As announced by the EuroLeague, Fenerbahce center Jan Vesely named the league’s MVP of December.
Vesely was tremendous on both ends of the floor, averaging 16.6 points (on 68.9 shooting), 7.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.2 steals during the month. He also posted an average performance index rating of 23.6.
Per the competition’s press release:
“As an All-EuroLeague First Team selection at the peak of his game on a team in first place coming off an undefeated month, Jan Vesely of Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul was the natural choice as Euroleague Basketball’s MVP for the month of December. Vesely dominated in the paint to the tune of 16.6 points on 68.9 shooting plus 7.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.2 steals in December. He posted an average performance index rating of 23.6, which led all EuroLeague players for the month. With the 28-year-old as the focal point, Fenerbahce, which started December tied for first place, roared to a 14-1 record and opened up a two-win lead over its closest competitors – Real Madrid and CSKA Moscow – both of which Vesely and co. defeated during the month.
The MVP of the Month honor is now in its 15th season. Although statistics and performance index ratings are taken into consideration for the award, they alone do not determine who is honored. The winner is named by Euroleague Basketball based on his and his team’s performance. The award for November covered the five regular season games between December 6 and 28.
Not only was Vesely spectacular in December, but he seemed to do something special in each of his team’s games. First came a trip to the Greek capital to take on Panathinaikos OPAP Athens in which the Czech Jet set a career-high with 7 assists – in addition to 15 points and 7 rebounds – in leading Fenerbahce to a 69-81 victory. A week later, he only missed 2 shots en route to 17 points and 5 rebounds as his team held off AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan 92-85. Round 13 was the start of the two-round week and a showdown with mighty CSKA. Vesely was more than ready as he exploded for a game-high 19 points plus 10 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals in mounting a performance index rating of 33. He also scored the go-ahead layup with a minute remaining to lead Fenerbahce to a 79-75 victory. It was the highest PIR by any player against CSKA this season. Forty-eight hours later, Buducnost VOLI Podgorica made things tough on Fenerbahce for two-and-a-half quarters, but Vesely helped his team pull away with a pair of buckets in the third quarter. The Turkish champs won 65-89 with Vesely posting 19 points, 9 rebounds and 3 steals; his 4 offensive rebounds were more than the entire Buducnost side. December ended with a rematch from last season’s championship game against Madrid. Vesely set the tone early with a pair of dunks and helped lift Fenerbahce late with a put-back slam to bring his team within 1 inside the final minute, setting the stage for Luigi Datome’s now-famous game-winner. Vesely amassed 13 points and 5 rebounds in that win.
Vesely is in his fifth season with Fenerbahce and he has helped the team reach the EuroLeague Final Four in each campaign so far, including three championship game appearances and capturing the 2017 EuroLeague crown. This season he is averaging a career-best 14.9 points and a 21.8 index rating; his PIR is second-best in the league and he ranks fifth in scoring, fifth in offensive rebounds (2.3 orpg.), sixth in field goal accuracy (65.5%) and eighth in steals (1.3 spg.). Vesely also leads the league with 34 dunks, many of which have been top plays on the highlight reels. A two-time All-EuroLeague First Team selection, this is the second monthly MVP of Vesely’s EuroLeague career; the first was in January 2016. Barring injury, Vesely is on pace to reach career milestones of 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds before the end of the regular season; he would become just the 11th player in EuroLeague history to accomplish both feats. Euroleague Basketball congratulates Vesely on an outstanding month and will deliver the MVP for December trophy to him at an upcoming Fenerbahce home game.”