Yanick Moreira of AEK has been named MVP of the Month for November in recognition of his important contribution to his team’s perfect start to the 2020-21 Basketball Champions League season.
The 29-year-old Angolan international averaged 17.7 points and 6.3 rebounds per game through November, on an almost flawless 72.4 percent shooting from the floor and an average efficiency rating of 21.
AEK are off to a 3-0 start to the BCL season for the first time in their five-year history in the competition.
Moreira, who had never earned MVP honors in his previous two campaigns in the BCL, was delighted upon hearing the news of the accolade.
I know that our fans have high expectations, but right now we want them to stay patient and take it one game at a time – Yanick Moreira
“I’m very happy to be hearing about this, I’d never thought about it, especially this early in the season,” Moreira told championsleague.basketball
“[My performances with AEK this month] really have to do with my teammates, they are doing an exceptional job to put me in great situations and I’m playing with a lot of great players.
“I was on these three different teams and when I was at PAOK with coach Ilias [Papatheodorou] we had almost the same style of play as here at AEK.”
“I’m just happy to be in this position and really just want to keep helping the team win games.”
AEK have done nothing else but winning games since the start of the season, as they are undefeated not only in the BCL but also in the Greek Basket League.
[My advice to big men is] to know your role and be good in your role, and everything else will come to you – Yanick Moreira
In fact, they have only suffered one single defeat since last winter, at the hands of Hereda San Pablo Burgos in the 2020 BCL Final, on October 4th.
“Nobody thought that we would start the season like this, but we are working every day and the coaching staff does a great job of getting us ready for every game,” Moreira said.
“That’s why we are in this position right now, and we going to keep working and getting better.
“I know that our fans have high expectations, but right now we want them to stay patient and take it one game at a time.
“That’s all we can do, play one game at a time and we will see what this start of the season will lead us to.”
Moreira knows a thing or two about a BCL season leading to great things as he has a gold medal in his trophy case, the 2018-19 title with Segafredo Virtus Bologna.
I would love to have our fans back in the gym as soon as possible so we can have again in our game that energy that we miss so badly – Yanick Moreira
The Angolan big man joined the Italian powerhouse midway through that season, from PAOK. The Thessaloniki club was his first in Greece and then in 2019-20 he played for Peristeri before signing with AEK this offseason.
He modestly credits the level of competition in the BCL and the teammates he played with on those teams for his development as a player.
“My teammates and the coaching stuff are doing a great job of creating opportunities for me,” he said.
“And this league is really helping me to get better, it gives me the opportunity to go up against a lot of great big men.”
Moreira has some words of advice for fellow big men who find themselves playing on a team full of star guards, such as AEK.
“[My advice to big men is] to know your role and be good in your role, and everything else will come to you.
“I don’t have to do a lot because the guards I have in my team kind of know how I play, since we had played against each other for a while here in the Greek league, so I think that’s the key.
“But I also have to give credit to coach Ilias for getting me to play for him again.”
There is one milestone around the corner for AEK that doesn’t depend on Moreira’s and the rest of the team’s performances on the court, but it will be a huge moment for them and everybody at the club.
The Athens ‘Queen’ is poised to leave the OAKA Nikos Galis Hall in 2021 and move to their own arena, in a western suburb of Athens.
“I have already been to visit the new arena, shortly after I signed with AEK,” Moreira said.
“I would love to have our fans back in the gym as soon as possible so we can have again in our game that energy that we miss so badly,” the Angolan big man concluded.