Full list of award winners, Xavier Cooks NBL MVP, Sydney Kings, nominees, categories, latest news

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Sydney star Xavier Cooks has capped off a stunning season by being named the NBL’s Most Valuable Player, adding to his allure for already keen NBA teams.

The 27-year-old big man did it all this season, averaging 16.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists in leading his team to the minor premiership, dominating both ends of the floor as a hyper-efficient anchor for the Kings.

Ballarat-born Cooks, who grew up in Wollongong while father Eric played for the Hawks, was a runaway winner of the Andrew Gaze Trophy, beating out Perth’s triple-MVP Bryce Cotton by 24 votes. Star South East Melbourne forward Mitch Creek was third.

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Only injury has stood in the way of Cooks being the league’s best player in each of the past two years and the top individual honour is rich reward for his rapid improvement.

The crown is another feat to add to a resume that includes a 2021 NBL finals MVP in the Kings’ championship and underscores the strong interest from NBA scouts.

He joins Andrew Bogut and Jaylen Adams as the third King in the past five season to take home the award.

NZ Breakers lock in second spot in NBL | 00:57

The trio of MVP finalists were joined in the All-NBL First Team by versatile Tasmania guard Milton Doyle and Kings’ floor general Derrick Walton Jr.

Adelaide 36ers’ star Antonius Cleveland’s rugged defence helped him make it consecutive Damian Martin trophies.

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The American was named Defensive Player of the Year in a field of three which sparked controversy during the week.

The Kings’ hierarchy was miffed Cooks and lockdown wing Justin Simon were not named among the three finalists. Even Martin, himself, had Simon winning the award.

Cleveland, who was the reigning winner after his brilliant season in Illawarra, used his supreme athleticism to impact games at the defensive end — although his team struggled to contain opponents.

Cairns mentor Adam Forde held off New Zealand’s Mody Maor and Sydney’s Chase Buford for the Coach of the Year after spearheading Cairns’ rise up the ladder. Forde used pre-season predictions the Taipans would finish last to spur his team to third on the ladder.

Jackjumpers thrash Hawks in Wollongong | 01:12

Maor could consider himself a little stiff, given the Breakers had spent the best part of two Covid-affected seasons in the doldrums, playing home games in Australia, before he took the reins, revamped the roster and led the Breakers into the semi finals.

Cairns dominated the other awards on a banner night for the club, star big man Keanu Pinder taking home back-to-back Most Improved Player gongs, teammate Sam Waardenburg claiming the Next Generation Award and club boss Mark Beecroft named the league’s Executive of the Year.

Breakers’ bench spark plug Barry Brown Jr was the obvious Best Sixth Man, netting more than half the votes after his instant offence put him in the top five scorers in the league.

Departing Adelaide 36er Kai Sotto enjoyed a flood of support from his Filipino compatriots, claiming a second consecutive Fans MVP.

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Andrew Gaze Trophy for Most Valuable Player

Xavier Cooks (Sydney) – 120 votes

Bryce Cotton (Perth) – 96 votes

Mitch Creek (South East Melbourne) – 80 votes

Most Improved Player

Keanu Pinder (Cairns) – 48 votes

Will McDowell-White (New Zealand) – 46 votes

Sean Macdonald (Tasmania) – 34 votes

Damian Martin Trophy for the Best Defensive Player

Antonius Cleveland (Adelaide) – 37 votes

Dererk Pardon (New Zealand) – 34 votes

Shea Ili (Melbourne) – 26 votes

Best Sixth Man

Barry Brown Jr (New Zealand) – 73 votes

Tyler Johnson (Brisbane) – 41 votes

Rashard Kelly (Tasmania) – 26 votes

Lindsay Gaze Trophy for Coach of the Year

Adam Forde (Cairns) – 64 votes

Mody Maor (New Zealand) – 52 votes

Chase Buford (Sydney) – 34 votes

Next Generation Award

Sam Waardenburg (Cairns) – 47 votes

Sam Froling (Illawarra) – 45 votes

Luke Travers (Perth) – 24 votes

All-NBL First Team

Xavier Cooks (Sydney) – 54 votes

Mitch Creek (South East Melbourne) – 45 votes

Bryce Cotton (Perth) – 54 votes

Milton Doyle (Tasmania) – 42 votes

Derrick Walton Jr (Sydney) – 41 votes

All-NBL Second Team

Keanu Pinder (Cairns) – 33 votes

Dererk Pardon (New Zealand) – 22 votes

Barry Brown Jr (New Zealand) – 37 votes

DJ Hogg (Cairns) – 30 votes

Chris Goulding (Melbourne) – 23 votes

Executive of the Year

Mark Beecroft (Cairns)

Fans’ MVP

Kai Sotto (Adelaide)

Gametime by Kmart Award

Reuben Te Rangi (South East Melbourne)

Referee of the Year

Vaughan Mayberry

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