By Johnny Askounis/ email@example.com
The exciting start to his second campaign in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague receives a major highlight as Chris Jones was named Regular Season Round 8 MVP, Euroleague Basketball announced Saturday.
Jones, 28, was the top performer for LDLC ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne in the narrow win over UNICS Kazan on Thursday at Astroballe. The American point guard registered 25 points behind 9/14 field goals, three assists, three rebounds, and one steal. The French side improving to 6-2 is tied with Olympiacos, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv in second place of the standings trailing only AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milano.
The 27 PIR was enough for the first EuroLeague MVP award of his career despite actually ranking third among all players in action on Thursday and Friday. Both Will Clyburn at 34 PIR and Mario Hezonja at 29 were eliminated from the race as CSKA Moscow lost to Fenerbahce Beko and UNICS to ASVEL, respectively.
Elie Okobo, a teammate of Jones, was the Round 7 MVP. The previous winners of the 2021-22 season were Daryl Macon Jr. in Round 6, Clyburn in Round 5, Brandon Davies in Round 4, Tornike Shengelia in Round 2 and 3, and Scottie Wilbekin in Round 1.
Per the press release: “A week after Elie Okobo of LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne took Round 7’s MVP award, in Round 8 it was the turn of his teammate Chris Jones to step into the spotlight as he excelled in an 85-82 home win over UNICS Kazan. Jones scored a career-high 25 points with most of his success coming inside, as he converted 8-of-10 two-point attempts. He also made 6-of-7 free throws and 1-of-4 three-pointers. The ASVEL guard added 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal for a PIR of 27, the best of all winning players this week. The two top individual performances in Round 8, though, came from players who ended up on the losing team. CSKA Moscow’s Will Clyburn had a PIR of 34 in his team’s home loss to Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul, combining 26 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocked shots; and Mario Hezonja of UNICS contributed 27 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists for a PIR of 29 in the loss to ASVEL. Derrick Williams of Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv had 21 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals for a PIR of 26 in a road win over Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz. Completing the list of the top performers in Round 8 are four players with PIR 23: Jan Vesely of Fenerbahce, Guerschon Yabusele of Real Madrid, Tyler Dorsey of Olympiacos Piraeus and Luke Sikma of ALBA Berlin.
Individual highs: Simone Fontecchio of Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz, 5 steals
Hezonja was the top scorer this week with 27 points, but ASVEL’s Okobo remains this season’s leading scorer with 19.6 points per game. Sasha Vezenkov was the only player to reach double-digits in rebounding, grabbing 10 boards in Olympiacos victory over AS Monaco. Luke Sikma of ALBA is still atop the overall charts, averaging 7.9 boards per game. Monaco’s Mike James and Keenan Evans of Maccabi top the round’s assists list with 8, with Nick Calathes of FC Barcelona ranked first in the competition with 5.4 assists per night. Baskonia’s Simone Fontecchio grabbed 5 steals in his team’s loss to Maccabi, the most this week, while John Brown of UNICS leads the league in steals with 2.5 per game. Ben Lammers returned from injury to register 3 blocked shots in ALBA’s win at Zalgiris Kaunas. A league leader in blocked shots is Walter Tavares of Real averaging 1.4 blocks. Tavares is also the league’s leader in PIR, with 20.9 per game. Vezenkov was the only player with a double-double this week, scoring 10 points along with his 10 rebounds.”
Below are the Top 10 Plays of Round 8 with Kyle Hines in the first place.
Photo Credit: EuroLeague