For Tall Blacks guard Phil Jones 2009 will not be a year he will forget after being named the National Basketball League MVP for the first time in his career.
Jones has also won the John Macdonald Trophy for Most Valuable Kiwi Guard which is the sixth time he has won the award winning it last season. Jones finished the regular season fourth in scoring at 23.1 points per game and led the league in three point field goal percentage being the only player in the league to shoot 50% from the outside.
This has been quite a year for Phil Jones being named 6th man of the year in the Australian NBL, bringing up is 5000th career NBL Point in Round Six against the Manawatu Jets and finally leading his ecogise Nelson Giants to the Finals series.
In his first season in the NBL Waikato Pistons rookie swingman Thomas Abercrombie has made quite an impression being named Most Outstanding Forward, Most Outstanding Kiwi Forward and Rookie of the Year.
This is the first time in the history of the NBL that a rookie has claimed the Most Outstanding Forward Award and it is the first time since 1987 that a rookie has claimed Most Outstanding Kiwi forward when Glen Denham won it.
In the regular season Abercrombie averaged 15.8 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 16 games. This regular season Abercrombie had a league high 19 rebounds, and also 6 blocks in a game.
After an outstanding season leading the Bartercard Christchurch Cougars franchise to a semi final in their first year in the league point guard Paul Henare became the Assist Champ for the fifth time averaging 6.5 assists per game.
Pistons Coach Dean Vickerman deservedly was named Coach of the Year coaching his Pistons side to a 14 win 2 loss record and now one game away from winning the Championship. It has been nearly six years since Vickerman coached in the NBL coaching the Wellington Saints in 2002 and what way a to return to the league winning the award and possibly a championship.
Century City Saints import Mike Efevberha was named Most Outstanding Guard also winning the scoring title at 27.8 points per game. Efevberha scored over 30 points in a game 8 times and reached over the 40 point mark on two occasions.
Pistons Adam Ballinger and Cougars Tim Behrendorff have been named in the All Star Five alongside Jones, Abercrombie and Efevberha.
Ballinger has been consistent all year averaging 18.7 points and 1.6 blocks per game. The same can be said of Behrendorff who averaged 18 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.
What did you make of the Tall Blacks' World Cup campaign?