Youngest in BCL history: Vernon Carey Jr named October MVP
MIES (Switzerland) - At 22 years of age, Pinar Karsiyaka center Vernon Carey Jr is already making a difference in his first season abroad. Helping his club to a 2-0 start, he's the MVP of the Month for October in the Basketball Champions League.
Born in February 2001, Carey Jr is now the youngest player to ever win the MVP of the month award in the BCL, taking away the unofficial title from Kyle Allman. The current Darussafaka Lassa guard was 23 years old when he received the trophy with VEF Riga in December 2020.
Carey started his maiden BCL campaign with an 18-point performance against Filou Oostende, shooting 9-of-13 from the field, with 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks against the perennial Belgian champions.
The former Duke Blue Devil backed it up with another impressive showing in game two, torturing EWE Baskets Oldenburg inside the arc with 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting, while also grabbing 4 rebounds with 2 blocks.
By getting 29 and 21 in terms of efficiency rating in his first two games, he is the most efficient player of the entire BCL after two rounds of basketball. The stats just confirm the eye test. This big guy is dominant, and he is achieving all that in his first month as a professional player in Europe.
"I I feel like in basketball, regardless of any team or league, you're going to have to adapt especially if your going to be successful," the October MVP told championsleague.basketball
Pinar Karsiyaka are up to 2-0. Carey provides the youthful joy to this team filled with seasoned veterans such as Errick McCollum, Darrun Hilliard, Kenan Sipahi and others.
"I have a lot of experienced teammates, but I think Errick Mccollum has been the most helpful, just teaching me spots and tendencies to help the team and myself," Carey said.
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A strong start to the season saw Pinar Karsiyaka claim the number one spot in our Power Rankings, too. It's still way too early in the season, but this team is giving out vibes of the 2021 squad which played the BCL Final in Nizhny Novgorod in 2021, falling short against Hereda San Pablo Burgos.
After a couple of early exits in the Play-In stage in both 2022 and 2023, the fans would enjoy another trip to the Final Four.
"I definitely feel like we have the potential, we just got to keep getting better and progressing and I feel like everything will fall into place if we do," Carey said.
For a youngster such as the October MVP, there is nothing better than playing under a well-known coach such as Ufuk Sarica. The Turkish playcaller was the Karsiyaka head coach from 2012 to 2016, then returned to the club in 2019, making it almost a decade at the helm of the red-and-green bench.
Under Sarica's guidance, Karsiyaka won the Turkish League, the Turkish Cup, the President's Cup, reached another Turkish League Finals and the BCL Final. Carey could not ask for a better mentor in international basketball and learning the differences compared to the NBA.
"My relationship with coach Sarica has definitely gotten better, he’s also helping me develop and understand the European game style so it’s been really good," the October BCL said.
Carey will receive his MVP award ahead of one of Pinar Karsiyaka's upcoming home games.