Thanks to scoring shows that lifted his team to new heights, one of the Euroleague's signature players this decade, Marcus Brown of Zalgiris Kaunas, has been named the competition's MVP for December. Even though accolades have followed him for years, Brown practically outdid himself over three games this month. The decade's top scorer not only led all Euroleague players in points over two consecutive weeks, but matched his own highest single-game total ever in one of those. Brown started December with 27 points as Zalgiris beat mighty Tau Ceramica, then proceeded to tie his personal best with 31 points to defeat Virtus VidiVici Bologna. To finish the month, he contributed 16 points to the team's first road win, at Prokom Trefl Sopot. Brown's average of 24.6 points was impressive, but his shooting accuracy was downright incredible. He hit 15 of 19 attempts from three-point distance - an amazing 79% - and shot a perfect 13 for 13 at the foul line, where he has not missed in 29 tries this season. Most of all, Brown's heroics put Zalgiris in the thick of a Top 16 race that promises the team's devoted fans plenty of drama in 2008. For all those reasons, Marcus Brown is a more-than-deserving choice as Euroleague Basketball's MVP for December.
Euroleague Basketball's MVP of the Month honor is in its fourth season. Although statistics and performance 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 during the previous month or more. The award for December was decided considering the three regular season games played by all teams during that month.
Brown wowed everybody who watched him in December's first game, a 95-92 home win over always-dangerous Tau Ceramica. Spirits lifted in Kaunas with each shot he took, from his 9 consecutive points to get Zalgiris in the game early to his team's first go-ahead triple in the second half to back-to-back fourth-quarter bombs and must-hit free throws with 8.7 seconds left. He finished a perfect 6-for-6 from downtown and 5-for-5 at the foul line. A week later, with Zalgiris legends at courtside following the 50 Years ceremony, Brown lit up again in a 102-82 blowout of Virtus, scoring 31 points in just 25 minutes while burying 4 of 5 two-point shots and 7 of 9 triples. His 5 third-quarter three-pointers broke the game open and let Zalgiris fans party with their legends the rest of the way. The next challenge for Zalgiris was to win on the road, and in December's third game, Brown helped make sure of that, too, shooting fewer shots - but no less accurately - in an 80-85 victory at Prokom. His big triple down the stretch, when Prokom had come within a shot of taking the lead, let Zalgiris finish its month a perfect 3-0 and tied for fourth place in a tight Group A race.
After he missed most of last season injured, Brown's resurgence with Zalgiris is nothing but good news for Euroleague fans who have watched him lead team after team to success. Not only is a true superstar back, but so are the good times in Kaunas, where the devoted basketball experts in the stands have already decided that Brown is one of theirs, too. They will get to celebrate with him again when he receives the December MVP award at an upcoming home game.
See Marcus Brown interview