J’Covan Brown claims MVP of the Week honors
JERUSALEM (Israel) - J’Covan Brown has been named Gameday 11 MVP after delivering on Wednesday night his most stellar Basketball Champions League performance since joining Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem.
The 29-year-old guard registered an efficiency rating of 31, his best in the past two BCL seasons, to help the Israeli team outlast Anwil Wloclawek 107-102 on the road in one of the most high-scoring contests in competition history.
I am standing ready for the team and when my number is called I am just trying to help out, do my job - J'Covan Brown
Brown collected a double-double of 21 points and 10 assists and also brought down 6 rebounds in 28 minutes off the bench. Even more importantly, he provided an excellent definition of the 'clutch player' term, when he came back on with his team trailing 96-93 and about two minutes left in the game.
The crafty American guard dished out two assists, then drained the go-ahead three-pointer 46 seconds from time and proceeded to sink two free-throws that sealed the deal for Hapoel, as if it was just another day in the office.
"I am standing ready for the team and when my number is called I am just trying to help out, do my job, and that's what I was able to do [Wednesday night]," Brown told championsleague.basketball.
"I don't think it's that [I am thriving in the clutch], I was just able to take my shots in rhythm and be a good teammate and find the open guy when they trapped on the ball or double-teamed.
We have a great group of guys on this team that can make unbelievable plays when they get the chance - J'Covan Brown
"I have a lot of faith in those guys to pass it to them and when it's my time to shoot the ball I shoot it with confidence and whatever happens, happens," Brown said.
In addition to prevailing in quite possibly the most entertaining game of the season so far, Hapoel also wrote another page of competition history on Wednesday, as they became the first team to have four players scoring 20 or more points in a single BCL game.
What we have in this locker-room is amazing. When we play like this, we're a very hard team to stop - J'Covan Brown
"It just shows you the character of our team," Brown said.
"We have a great group of guys on this team that can make unbelievable plays when they get the chance.
"That's the way Coach put this team together, great guys that can pass the ball and are willing to play together. [Against Anwil] we showed again what we have in this locker-room is amazing. When we play like this, we're a very hard team to stop.
Brown is certainly hard to stop this season, as reflected in his stat lines: He is averaging 15.3 points and 4.3 rebounds, up from 9.1 points and 2.2 rebounds last year, while his assists average has remained unchanged at 4.2 per game. His average efficiency rating has risen to 16.2 from 9.2 in the 2018-19 season.
"Coming into this season, I wanted to be able to be there always for my teammates," he said.
"My main focus was on being consistent on the court, to be consistent through wins and losses, something I lacked last season.
We just wanted to come back and do everything it takes to get to the Final Four and hopefully host it in Jerusalem - J'Covan Brown
"This season I have managed to get into great rhythm, I feel that my mind is clear and I am having fun again. That's what it's it all about."
Brown, who earns weekly MVP honors for the first time in his career, had previously earned a spot on Team of the Week on two occasions. The second was for Gameday 9 of the inaugural BCL season, when he registered a career-high efficiency rating of 35 as he propelled Pinar Karsiyaka to a 99-59 rout of Reyer Venezia.
At Hapoel of course, there is such abundance of talent that this is already the third time this season the Jerusalem club see one of their players being named weekly MVP - James Feldeine earned the distinction on Gameday 3 and TaShawn Thomas followed up on Gameday 11.
After winning the accolade Thomas stated that his and the entire team's big goal for the year was to advance past the Quarter-Finals, where Hapoel fell last season, and make it to the Final Four.
"Of course I share this feeling, we know that we let it slip out of our hands last season," Brown said.
"Basically this year we just wanted to come back and do everything it takes to get to the Final Four and hopefully host it in Jerusalem. It's going to be a great atmosphere here if this happens, you know.
"We just have to take it step by step, worry about one game at a time and it's going to take care of itself."