Levi Randolph is December MVP: "He should've gotten it last month, too"
MIES (Switzerland) - For the second time in his career, Levi Randolph has been named MVP of the Month in the Basketball Champions League.
Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem's leader has been unstoppable all calendar year long, and after winning the MVP of April award, he is capping off 2023 by claiming December MVP honors, too.
Randolph has scored in double figures in every single game so far this season, powering Jerusalem to a 5-1 record and a direct berth in the Round of 16. December saw him get 13 points and 5 rebounds against PAOK mateco, then following up with 29 points in just 25 minutes of work against SL Benfica.
Some had wondered if he would even play against Benfica, since Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem had already qualified to the next stage, but there was no question in Levi's mind about it.
"I like to compete. I think we're very fortunate to play this game. I would never cheat the game, because if you cheat the game you won't get the results. I say we have the best job in the world, playing the game we love," the 31-year-old said after that game.
With Randolph running the show, his teammates have been enjoying this ride ever since coach Aleksandar Dzikic and the front office put this roster together. It's not just in December that Levi has been great.
"He should've gotten it last month, too, but it's all good," Speedy Smith said, laughing.
"Levi is one of the most selfless players that I have played with. He's obviously going to be one of the greatest scorers in the Basketball Champions League, but it's honestly easy for him! We should all enjoy what we are seeing now, because we know where he truly belongs," the Jerusalem point guard added.
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As we're about to enter the 2024 segment of Season 8, Randolph is averaging 19.3 points per game and leading the BCL scoring charts.
But Smith is not Randolph's only teammate to say the December MVP doesn't really care about winning individual accolades.
"My favorite thing about him is the competitive nature. He comes to compete every day," Khadeen Carrington offered, before commenting on what changed for Randolph this season, as it seems that December Levi is even better than April Levi.
"He's just playing more freely, I think he plays the best when he's not thinking too much and just playing off of instinct," Carrington said.
With Smith and Carrington taking care of ball-handling duties next to Randolph, the man in the middle is in charge of protecting their backs and finishing off everything Randolph sets up offensively in the paint.
Zach Hankins wastes no time when asked if there's anything he admires the most about Levi's leadership.
"It's a quote he's said since last year, and throughout our struggles this year in our situation: 'I wouldn't want to go fight out there with anyone else.' He's a great leader who always challenges his teammates to push themselves to a high standard, as well as holding himself to that same standard," the center explained.
The 2023-24 season MVP race will still be on for quite a while, but you can expect Randolph to be somewhere at the head of that race too. However, it's unlikely he'll win back-to-back monthly MVP awards, since Jerusalem are enjoying time off for most of January, not having to go through the Play-Ins.
His scoring lead in the league may also be in jeopardy. But Randolph won't care.
"He puts winning as the only stat he cares about," Smith said.
"As a person, if you have ever been around Levi, you understand that he's a guy that has a lot of positive energy and he's just all around a good family member."
Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem continue their quest towards another Final Four appearance in the Round of 16 Group K. By the time Round of 16 action tips off, Randolph will have already taken his picture with two MVP of the month trophies.