- National Teams
Joel Freeland, Rowell Graham and Luke Nelson were named the 2011 Players of the Year by England Basketball in each of their respective categories this week.
Each winner was nominated by their head coach, with the awards recognising “outstanding and consistent leadership, teamwork and application based on performances on court, off court, in training and in competition.”
Joel Freeland was the winner in the Senior Men category after rejoining Team GB after missing last year’s campaign. Impressing as he averaged 16 points and 7.4 rebounds at the Olympic Test event, his presence was felt at Eurobasket as he averaged 11.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, culminating in a 27 point, 11 rebound double double against Poland. He has been dominant for club side Unicaja Malaga in Spain this season, being named Player of the Month in October.
Rowell Graham took the Under-18 men’s Player of the Year despite not starting for the England Under-18 men who competed in the Division B European Championships this summer. The athletic forward averaged 8.0 points and 6.1 rebounds per game whilst shooting 59.5% from the field. The accolade is all the more impressive considering he has only been playing organised basketball for two years.
Luke Nelson was named Under-16 men player of the year after starting at point guard for the Division A promotion-winning England side, averaging a team-high 13.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists on 42.1% shooting. Nelson came up big in the promotion clinching game with a 27 point, 7 rebounds, 6 assist performance against Israel.
Nelson played his club basketball for Worthing Thunder Juniors last season before joining Reading this season. Head coach Simon Fisher commented:
“Luke was a strong presence for the team on and off the floor. It was a tough call to make to choose a stand out, with some serious contenders, but Luke’s poise in the key games, and the stand-out performance against Israel earnt him this award.
“His development over the year was impressive. He worked on his physique, fundamentals and technical aspects to ensure he would be ready for the challenges ahead.”
For the women, Julie Page made it a double, taking the Senior Women’s title, to add to her 2011 British Basketball Player of the Year award, Rosie Hynes won in the Under-18 category, whilst Jay-Ann Bravo-Harriott was named the Under-16 player of the year.
What do you think? Agree with the winners or do you think others should have been taken into consideration?