Eighth-Final MVP - Smush Parker

26 February 2004

William “Smush” Parker proved his value to Aris Thessaloniki on the last day of the FIBA Europe League Qualifying Round. His 21-point, 11-assist and 8-rebound effort against Polonia Warbud was the key performance in a game which Aris had to win to qualify to the play-offs.

The reward for that victory  was a meeting with another Polish side, Anwil Wloclawek. It would have been difficult for Parker to have topped his effort against Polonia, but that is exactly what he did to retain his MVP status.

In the first match-up of the 3-game series, Parker left the scoring to team-mate Nestoras Kommatos, as the forward notched 32 points in the 85:96 away win. Parker, however, did just about everything else as he amassed 15 points, 8 rebounds, 13 assists and 7 steals.

Smush Parker (right) with Nestoras Kommatos
With the win safely in the bag both teams travelled back to Thessaloniki. Anwil were facing the possible end to their European season and were determined to give everything to win the game. As it turned out that’s what they did, taking Aris to 2 overtimes before the game was decided.

The difference, however, proved to be Parker. His stats of 32 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists do not tell the whole story. It was Parker’s lay-up with 9 seconds on the clock in regulation which tied the game and led to overtime. Anwil led again in the first extra period, before Parker once again levelled the score with just seconds remaining. In the second overtime, the guard managed to step up a gear, nailing all his shots and leading Aris to the win and one step closer to the Final Four.

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