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AS THE regular season draws to an end, I wanted to mark my last column of the season by getting a few fan favourites to contribute towards my last feature.
But first I bring you the all the latest results from the last week of games.
Wednesday saw Cheshire Phoenix travel down to the capital to face the London Lions, resulting in a loss — Lions taking the home win with a score of 87-61.
The Surrey Scorchers faced off against the Plymouth Raiders with the Raiders taking the win, beating Scorchers 106-82.
Friday night live action kicked off on Sky Sports with league leaders Leicester Riders travelling down to face the Newcastle Eagles. Riders left empty-handed with a huge performance by the Eagles, winning 90-80.
Lions seem to be back on a winning streak with another triumph at home, this time beating Surrey Scorchers 92-84.
There was also a tight contest between Bristol Flyers and the Sheffield Sharks. However, the Flyers just couldn’t quite get the win. Final score, Flyers 91-96 Sharks.
Over in Glasgow the Manchester Giants secured the bag with a win over the Rocks — 101-83.
Sunday saw The Surrey Scorchers pick up a win after their loss to the Lions on Friday, bouncing back to beat the Giants 77-73.
The Bristol Flyers started positively against second in the league, the Lions, after their recent loss the other week. But the London side came back with a sharp performance in the second half, defeating the away team with the end result being 85-74.
There was a closely contended game between the Newcastle Eagles and the Glasgow Rocks, but the Eagles flew away with the win in the end, final score 85-83.
The Sheffield Sharks came up with the goods and beat the Worcester Wolves 91-88.
After their loss against the Lions, Cheshire Phoenix were looking to bounce back but it didn’t quite go as expected as they picked up another loss against Plymouth Raiders — 69-85.
As the regular season comes to a head, I spoke to a few from the sport to share their thoughts on who they think should be awarded coach of the year, Most Valuable Player (MVP), one to watch and their overall general thoughts on the league, which as we know has been a strange but competitive one.
Kieron Achara MBE (Former Glasgow Rocks, Scotland and Great Britain player): “My MVP of the season is between Geno Crandall and DeAndre Liggins. Leaning towards Geno if they win the league.
“Coach of the year? Rob Paternostro. Leicester have been the most consistent team and have a defensive mindset (second in league for points conceded per game).
“My one to watch has to be Denzel Ubiaro. He has shown moments of brilliance this year and I think he still has so much more to show.
“I have loved being a part of the Buzz 16 team. I’ve learned a lot more about the production side of things while also being able to stay a part of the basketball family.
“Having our beautiful game broadcast on mainstream TV and our players, coaches and officials getting the recognition they deserve has truly been a joy to be a part of. All we need now is for our wonderful fans to be back in the arenas.”
Matthew Bryan-Amaning (Cheshire Phoenix): “For me MVP has got to be either Geno or Liggins. I think the level has been good and more consistent throughout the league which makes things more competitive. Anyone can beat anyone, so it’s about who executes better.
“Next season I think the franchises need to look better into their infrastructure. They need to have full staff where possible so things can run more like a business and it becomes more professional.”
“Coach of the year? Rob Paternostro.”
Nat Coombs (Presenter for Buzz 16):
“MVP? Geno Crandall (Leicester Riders)
“Coach of the season? Rob Paternostro (Leicester Riders) with an honourable mention to PJ.
“One to watch? Rickey McGill of the Plymouth Raiders.
“[My] first season of presenting has been a blast! Great team to work with and such a wide open play-offs coming up. Now we just need the fans back.”
Ashley Hamilton (Plymouth Raiders player): “Playing without fans has been weird and a big adjustment. At the beginning of the season, the newness of it was a shock. It’s more difficult on days when the body is hurting and mind is tired.
“The increase in exposure has been great. I hope we continue in this direction. There are so many amazing players in this league, they deserve to be highlighted. Even articles such as this one are great as they continue to grow the game and have been missing in the past.
“I think myself or Ricky McGill are the MVPs.
“Coach of the year is Paul James.”
Justin Robinson (2X MVP and London Lions player): “It will be a hard decision for the players but I think for the players it will come down to three guys. Dirk Williams, DeAndre Liggins or Geno Crandall.
“Me personally I’d say it’s a toss up between Williams or Liggins but with Leicester at No 1, I think Crandall may just edge them out. It all depends which team finishes first.
“Gotta go with Rob Paternostro of Leicester [for coach of the year]. He’s got a lot of new guys this year but he’s done a great job of getting those guys to play the Leicester way.
“Looks like they are going to lock up the No 1 spot in the league even though having some injuries to key players throughout the season. So it’s hard to argue against that.
“I think Vince Macaulay deserves a shout-out too with London Lions being second in the league.
“One to watch I would say is Justin Gordon of Newcastle. Extremely versatile, can score, rebound and defend, he’s also sort of the motor that gets them going with all his intangibles. I’d say he’s one to look out for. Definitely has a bright future ahead of him.”
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