17 October, 2023
05 May, 2024
15/02/2024
Igor Curkovic's Champions League Help-Side
to read

MVP Race: Season 8, checkpoint 2

MIES (Switzerland) - Aside from the 16 teams fighting to lift the spiky trophy at the end of the season, there is another major battle set to climax during the Final Four weekend.

That's the Season MVP Race, and we will keep track of players' progress all the way until the end of the Quarter-Finals.

To figure out who has the best chances to win the award, we have to take a look at the profiles of previous MVPs in the Basketball Champions League.

Jordan Theodore, Manny Harris, Tyrese Rice, Keith Langford, Bonzie Colson, Chima Moneke and TJ Shorts II all reached the Final Four, all played crucial roles in their teams getting there, all made clutch shots during the seasons and had the numbers to prove they were the Most Valuable Players.

Who will succeed TJ Shots II as BCL Season MVP and have his picture taken in such a cool setting?

With that in mind, during the MVP Race, we will have four serious questions to help us figure out who the leader is at each checkpoint:

(1) Does his team have a winning record?
(2) Is he the reason why?
(3) Does he have the numbers to be the MVP?
(4) If his team's season is on the line and they need one shot to save it, is he the one taking it?

Since this is a column and not in any way an official ranking, we need the grand separator to figure out the leader. That's why the fifth question will always be random, to give you a hint of who's the guy in the lead.

This week, it's pure and simple:

(5) Does his name, in line with the good old Latin saying nomen est omen, mean "united," "joined," or sometimes "joined in harmony"?

(See, number five is truly random).

#10 Joe Ragland (Peristeri bwin)

(1) Does his team have a winning record?
Nope, 0-3 in the Round of 16.
(1.25) Great, we're off to a promising start to the list...
Come on, man. This is our way of recognizing Joe's efforts all season long, he's leading the BCL with 9.2 assists per game this season, he's the all-time BCL leader in double-doubles, he's the first man in BCL history with 15+ points and 15+ assists in a single game.
(1.50) He's all that, but...
...he's not the leader of the MVP Race.
(1.75) Just curious, what does his name mean?
Joseph means "God shall add," Ragland means "a place before the shore."

#9 Vernon Carey Jr (Pinar Karsiyaka)

(1) Does his team have a winning record?
Nope, 1-2.
(1.25) Igor, my brother in Christ. Do you even know the rules to your own game!?
I do, but hear me out. If KSK somehow, Somehow, SOMEHOW, SOMEHOW squeeze into the Final Four, he would be the hot favorite to win the MVP of the Season award, for sure!
(1.5) That's a lot of "somehows" there...
Yeah, it does not seem likely, given the fact Pinar Karsiyaka haven't beaten anyone on the road in... forever.
(1.75) Just curious, what does his name mean?
According to Latin sources, "fresh and young (like the spring)." According to French sources, "place of alder trees." Ahh, see. No wonder he is a good blocker, fresh and young like the spring, tall like the alder trees. Cool.

#8 Howard Sant-Roos (UCAM Murcia)

(1) Does his team have a winning record?
Yep, 3-0 in R16.
(2) Is he the reason why?
Well, yes. He's top five in steals, and arguably the best defender in BCL Season 8.
(3) Does he have the numbers to be the MVP?
6.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.9 steals, 12.4 efficiency rating per game.
(3.33) So that's a no?
That's a no. But this is the kind of mention that belongs to the Most Consistent Player On A Really Good Team category. He seems to be the glue guy for Murcia. But not the MVP Race leader, nope.
(3.66) Hit us with the name meaning!
Howard means "brave heart" and you can't make that stuff up. Sant-Roos would be something like Saint Rose, but don't take my word for it.

#7 Thomas Kennedy (Telekom Baskets Bonn)

(1) Does his team have a winning record?
Yep, 3-0 in R16.
(2) Is he the reason why?
Yep, Telekom Baskets Bonn are 3-0 when he scores 10+ points this season, and he had three straight double-digit games in the Round of 16.
(3) Does he have the numbers to be the MVP?
9.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, 12.0 efficiency per game.
(3.33) ...
Well, that's why he's seventh in the MVP Race, and not first. Cut me some slack. If Telekom Baskets Bonn reach the Final Four, he would totally be a legit MVP candidate.
(3.66) Just give us the name meaning so we're over this.
Thomas means "twin". Did not know that.

#6 Hunter Hale (Promitheas Patras)

(1) Does his team have a winning record?
Yep, 2-1 in R16.
(2) Is he the reason why?
Oh yes, BCL MVP of the Month for January.
(3) Does he have the numbers to be the MVP?
16.6 points, 29-of-55 from beyond the arc, which is 53 percent on six attempts per game, 14.6 average efficiency rating. Yes, he does.
(4) If his team's season is on the line and they need one shot to save it, is he the one taking it?
You can bet on it.
(5) Does his name, in line with the good old Latin saying nomen est omen, mean "united," "joined," or sometimes "joined in harmony"?
I mean, Hunter clearly means a hunter. One of the meanings for Hale, though, is hero. Great, now I know my fifth question if we ever decide to put him at #1 in the MVP Race.
(5.5) So, not today?
Nope.

