MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg's Knight scoops MVP of Week honor after stunning debut
LUDWIGSBURG (Germany) - It will have come as no surprise to hoops fans in Germany that Marcos Knight hit the ground running in the Basketball Champions League this week for MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg.
Knight had 27 points, 5 assists, 6 rebounds and 4 steals to lead his new team to an 87-74 victory at Anwil to keep its BCL Play-Off hopes alive.
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The talented and veteran point guard from Rentz, Georgia, in the United States, who began the season playing in Turkey, proved long ago in Germany that he excels on the hardwood.
He was a leader in the Science City Jena team in the 2015-16 campaign that won promotion to the top flight, the Bundesliga, and then once in the competition the following season averaged more than 18 points per game.
That was the year that MHP Riesen came within a buzzer-beating Jordan Theodore layup for Banvit from making the BCL Final Four. Knight had a good feeling about playing for John Patrick.
"I played against the club (MHP Riesen) previously when I was in Germany and knew exactly how they like to play," he said. "They like to get up and down, play full-court defense. I was pretty familiar with it."
Knight packed his bags and well, he made an immediate impact. He lit up medi Bayreuth in his first game back in Germany on Sunday (January 13), pouring in 22 points.
“I COULDN'T DO ANY OF THIS WITHOUT GOD, MY FAMILY OR MY TEAMMATES. MY TEAMMATES, THEY'RE GREAT. THEY MADE ME FEEL AT HOME RIGHT AS SOON AS I GOT HERE. WE ENJOY BEING THERE FOR EACH OTHER, PICKING EACH OTHER UP ON AND OFF THE COURT.”
He was a perfect 10 of 10 at the free-throw line. Knight also had 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals in that 100-82 MHP Riesen win that lifted the team into sixth place.
Knight then moved into the European spotlight. He made his BCL bow on Wednesday and put up a big number at Anwil, in Poland, to lead MHP Riesen to an 87-74 triumph.
That performance left Knight with a sparkling, flashing-in-bright-lights +39 efficiency for the game. He's been named as the BCL's Player of the Week.
Knight, when I contacted him on Friday afternoon, wanted more than anything to stress how he'd been welcomed at the club.
"Make sure you put this in there," he said. "I couldn't do any of this without God, my family or my teammates. My teammates, they're great. They made me feel at home right as soon as I got here.
"We enjoy just being there for each other, picking each other up on and off the court. That's the most important thing."
It's worth emphasizing that had Knight not claimed the honor of MVP, well, his teammate Owen Klassen would have had a legitimate claim. He scored 17 points, grabbed 18 rebounds and swatted 3 shots and had a +36 efficiency against Anwil. Klassen is the only player to have grabbed as many as 18 boards in a BCL game this season.
It's probably going to take some divine intervention for MHP Riesen to reach the Play-Offs because they had little, or in truth, no luck at the beginning of the year when the losses were piling up. At least in terms of record, they were the most disappointing team at 0-5. Since that time, the team has won three of six games in the BCL.
The remaining Regular Season schedule has the club hosting Ventspils, playing at UCAM Murcia and then taking on Nizhny Novgorod at home again.
What is probably more important for the team than reaching the Play-Offs is to play well and win. If MHP Riesen start to turn on all cylinders, they can make the Bundesliga post-season and then anything is possible.
"That's the goal," Knight said, when asked about sneaking into the BCL Play-Offs.
"We’ve got to take it one game at a time but that’s the ultimate aim," he said.