Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My Awards Go To!

With only one week remaining in the NBL regular season, the placings of most of the top eight teams are still too close to call. But I think I have my picks for the individual awards picked. Here they are:

MVP: I’m giving this one to Chris Anstey because I think he is a necessity for his team if they have any chance of winning the title. If he doesn’t play, they become average quickly.

Ebi Ere will get a lot of votes because he scores a lot of points, but a player like Anstey can have (and has had) multiple games where he contributes 20 points and 20 rebounds. This is something this league has rarely seen once, let alone several times in one season.

If Ere comes away with the prize in this category I won’t lose any sleep, but Anstey gets my vote for MVP.

Coach of the Year: When a team goes 25-3 (which is the King’s record to date), it’s an easy choice. Brian Goorjian has his Kings humming along nicely. This accomplishment may be one of Goorjian’s best as a coach. If you rewind to the start of the season, no one would have dreamed that the Kings would have such a successful regular season.

My hat is off to Goorj. Let’s hope he can continue with a little of that midas touch at the 2008 Olympics.

Rookie of the Year: Nathan Jawai…then daylight. In a season filled with good rookies, this Taipan has out shined them all and has put together a great season. “Baby Shaq” has not only been the best rookie, but one of the league’s best players this year. Now the question is, “Will he be in the NBA next season?”. I hope so.

Best Sixth Man: Stephen Hoare of the Melbourne Tigers has owned this award the last few seasons and has had another solid year. But Sydney Kings’ import Dontaye Draper wins the award in my book. Draper has single handedly won games for the Kings this year with his speed and creative ball handling. As they say, Draper wins the award, more so than Hoare loses it.”

Best Defensive Player: Setting aside any personal bias, I’m going with Galen Young. Galen has very quietly “locked up” some of the most dangerous offensive players in the league this year. He goes about his business often undetected by anyone and everyone,…except the opponents he battles each and every night on the court.

Most Improved (or as I’m going to call it, Most Improved Court Time): This one deserves to go to a former Croc, Cameron Tragardh. He has had a stellar year with the Wollongong Hawks. For many years he had been dubbed an excellent ABA player who had not stepped up to an NBL level when given a chance. Well, Tragardh had a massive opportunity with Wollongong and did not let this opportunity go by without producing a number of 20 point/10 rebound games over the course of the season. Which now begs the question, can he do it again next season?

There you have it, my list of award winners. I better get back to practice so I can help the Crocs receive the most important award, an NBL champions.

My article can be found in the Townsville Bulletin weekly.

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