04 October, 2022
14 May, 2023
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A perfect homecoming for AEK fans: Akil Mitchell named February MVP

MIES (Switzerland) - AEK fans did not attend their team's last three home games in the Basketball Champions League but upon returning to their spots in the tribune they will witness a special moment for one of the fan favorites this season, as Akil Mitchell has earned the MVP of the Month award for February.

The 30-year-old center of the 'Queen' has scored in double digits in every single game this season and put on strong displays during February to lead AEK to a 2-1 record in the Round of 16, putting them in a perfect position in the race to the Quarter-Finals.

Mitchell had 19 points and 13 rebounds in a road win over Galatasaray Nef, then followed it up with 21 points, 9 boards and 5 assists against Limoges CSP.

"[An] individual award is nice. It shows that you have some respect from your teammates and players around the League, the coaches around the League, that people see and are respecting what you've done, the work that you put in," Mitchell told championsleague.basketball.

"But it definitely doesn't mean everything. I know some amazing players who have never really won individual awards, that also deserve some great respect. It's a great honor. But it's not the most important thing to me." 

Now, back to the fans. Probably the best atmosphere we've ever seen in the Basketball Champions League was when AEK hosted the Final Four in 2018, and their road games are always full of traveling fans, no matter where they play.

Celebrations of AEK fans back in 2018

AEK played behind closed doors due to a three-game ban, so for Mitchell it's important that he will get to receive his MVP award in front of the AEK faithful, just before the game against Galatasary Nef tips off in two weeks' time.

"Yeah, man... We definitely missed the home crowd, we missed being able to win the game in front of them, so to be able to have them home, and to receive this award... I know they've been supporting me all season from home, they've been watching the games on TV, instead of being in the arena, but I still feel the love, still feel all the respect from them on Instagram and social media. They reach out to me and to have them back in the arena and receive the award in front of them definitely makes it a bit sweeter," the February MVP said.

Mitchell has been the consistent figure in AEK's game plans this season. He's got an ongoing streak of seven games of at least 16 points scored, while four of his last six games saw him get double figures in rebounds, too.

With 17.4 points per game, he ranks 13th in scoring, and with 9.5 boards per game, he is the second-leading rebounder in the BCL this season. No wonder he's ranked high in the MVP Race.

"Although winning the MVP of the Season would be really cool, winning the BCL is obviously a 100 times better feeling. To win a championship is one of those things that is very difficult to do, and that feeling in unmatched. Some of my best memories are from college, winning championships. That would be something that I'm chasing and something I want, but... winning the season MVP would be also a great honor," he said.

AEK have been active on the market during the break, with Pierre Oriola and Brynton Lemar arriving in Athens. Things have been busy on the departures terminal, too, so expect a new look AEK in March.

"The changes that we've gone through will help us. They will help us add a bit od depth. We have to learn each other as a team, to build that chemistry that we had in the first half of the season, but if anything, it will makes us a better team," Mitchell explained.

AEK will be on the road in Limoges next week, while Mitchell receives his award in person on Wednesday, March 15, when AEK play host to Galatasaray Nef.