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NBL/WNBL - All the Winners

SUZY "Batgirl" Batkovic and Cedric "The Entertainer" Jackson are the toast of Australian basketball tonight after claiming their richly-deserved respective MVP awards.

Lightning centre Suze again dominated the WNBL, leading it in scoring (21.0ppg), rebounding (9.6rpg) and blocks (2.5bpg) and by making it back-to-back MVP awards, put herself among those immortals with multiple wins.

Batkovic joined the greats - Karen Ogden (1982-83), Robyn Maher (1983-87), Julie Nykiel (1984-88), Kathy Foster (1985-86-89), Debbie Slimmon (1990-92), Rachael Sporn (1996-97), Lauren Jackson (1999-2000-03-04), Penny Taylor (2001-02) and Katrina Hibbert (2005-06) - and showed she has plenty of seasons left to terrorise the WNBL.

Jacko becomes just the second New Zealand player to claim the league's top individual honour, following Kirk Penney's footsteps in 2009. And he maintains the trend toward guards winning the award, following Kevin Lisch in 2012, Gary Ervin 2011 and Corey Williams 2010.

He led NZ to the regular season championship averaging 15.1ppg, 5.8 rebounds and league bests with 7.1 assists and 2.5 steals.

The joy continued for the Breakers with Andrej Lemanis taking the Coach of the Year accolade after steering NZ to a 24-4 win-loss record and Jackson also named in the All Star Five (First Team).

With Jackson were Kevin Lisch (Perth), Ben Madgen (Sydney), Seth Scott (Melbourne) and Matt Knight (Perth).

Madgen also claimed the Most Improved Player award.

Perth's Damian Martin won Best Defensive, Cairns' Cameron Gliddon named Rookie of the Year and Wollongong sparkplug Adris Deleon is the Best Sixth Man.

Michael Aylen was named the NBL's Referee of the Year, standing head-and-shoulders above most of the officiating pack.

Batkovic naturally made the WNBL All Star Five with fellow London Olympians Kristi Harrower (Bendigo), Kathleen MacLeod and Jenna O'Hea (Dandenong). Bendigo centre Gabrielle Richards - who had a stellar season - completed the Stars quintet.

Lightning's Stephanie Talbot was named the Betty Watson Rookie of the Year, Harrower the Robyn Maher Best Defensive Player.

Bendigo's Bernie Harrower, who steered the Spirit to the Pre-SeaSon Tournament title, the regular season championship and the club's historic first league championship, was the clear-cut winner of the Coach of the Year.

Damian Lyons was named WNBL Referee of the Year.


THE International Player of the Year awards are always interesting in the wake of an Olympic Games or World Championship.

(The rest of the time, it hardly even makes sense.)

Opals centre Liz Cambage - the first woman to dunk at an Olympic Games - was Australia's female IPotY.

Spain-based accomplished Boomers starter Joe Ingles was named the male IPotY.

Shaun Norris (Rollers) and Cobi Crispin (Gliders) were the respective men's and women's Wheelchair International Players of the Year.


AND now for the night's better momnents...

The ABC's Stephanie Brantz again hosted well but it was a tough and largely unresponsive crowd.

That is until Lightning's Steph Talbot hit the stage to accept her Rookie award. Asked what she had learned from playing with Olympians Suzy Batkovic, Laura Hodges and Jenni Screen, Talbot summed it up in one word: "Shitloads."

That brought the house down and showed there was life in the audience.

(You can take the kid out of Kadina but you can't take Kadina outta the kid.)

Well done to Damo, Damian Martin in winning the NBL's Best Defensive mantle again. But seriously NBL ... a highlights package which showed Damo scoring threes and drives? The award was for Best Defensive. Remember those games where he had soaring blocks, or steals? Or where opponents put on the shake-and-bake and couldn't get around him? That's the footage we wanted to see. Must even simple things be half-a$$ed?

Nice comment from a distracted Damo too while he looked at several of the big screens dotted around the Palladium.

"Just caught a glimpse of my ears," he said. "Geez they're big!"

Good work to the WNBL, the ABC footage of Kristi Harrower's Best Defensive player win showed her doing what she does AT THE DEFENSIVE END.

The Batgirl showed her class too, using her MVP moment at the mike to compliment the great work Kristi did this year with Bendigo, before thanking her mum and her teammates.

Yeah, that's right. She forgot me again!!

Acknowledging the work of three retirees - Glen Saville, Nathan Crosswell and Dillon Boucher - with highlights packages and a chance at the mike for each was probably my personal highlight, after Steph Talbot, of course.

Sorry to see these men hanging up their boots but gratified to have enjoyed their great and diverse careers. Wish them only the best in their future endeavors and thanks for the memories.

Always good to see a starter win Best Sixth Man so good job Adris Deleon. Probably just pipped 36ers starter Anthony Petrie...

Seth Scott, probably the surprise member of the All Star Five - Daniel Johnson has good reason to feel miffed - had a chance to speak to the audience too.

He definitely wasn't studying law or microbiology at university.

Was very sad for 36ers guard Tom Daly.

This is the third straight season he has lost the Rookie of the Year award.

(Thank you to @NotAnAusHooper for that, best tweet of the night.)

And also for pointing out that 9th place in the MVP award went to Aniel Johnson.

Don't mean to get all anal about it but can some things just be checked before put on screen?

Lucas Walker got to hit the stage with Samantha Jade, her dancers and backing singers but perhaps could have seized his moment during To The Left To The Left to tell them they were all pointing to the right.

Was definitely at the right table in case there was a sudden blackout.

Could just have followed Peter Walsh's suit out of the building.

Ah rumors, rumors. Word is out West this will be the last playoff campaign for someone whose name possibly rhymes with Bevan Dish. (Hey, it was loud in there and hard to hear!)

He will be popular in Europe.

And maybe one of the two most important men in the Wildcats organisation will have to move along at the end of this season.

The 36ers are in the market for a new coach... Just saying.

OK. That's it for now. Going to bed at last.

But before I do, thank you to you for being here to read this. I have no doubt any personal success I may have experienced at the awards dinner was due in no small part to your support of my blog. It made staying up late watching to keep up while I was away in Hawaii doubly rewarding.

Thank you and Aloha!

Mar 25

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