By Antonis Stroggylakis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
VITORIA-GASTEIZ – “Honestly, I am surprised”, said Jan Vesely just after the official announcement, probably because he will not compete in Sunday’s Final. However, the Czech big man had an outstanding season and he was compensated with the season MVP trophy.
According to the official press release:
Vesely, 29, is playing in his eighth EuroLeague season and was chosen for the All-EuroLeague First Team for the third time as the driving force as Fenerbahce racked up 28 wins going into the final day of the season on Sunday. Vesely ranked fourth in the EuroLeague with an average performance index rating of 17.9 while also leading Fenerbahce in scoring, rebounds, steals and blocks per game. Vesely was revealed as this season’s MVP at the 2018-19 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Awards Ceremony in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain on Saturday.
An always-spectacular player known for his show-stopping dunks, Vesely raised his game to MVP levels this season with a dominant start to the season, averaging a 22.1 PIR as Fenerbahce raced to a 17-2 record to set the pace and eventually qualify for the playoffs earlier than any team ever. He opened the season with his second-best PIR until then, 34, in a home win over Herbalife Gran Canaria. He then posted his season-high scoring total of 24 points and matched his career-high PIR of 36 in an early-season showdown with eventual finalist Anadolu Efes Istanbul. The fourth-best PIR of his 204-game EuroLeague career, 33, soon came in a Round 13 home win against this season’s other finalist, CSKA Moscow. He was named the MVP for December, the second such distinction of his career, for leading Fenerbahce to a 5-0 record that month. A month later, Vesely underwent knee surgery, but returned in a matter of weeks to resume his team’s march toward a 25-5 record, the best in three years under the EuroLeague’s new 30-game regular season format.
Here’s what Jan Vesely himself had to say after the award ceremony.