By Eurohoops Team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Rob Gray was named 7DAYS EuroCup Semifinals MVP, Euroleague Basketball announced Monday.
Gray, 27, averaged 17 points and 15.5 PIR for AS Monaco in the sweep of Herbalife Gran Canaria. He scored 25 points in Game 1 of the best-of-three series charting the course for the Finals berth.
Per the press release: “Rob Gray is the go-to scorer on AS Monaco, the only team to sweep its 7DAYS EuroCup Semifinals series this season. Gray led all scorers with 25 points in Monaco’s 82-77 Game 1 victory over Herbalife Gran Canaria and his buzzer-beater to win Game 2 sent Monaco to its first EuroCup Finals. Gray’s exploits paved the way for Euroleague Basketball to name him the 7DAYS EuroCup Semifinals MVP. His 17.0 points per game were second among players on winning teams in the semifinals and Gray’s 71.4% three-point accuracy was tied for second-best in the quarterfinals behind only teammate J.J. O’Brien.
The Semifinals MVP award was introduced for the 2017-18 season. Scottie Wilbekin of Darussafaka Istanbul was the maiden award-winner and Peyton Siva of ALBA Berlin was chosen in 2018-19. The semifinals were not played last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This season, Virtus Segafredo Bologna guard Milos Teodosic was chosen as the 7DAYS EuroCup Regular Season MVP and his Virtus teammate Vince Hunter was the Top 16 MVP. Monaco players have won the other two awards with Mathias Lessort capturing the Quarterfinals MVP and now Gray getting the semifinals nod.
A EuroCup rookie, Gray raised his already impressive numbers in almost every statistical category in the semifinals. He had averaged 16.3 points on 50% three-point shooting and 77.8% free-throw shooting plus 2.2 rebounds in 13 games through the quarterfinals. The first five of those games came playing for Boulogne Metropolitans 92 in the regular season before he moved to Monaco. Gray shined with 17.0 points on 71.4% three-point shooting and 90% on free throws plus 2.5 rebounds in the semifinals.
Gray scored 13 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter in Game 1 of the semifinals to help Monaco hold off Gran Canaria 82-77. After John Shurna drew Gran Canaria within 6 with the first basket of the quarter, Gray scored the next 5 points and kept pacing Monaco. His final basket was a three to make it 71-61 with 3 minutes to go before fouling out. Gray finished with a season-high 25 points on 5-of-6 three-point shooting plus 4-of-4 from the foul line. In Game 2, Gray scored 5 second-quarter free throws and did not have his first basket until 2 minutes into the third when he made it 37-50. Gray watched from the bench as Gran Canaria rallied and he was called on in the final minute. After Andrew Albicy tied the game at 74-74, Coach Mitrovic called Gray’s number on Monaco’s final possession and he made a jumper over Shurna to win the game and series.
Gray made his EuroCup debut this season in what was his third as a professional player. He played college basketball at Howard College and the University of Houston before beginning his professional career in the G-League. Gray first came to Europe in March 2019 to play for JL Bourg-en-Bresse. He returned to France to play for Metropolitans last season and began the current season with the same club before joining Monaco in November. Gray will seek his first team trophy when he leads Monaco into the EuroCup Finals against UNICS Kazan.”
The Top 5 Plays of the Semifinals:
The best-of-three Finals pitting Monaco versus UNICS Kazan are scheduled to start next week, Tuesday, April 27, in Russia.
Photo Credit: EuroCup