TaShawn Thomas claims MVP of the Week accolade
JERUSALEM (Israel) - TaShawn Thomas, who delivered one of the best shooting displays in Basketball Champions League history on Tuesday night, has been named Gameday 10 MVP.
The Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem power forward went 10 of 10 from the floor as he collected 23 points in his team's 83-74 win at RASTA Vechta, in Group B action.
It's an honor to make history like that, it's surreal to me. I have people back home hitting me up, talking about it - TaShawn Thomas
Thomas is only the fourth player in competition history to finish a game without a single miss on at least 10 attempts from the field.
"Oh man, I couldn't believe it [when I saw the stat line]," Thomas told championsleague.basketball.
"It's an honor to make history like that, it's surreal to me. I have people back home who are hitting me up, talking about it.
"I am going to enjoy it right now but we still have a lot of work to do in the BCL, so I won't focus on it too much."
The 26-year-old Hapoel forward made all nine of his shots from two-point range and also drained one attempt from beyond the arc.
I feel that the more you go out of your way to make plays, the better it's going to be for your team at any time - TaShawn Thomas
"When I hit that three in the first half I kind of felt pretty good [about my shooting], but I came into the game feeling good, I knew it was a game we had to win," Thomas said.
"We all played very well, it was just my night to not miss a shot and it felt great to be able to perform like that."
Thomas added 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks for a season-high efficiency rating of 32. He has made a habit of filling up the stat sheet, but also contributing to Group B joint-leaders in a variety of intangible ways, on both ends of the floor.
"I am just trying to make the extra play, just trying to get the win," he said.
"I feel that the more you go out of your way to make plays, the better it's going to be for your team at any time.
"So whenever I have the chance to be there for my team, I try to do what I can."
One way [our season] can be better is if we get past the Quarter-Finals, get to the Final Four and get to the championship - TaShawn Thomas
Thomas is certainly doing all he can for Hapoel, this season even more so than the last. The versatile forward earned a spot on Team of the Week on one occasion in 2018-19, while he has already made the Team twice this season, as well as earning his first weekly MVP accolade.
"I am definitely proud because it's always big to win accolades, to get your name out there, but I don't feel more responsibility than before," he said.
"I have just been focused on us as a team winning in the BCL and just try to get to the championship this year."
James Feldeine was the first Hapoel player to be named MVP of the Week this season, on Gameday 3, while their teammate Suleiman Braimoh made Team of the Week on Gameday 2.
These personal achievements can be an indication that Hapoel are on track to have a more successful campaign this season, after getting knocked out in the Quarter-Finals last year by eventual finalists Iberostar Tenerife.
"I can say our season so far is going more or less the way we thought, although we maybe lost a couple of games that maybe we were not expecting to lose," Thomas said.
As long as we stay focused on playing team basketball and playing Jerusalem basketball, I am optimistic we'll make it to the Final Four this year - TaShawn Thomas
"One way it can be better is if we get past the Quarter-Finals, get to the Final Four and get to the championship.
"That was a goal we all wanted last year and we didn't get to. So that is our big goal for the year, getting to the Final Four."
Following the Tuesday success at Vechta, Hapoel are tied with AEK in first place in the Group B standings, on a 7-3 record.
"I am feeling really good because everybody is more focused on locking first place, we see it in our grasp and it's our next goal right now," the Hapoel forward said.
"As long as we stay focused on playing team basketball and playing Jerusalem basketball, I am optimistic we'll make it to the Final Four this year."