Top 16 MVP: Vince Hunter, Virtus Segafredo Bologna

Mar 15, 2021 by Eurocupbasketball.com Print

The 2020-21 7DAYS EuroCup Top 16 was a non-stop battle that finished with only one undefeated team left standing, Virtus Segafredo Bologna. For his outstanding play in leading Virtus to the playoffs and keeping his team undefeated for the season, Euroleague Basketball has chosen power forward Vince Hunter as this season's Top 16 MVP. Hunter led the competition's second phase in performance index rating at 20.7 per game. He ranked fourth in rebounds with 7.2 on average and tied for sixth in blocks with 1.2. He improved his team's overall performance at both ends of the court and took Virtus to a new level that now comes with a guarantee of home-court advantage in the remaining playoff rounds.

The Top 16 MVP award was introduced in the 2016-17 season. Kyle Kuric of Zenit St Petersburg was its first winner, followed by Bojan Dubljevic of Valencia Basket in the 2018-19 campaign and Devin Williams of Tofas Bursa last season. Hunter's teammate Milos Teodosic was the recipient of this season's 7DAYS EuroCup Regular Season MVP award.

Hunter improved his numbers in every major statistical category from the regular season to the Top 16. He averaged 6.8 points on 60.5% two-point shooting, 2.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.0 steals and 0.4 blocks in 10 regular season games. Then, he boosted those averages up to 13.3 points on 69.2% two-point shooting, 7.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocks in six Top 16 showdowns. His PIR more than doubled from 8.5 per game in the regular season to 20.7 in the Top 16.

Hunter was consistent throughout the Top 16, recording PIRs of 27 or better in four out of six games and putting up at least one monster game against every opponent in the group. He opened the phase in style, getting 22 points on 9-for-12 two-point shooting and 9 rebounds in a 90-76 win against Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana. Next, Virtus went on to face JL Bourg en Bresse on the road, recording an 87-99 victory as Hunter dominated with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Hunter had a very rare perfect game in an 87-65 victory against Buducnost VOLI Podgorica. He posted 13 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks and 3 fouls drawn without any missed shots, turnovers or fouls committed. Every move he made in that victory counted as a positive for his team. In a battle for first place against Cedevita, Hunter capped a great Top 16 with 14 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks for a PIR of 28, leading Virtus to a 98-108 overtime win.

This is Hunter's second EuroCup campaign, both with Virtus. He started his professional basketball career with Reno of the D-League in the 2015-16 season. Hunter also played for Panathinaikos and AEK Athens of Greece, Avtodor Saratov of Russia, Memphis Grizzlies of the NBA, and Memphis Hustle of the G League. He helped AEK win three titles: the Greek Cup and Basketball Champions League in 2018 and the Intercontinental Cup in 2019. Hunter also lifted the Greek Cup trophy with Panathinaikos in 2016. He will try to go even further by leading Virtus to its first 7DAYS EuroCup title!