2020-21 7DAYS EuroCup MVP: Jamar Smith, UNICS Kazan

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A former 7DAYS EuroCup champion and the top three-point shooter in competition history, UNICS Kazan guard Jamar Smith, has been chosen as the MVP for the 2020-21 season following a combination of fan voting and ballots from Euroleague Basketball’s in-house experts. Smith carried his team to the EuroCup Finals by posting career-best and team-leading numbers. He enters the finals as the EuroCup’s season leader in total points (342) while ranking second in three-pointers made (58) and fourth in scoring average (17.1 ppg.). Smith is also second in free throw percentage (93.9%), seventh in three-point shooting accuracy (47.9%), eighth in steals (24), and 10th in assists (71).

Smith is the 12th winner of the award, which was first introduced in the 2008-09 season. No award was given for the incomplete 2020-21 season. He succeeds the 2018-19 winner, Luke Sikma of ALBA Berlin. The list of previous EuroCup MVPs includes Scottie Wilbekin of Darussafaka Istanbul in 2018, Alexey Shved of Khimki Moscow Region in 2017, Errick McCollum of Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul in 2016, Tyrese Rice of Khimki in 2015, Andrew Goudelock of UNICS in 2014, Nick Calathes of Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar in 2013, Patrick Beverley of Spartak St. Petersburg in 2012, Dontaye Draper of Cedevita Zagreb in 2011, Marko Banic of Bizkaia Bilbao Basket in 2010 and Chuck Eidson of Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius in 2009. With Smith and Goudelock, UNICS is the first team to have two EuroCup MVPs.

Smith has been a stellar contributor all season while coming off the UNICS bench in 14 of 20 games. He scored in double digits 17 times, reached the 20-point mark eight times, and netted a career-high 32 points in the final game of the Top 16 against Herbalife Gran Canaria. Smith stepped up big in the playoffs, too, averaging 18.7 points on 62.5% three-point shooting and 3.7 assists in the quarterfinals against Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar, a series that UNICS won 2-1. He then posted 18.0 points on 100% free throw shooting in the semifinals against Virtus Segafredo Bologna, sealing his team’s Game 2 victory from the foul line with 4 free throws made in the final 12 seconds. UNICS prevailed 2-1 in that series despite the lack of home-court advantage to reach its first EuroCup Finals since 2014 and win eligibility to play in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague next season.

This season, Smith became the EuroCup’s all-time leader in three-point shots made, with 264 and counting, thanks to his superb career accuracy (44.8%). Three-time EuroCup champion Rafa Martinez is now a distant second with 223. Smith has also climbed to second place on the EuroCup’s career scoring list, with 1,384 points. Bojan Dubljevic is first with 1,445, so Smith needs just 62 points to become the competition’s all-time scoring king. Smith is the only American player with more than 100 games played in the competition. He ranks 10th overall with 108 EuroCup appearances.

Smith, 34, won the EuroCup title with Spanish side Unicaja Malaga in 2017 and has also played in the competition with Brose Baskets Bamberg of Germany and Limoges CSP of France. After finishing his college career at the University of Southern Indiana, Smith played for Maine of the D-League, Prostejov of the Czech Republic, and Galil Gilboa of Israel before joining Bamberg in 2013. This is his fourth season with UNICS and has a chance to be the first EuroCup MVP to win the competition twice.

Quelle: 7DAYS EuroCup, 23. April 2021

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