turkoglu, whose NBA career scoring average is only 11.7 points a game, also hit 40 percent of his 3-point shots and 82.9 percent of his free throws. He averaged 13.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists last season.

Turkoglu becomes the second international player in three years to claim the award, following Frenchman Boris Diaw in 2006. Orlando has had four Most Improved Player winners, the most of any NBA club. Others included Scott Skiles in 1991, Darrell Armstrong in 1999 and Tracy McGrady in 2001.

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