Turkish Airlines EuroLeague MVP for February: Sasha Vezenkov, Olympiacos Piraeus
For keeping his short-handed team in first place despite three road games during the month, forward Sasha Vezenkov of Olympiacos Piraeus is Euroleague Basketball's choice as February MVP in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague.
Vezenkov topped all EuroLeague players in both performance index rating and rebounds while ranking second in scoring during the month, leading Olympiacos to a 4-0 record. That success extended the team's winning streak to six games and its stay atop the standings to as many weeks. Vezenkov finished the month in the rare position of ranking as the league's leader in the three major statistical categories, with 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 23.5 PIR per game.
The MVP of the Month award is now in its 18th season. The winner is named by Euroleague Basketball based on his and his team's performance during the month in question. The February MVP award includes the four games that most teams played between Tuesday, January 31 and Friday, February 24. Vezenkov has now been named MVP twice this season and three times in the last 13 months, the shortest time span ever for winning three monthly MVP awards.
Olympiacos began February on the road at Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul, with Vezenkov recording a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds for a PIR of 16 in a 73-93 victory despite the absence of veteran guard Kostas Sloukas, who would miss the first three games of the month. At home three nights later against Anadolu Efes Istanbul in Round 23, he led the Reds to a 76-70 win with game highs of 23 points and 21 PIR. Back on the road in Round 24, Vezenkov finished with 28 points and 13 rebounds in 32 minutes of a 60-93 blowout against ALBA Berlin. His PIR of 40 earned him the MVP honor for Round 24. He finished February scoring 16 of his 20 points after halftime and registered a PIR of 22 as Olympiacos rallied from 15 points behind to defeat host Valencia Basket 85-92.
Vezenkov finished the month having averaged 20.8 points, second only to Wade Baldwin of Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv, while leading the league in February with 8.8 rebounds and a PIR of 24.8. He shot 64.7% while making a league-high 22 two-pointers and hit 10 three-pointers, fourth-best for the month, at a rate of 43.5%.
Vezenkov, who was also the MVP for November, will receive his new award at an upcoming Olympiacos home game.