Euroleague Basketball is pleased to announce that center Mam Jaiteh of Virtus Segafedo Bologna has been voted as the 7DAYS EuroCup MVP for the 2021-22 season.
7DAYS EuroCup MVP: Mam Jaiteh, Virtus Segafedo Bologna
Jaiteh has dominated the paint for the EuroCup finalists and came through in the playoffs when his team needed him most. Jaiteh averaged 12.8 points on 71.1% two-point shooting plus 7.5 rebounds for a fifth-ranked performance index rating of 18.1 over 22 minutes per game in 20 appearances this season, his first with the club. He is Virtus's top scorer and rebounder, while his two-point shooting and rebounding rank fourth among all EuroCup players this season. He leads the competition in PIR on a per-minute basis, averaging 32.9 prorated over 40 minutes.
Fans, media, head coaches and team captains all took part in the All-EuroCup team voting from which the MVP was chosen. Jaiteh is both the first French player and the first player for an Italian team to win the EuroCup MVP award.
Jaiteh started the season with a bang by scoring 20 points on 8-for-10 two-point shooting in an 87-76 victory over ratiopharm Ulm in Round 2. He struggled a bit in the next few weeks as Virtus dropped back-to-back games, but when Jaiteh hit his groove, the team became tough to stop. Virtus went 5-0 this season when he scored at least 20 points. His best game of the season came in Round 14 when he posted one of his four double-doubles, 24 points and 12 rebounds against Umana Reyer Venice. Jaiteh made 9 of 11 two-point shots that night in compiling a PIR of 41 to earn the MVP of the Round honor.
When the playoffs began, Jaiteh was ready for the bright lights. He made 9 of 10 shots for 20 points and a PIR of 18 in an eighthfinals victory over Lietkabelis Panevezys. Next, he exploded for 27 points on 12-for-16 shooting and 11 rebounds in recording a PIR of 38 to beat Ulm in the quarterfinals. It was the highest PIR in a quarterfinals game since 2014 and gave him two of the 10 highest single-game index ratings in the EuroCup this season, Jaiteh's fifth in the EuroCup.
A product of the youth training system at France's National Institute of Sport, Jaiteh began to play professionally with SO Maritime Boulogne before joining JSF Nanterre for the 2013-14 season. It was there that Jaiteh made his debuts in both the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and the EuroCup. He also collected his first trophies, helping the team win the 2014 French Cup and both the French Semain d'As and the FIBA EuroChallenge.
After three seasons with Nanterre, one with Strasbourg, and a season and a half with Limoges, Jaiteh left France for the first time to play for Turin in Italy in 2018. He has since suited up for Avtodor Saratov in Russia and Gaziantep in Turkey before joining Virtus over the summer. Jaiteh has also played for the French national team, which he helped to the bronze medal at EuroBasket 2015.
Jaiteh will be front and center when Virtus hosts Frutti Extra Bursaspor on Wednesday, May 11, in the EuroCup Final, with the winner of that do-or-die game earning a place in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague next season.