- National Teams
Temi Fagbenle and Gabe Olaseni are the Senior Women and Men’s Player of the Year as Basketball England have revealed their National Player of the Year awards for 2022/23.
It marks the third consecutive time and fifth overall that Fagbenle has taken the honours, along with the fifth time Olaseni has taken the men’s award.
An U23 Men’s and Women’s awards were added for the first time to the 2022/23 selections, taking the number of categories to eight, with Wake Forest’s Cameron Hildreth and London Lions’ Holly Winterburn being recognised.
Meanwhile, former Barking Abbey guard Nedas Cholevinskas takes home the Under-18 Men’s honours, with CoLA’s Felicia Jacobs winning the female equivelant.
In the Under-16 categories, Manchester Magic’s Jack Walton and Milton Keynes’ Breakers Athena Thompson were both selected.
The panel considered domestic, European and international performances when selecting the winners.
Gabe Olaseni takes the Men’s award, his fifth overall after wins in 15/16, 16/17, 18/19 and 20/21, following a strong season with Turkish top-flight team Darussafaka. Playing 32 games, Olaseni averaged 12.7PPG and 7.4RPG with a 61.2FG%.
The 32-year-old was a key figure as Darussafaka finished sixth in the league, also reaching the Last 16 of the Champions League.
Olaseni also continued as a key part of the GB set up, averaging over 30 minutes per game along with 17.0PPG and 5.0RPG.
Temi Fagbenle made it four awards in the last five years after excelling across GB, EuroLeague and Czech First Division play.
Fagbenle helped USK Praha to their 13th straight league title, with the team also bagging a second-straight fourth place finish in EuroLeague.
The forward also picked up 21.5PPG along with 7.3RPG and 3.3APG for coach Buceta’s England side across their EuroBasket qualifiers.
Wake Forest’s Cameron Hildreth and London Lions’ Holly Winterburn are the inaugural winners of the U23 awards.
Hildreth excelled in the ACC during his sophomore campaign in North Carolina, averaging over 31 minutes per game to go with 12.4PPG, 5.3RPG and 2.8APG across a 12-5 campaign.
Winterburn has played an integral part in the London Lions’ success across the season, completing another domestic clean sweep across the WBBL league, playoffs, Trophy and Cup.
The former WEABL talent also remained a key piece of the senior GB set up, averaging 12.0PPG and 7.0RPG.
Nedas Cholevinskas takes the U18 Men’s award after leading Barking Abbey to their fifth EABL title (15.0PPG, 7.8RPG), also starring for GB’s U18s in the summer of 2023 as they finished fifth in Division B of the European Championships (14.9PPG, 6.9RPG).
CoLA’s Felicia Jacobs has walked a similar path as the other U18 winner, excelling across both domestic and international basketball. CoLA won the WEABL title (9.0PPG, 9.2RPG) as Jacobs also played over 20 minutes per game for the U18 GB side (8.1PPG, 7.4RPG).
Leia Edwards was in strong consideration for the U18 award after a solid campaign with Sierra Canyon, but her heart-breaking injury for GB in the opening game of their European Championship ultimately opened the door for Jacobs to move ahead.
Jack Walton‘s MVP performance allowed Manchester Magic to win the Sure Shot U16 Boys’ National Cup, with the talented guard also playing healthy minutes for coach Culley’s GB U16 team, finishing with 7.1PPG and 3.9RPG.
The U16 Girls’ winner was Milton Keynes Breakers’ standout Athena Thompson. The 5’9″ shooter has continued her rise through the junior ranks, starring for both club and country as part of the GB U16 Girls (14.0PPG) this past summer.
Awarded each season to recognise the top performing male and female players at each age group (seniors, U23s, U18s and U16s), the prestigious honours date all the way back to the 1970/71 season.
Following a brief hiatus before the 2021/22 season, the awards are now continuing on an annual basis.