By Eurohoops Team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Shortlisting five candidates for the January MVP award shaped the Basketball Champions League Team of the Month.
Hapoel Atsmon Holon’s Joe Ragland, Rytas Vilnius’ Marcus Foster, JDA Bourgogne Dijon’s Markis McDuffie, AEK’s Akil Mitchell, and Bahcesehir Koleji’s Jerry Boutsiele made the cut, as announced Monday.
Per the press release: “January was marked by the Play-In series and the beginning of the Round of 16. These five players excelled, earning their spot on Team of the Month, the first one in the 2023 part of the Basketball Champions League season seven.
Joe Ragland was impressive for Hapoel Atsmon Holon, guiding them to a 2-0 series win over Igokea m:tel in the Play-Ins. He had 12 points and 14 assists to open up his 2023 account, then followed it up with 20 points and 13 assists in the reverse fixture.
The start of the Round of 16 was impressive too, despite the overtime defeat in Strasbourg. Ragland finished that game with 27 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists.
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The other guard spot belongs to Rytas Vilnius’ superhero Marcus Foster. The 27-year-old had to go through three Play-In games against PAOK mateco and a Round of 16 fixture v BAXI Manresa, and he was superb in all four, averaging 22.3 points per game in January.
Foster knocked down 14 three-pointers in those four, a gigantic increase compared to 12 total three-pointers made in the six Regular Season games.
JDA Bourgogne Dijon also went through three games in the Play-In Series, and after taking care of Peristeri, they went on to stun Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem on the road, too.
While it’s usual to talk about David Holston and Gavin Ware when Dijon are winning, this time around it was Markis McDuffie who took over with 27, 20, 20 and 16 points in those four games, while also grabbing 7.5 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game.
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Inside the arc, Jerry Boutsiele was the biggest reason why Bahcesehir College made it through to the Round of 16. The French center had 17 points and 8 rebounds in Game 1 against Filou Oostende, then had another big performance in Game 2 with 17 points and 5 rebounds, but it was his Game 3 that was a historical night.
Boutsiele finished with 20 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and tied the all-time BCL record with 7 blocks in a single game. He had a 10-point, 11-rebound double-double against Telekom Baskets Bonn to start the Round of 16.
The other big man in the Team of the Month is Akil Mitchell. AEK fans must be delighted to have a dominant force like Mitchell on the low block, he had 16 points and 7 rebounds to give AEK the lead over Tofas in the Play-Ins, and ended the Turkish club’s season with a monster double-double of 21 points and 14 rebounds, with 6 assists in Game 2.
Mitchell also had 18 points and 13 rebounds against Unicaja in Malaga in the Round of 16, but it was not enough to defeat the Spanish juggernauts, especially not without Tim Frazier and Alexander Madsen.
The MVP of January will be announced on Tuesday morning.”
Photo Credit: Basketball Champions League