Sasha Vezenkov, an MVP at the height of Doncic

We already have Euroleague MVP. Sasha Vezenkov (2.06 m and 27 years old), from Greek Olympiacos, has won the award chosen by fans, media, team captains and coaches. Vezenkov always gave his team enough offensive options to stay one step ahead in the closest race in the history of the top continental competition to finish first in the regular season (24-10 record). With that achievement, Olympiacos made that their home field advantage in the playoff was decisive in the fifth game against Fenerbahรงe in a roaring Palace of Peace and Friendship. So the Greek team will repeat for the second season in a row among the best four. A year ago he was stopped in the semifinals by a triple in extremis from Micic.

This season, Vezenkov has been the competition’s leading scorer with 17.2 points per game and has ranked second in both rebounds (6.8) and two-point shots (4.4). He led the EuroLeague with an average rating of 21.2, becoming the second player after Luka Doncic (2017-18) to stay above 21 after more than 30 games. He also tied for first place in double-doubles (8) and in six of them he had more than 20 points and at least 10 rebounds.

Vezenkov, a Bulgarian international, although also a Greek national and born in Cyprus, entered the Final Four presentation ceremony by videoconference in Kaunas. And in this way they officially announced to him that he was the best player of the campaign. He was accompanied by his father, who was a player, by his mother and his sister. The power forward is the third player from the Piraeus club to win the MVP since the competition started in 2000. Before they succeeded Vassilis Spanoulis (2012-13) and Milos Teodosic (2009-10).

โ€œI am very grateful to the people who have voted for meโ€, Vezenkov said somewhat sheepishly, once he had left the video conference and barged in in person. The star spoke of the great collective challenge that winning the championship supposes for the red army: โ€œLast year was our first Final Four as a joint experience, only a couple of players had it before, and playing it again was our motivation as a team throughout the season. Every Final Four is different, we know that. Now I want to take another trophy homeโ€.

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Vezenkov assures that the prize will not change. โ€œI will continue working to improve and for my team to be successful. I want to show that this has not been a flash of a day, that I can be constant, because that is the most important thing in sport. I am happy for the individual recognition, I would be lying if I said otherwise, but what we have worked for is to win the titleโ€. His trainer, Georgios Bartzokaswas satisfied with the success of his pupil because he has arrived with a collective mentality: โ€œI am very happy that with our system we finished first and that Vezenkov, even though he has amazing stats, he has known how to play for the block. I am very happy for Sasha, because she works and tries very hardโ€.

Vezenkov was named MVP of the month in November and February, tying the best record of any player in a season, and earned five matchday MVP nominations, one shy of a course record. He becomes the second player to win the leading scorer trophy and the MVP award in the same season, after De Colo, who achieved it with CSKA in 2015-16.

The power forward began his career in the Euroleague playing three seasons with Barcelona between 2015 and 2018, including one with his current coach at Olympiacos, Bartzokas. The near future of him points to the NBA, in a couple of months he could decide to make the leap to the United States and play with the Sacramento Kings.

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