#5 Jayvon Graves (MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg)

(1) Does his team have a winning record?
Yep, 2-1 in R16.
(2) Is he the reason why?
Yep. Double-digits in scoring in all but two games all season long, 20 or more points in every single home game all season long, a lot of puns about how J won (Jayvon) the game all season long.
(3) Does he have the numbers to be the MVP?
16.8 points, 4.7 assists, 4.4 rebounds, 16.2 efficiency. That's a gigantic efficiency rating for a guard in this day and age, gotta say.
(4) If his team's season is on the line and they need one shot to save it, is he the one taking it?
Sure. Hopefully he drives to the rim because he's shooting 33 percent from deep.
(5) Does his name, in line with the good old Latin saying nomen est omen, mean "united," "joined," or sometimes "joined in harmony"?
Ehm. Jayvon means "a man who belongs to Greece." Like Ionian. Okay. Cool. Did not expect that. Greek dude.

#4 Kendrick Perry (Unicaja)

(1) Does his team have a winning record?
Yep, 3-0 in R16.
(2) Is he the reason why?
Yep, playing the most efficient basketball of his career.
(3) Does he have the numbers to be the MVP?
10.8 points, 4.8 assists, 2.8 rebounds, 14 efficiency rating, all in fewer than 20 minutes per game!
(4) If his team's season is on the line and they need one shot to save it, is he the one taking it?
Did you watch last season's Final Four? Did you notice how he bounced back after missing that shot? By playing the best basketball of his career? Kendrick is the greatest champion.
(5) Does his name, in line with the good old Latin saying nomen est omen, mean "united," "joined," or sometimes "joined in harmony"?
No, Kendrick literally means "the greatest champion" from its old Welsh origins. It could also mean Royal Power, which kinda explains the entire Kendrick Lamar discography...

#3 Austin Wiley (Tofas Bursa)

(1) Does his team have a winning record?
Yep, 2-1 in R16.
(2) Is he the reason why?
Yes. They are 2-0 when he plays, 0-1 when he sat out the game v Unicaja.
(3) Does he have the numbers to be the MVP?
13.4 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.1 blocks, 20.1 efficiency rating per game. He's my BCL Fantasy game MVP, for sure.
(4) If his team's season is on the line and they need one shot to save it, is he the one taking it?
Probably not. Unless he tips it in when his guards or wings miss the shot. Or he could alley-oop it home. So probably not, but not impossible. Is that what plausible means?
(5) Does his name, in line with the good old Latin saying nomen est omen, mean "united," "joined," or sometimes "joined in harmony"?
Austin means majestic. But get this, Wiley means "resolute protection," which is the best name meaning ever for the leading shot blocker of the season!

#2 Marcelinho Huertas (Lenovo Tenerife)

(1) Does his team have a winning record?
Yep, 2-1 in R16.
(2) Is he the reason why?
He's playing his highest scoring European campaign ever. He's about to be 41, you do realize how crazy that is!?
(3) Does he have the numbers to be the MVP?
13.1 points, 8.4 assists, 3.1 rebounds, 16.8 efficiency rating, in just 26 minutes per game. He's about to be 41, you do realize how crazy that is!?
(4) If his team's season is on the line and they need one shot to save it, is he the one taking it?
LOL.
(5) Does his name, in line with the good old Latin saying nomen est omen, mean "united," "joined," or sometimes "joined in harmony"?
Nope. But in an ironic twist, Marcelinho means "young warrior" and that's a hilarious thing to say to somebody born in 1983.

#1 Levi Randolph (Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem)

(1) Does his team have a winning record?
YES! 3-0 in the toughest of R16 groups!
(2) Is he the reason why?
Yes, BCL MVP of the month for December.
(3) Does he have the numbers to be the MVP?
17.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 16.6 efficiency rating.
(4) If his team's season is on the line and they need one shot to save it, is he the one taking it?
Speedy Smith probably has a word to say about that, but Speedy doesn't get to shoot clutch shots if Levi's not there to lead the team in the first 39 minutes of games.
(5) Does his name, in line with the good old Latin saying nomen est omen, mean "united," "joined," or sometimes "joined in harmony"?
IT DOES! Levi made Jerusalem unite, he made the team join in harmony, he's their shield when they encounter trouble and he's their wolf when they are out hunting. That's also because Randolph means "shield+wolf" in its origin. There you go! MVP Race leader!

The Basketball Champions League's columnists write on a wide range of topics relating to basketball that are of interest to them. The opinions they express are their own and in no way reflect those of FIBA or the Basketball Champions League.

The Basketball Champions League's takes no responsibility and gives no guarantees, warranties or representations, implied or otherwise, for the content or accuracy of the content and opinion expressed in the above article.

Igor Curkovic

Igor Curkovic

Igor Curkovic is a Basketball Champions League writer and editor since day one of the competition, specializing in Power Rankings and his Takeaways on Gamedays. When he's not covering basketball, he's probably watching a Hajduk Split game somewhere.