Team of the Month for November: Obasohan, Julien, Van Der Vuurst De Vries, Moreira and Bilan
MIES (Switzerland) - November is a very particular month in the 2020-21 Basketball Champions League schedule, because it brings about a brief break in action just as all teams have given us a first taste of their style of play this season.
It could have been this circumstance, or the new Regular Season format which makes every game much more critical than before, but whatever the reason the fact is that we saw a lot of play-off intensity in players' performances throughout the month.
There were therefore several strong candidates to be named on Team of the Month, but JDA Dijon's Axel Julien, Filou Oostende's Keye Van Der Vuurst De Vries, ERA Nymburk's Retin Obasohan, Dinamo Sassari's Miro Bilan and AEK's Yanick Moreira are the five players who got the nod in November.
Here's a closer look at the performances of the five members of Team of the Month for November 2020 in the BCL:
AXEL JULIEN (November Efficiency Rating: 18)
If you need a recent demonstration of the impact that a player's sheer determination and will to win can have on the outcome of a game, all you need to do is watch Axel Julien's two BCL games this month.
Dijon faced Nymburk on November 4th without David Holston, but Julien picked up the slack in the absence of his backcourt partner and orchestrated his team's 85-61 victory behind a steely defensive display in the second half, as he finished with 11 points, 7 assists, 4 boards and 2 steals.
Two weeks later, the French point guard overcame a slow start to the game with Tofas Bursa and delivered in crunch time in regulation and in overtime, as he collected 14 points on 4 of 8 shooting from downtown and 9 assists for Dijon to escape 87-81 winners on the road and get off to a perfect 3-0 start in group B.
In that game, Julien also dished his 206th assist in the BCL to become only the ninth player in competition history to cross the 200-mark - and fittingly, Holston followed in the same path just minutes later, becoming the 10th player on that list.
KEYE VAN DER VUURST DE VRIES (November Efficiency Rating: 21)
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The 18-year-old Dutch international is the only player on the team of the month to have featured in just one game during November, but what an unforgettable game it was for Keye Van Der Vuurst De Vries and his team.
On November 10th, Filou Oostende played host to reigning BCL champions Hereda San Pablo Burgos and the Belgian team rose to the challenge by delivering their best performance of the season so far to topple the Spanish team 99-98.
Despite his young age, Van Der Vuurst De Vries not only went toe-to-toe with the vastly experienced Burgos guards, but he masterminded Oostende's high-octane offense and dished 11 assists to go with his 13 points, registering the first double-double of his BCL career.
RETIN OBASOHAN (November Efficiency Rating: 14.7)
The Belgian international got off to a timid start in his first BCL game with ERA Nymburk, against Dijon, but he followed up with two exceptional displays, registering an efficiency rating of 21 in the 96-93 road win at Tofas Bursa and a BCL career-high rating of 26 in the home victory over Keravnos, on November 18th.
In that 96-69 win over the Cypriot side, Obasohan became the first player in BCL history to collect at least 20 points, 5 boards, 5 assists and 3 steals in less than 25 minutes of playing time (Obasohan finished that game with 21 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals in 24 minutes on the court).
Perhaps more importantly for both the Belgian point guard and Nymburk, this stretch in November was the first time Obasohan had 19 or more points and 5 or more assists in two consecutive BCL games, which serves as further proof that he has been an instant great fit with the Czech champions after joining the team in October.
YANICK MOREIRA (November Efficiency Rating: 21)
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Yanick Moreira had faced AEK as an opponent several times - as either a PAOK, Virtus Bologna or Peristeri player - by the time he decided to join the 'Queen' of Athens in the summer, so both parties knew pretty much what to expect from this collaboration.
What the Angolan center could not know though was that he would enjoy the best stretch of his BCL career, which is already 36 games long, in his first November in an AEK jersey.
In the 83-81 win over Cholet on November 17th, Moreira scored a BCl career-high 21 points, to cap off a three-game stretch which he had started with a performance rated at 27, in the November 4th 100-96 win over Holon.
MIRO BILAN (November Efficiency Rating: 22.5)
Some say that big men have gone out of fashion in today's basketball but if that's the case Miro Bilan certainly did not get the memo, and he was probably the most in-demand player in the league during November.
The 31-year-old Croatian center posted 18 points and 8 rebounds for an efficiency rating of 21 and provided a reassuring presence in the paint in Dinamo Sassari's impressive 92-72 win over Iberostar Tenerife on November 4th
Two weeks later, Bilan clinched that double-double that only barely escaped him against the Spanish team by collecting 19 points and 11 rebounds in the road win at Bakken Bears and registered an efficiency rating of 24, matching the best-ever display in his BCL career (against Oostende, in the 2019-20 Regular Season).