Following the culmination of the 2017 regular season, the SEABL Awards have been presented at a luncheon at Greenfields Albert Park.
Two players at opposite ends of their SEABL careers have earned the Most Valuable Player with ten-year veteran Simon Conn claiming his first MVP for the men while first-year player Angela Beadle took out the women’s award.
Referees and coaches voted in a 3-2-1 system throughout the year at the end of each games with those votes then tallied at the end of the regular season to find a winner.
An incredibly consistent player over his career which has been spent at the Nunawading Spectres since 2011, Conn averaged over 20 points per game this year (20.8) for the fourth time in his career while shooting 53% from the field.
He also recorded seven double-doubles to average 9.1 rebounds per contest, finishing fifth in the league for scoring and seventh for boards.
Leading the Spectres in scoring as well, he has helped them reach the playoffs for the sixth time in the past seven seasons and will now be aiming to return to the Grand Final for the third occasion during that time.
Requiring a dominant presence in the paint this year to improve on their Runners-Up finishes from the past two years, Kilsyth Cobras may have found the key to success in Beadle.
Scoring at least 14 points in every game, she averaged 21. 6 points (second in the competition) while shooting 51% from the field and a league-best 85.8% from the free-throw line.
Recording her first double-double in Round 5, she went on to reach that mark in nine of her next 13 games and her 81 total offensive rebounds was the best mark in the league.
Beadle’s biggest task may be yet to come though as the Cobras now look to consolidate their first place in the East Conference and claim their first Championship since 2008.
The Coaches of the Year awards were won by Mt. Gambier Pioneers’ Richard Hill and David Herbert of the Geelong Supercats as voted by fellow coaches and captains.
Hill’s award is his second in the past three years and with a 21-3 record through the regular season, his side was far and away the most impressive once again.
They are now aiming to reach the Grand Final for a fifth consecutive time and win their third Championship in four years.
Herbert will lead Geelong into the playoffs for a third consecutive year after taking over the reins in 2015.
In the face of injuries as well as international and college commitments to several members of his team, Herbert has continued to bring out the best of the burgeoning group who finished the regular season second in the East Conference.
For the Defensive Player of the Year, coaches selected one player from their team and from that list, coaches and captains then voted.
A beast in the paint for the Bendigo Braves, CJ Aiken took out the men’s award after finishing second for rebounds per game with 12.4 per game as well as second overall for boards and third for defensive boards.
He also helped Bendigo to the equal-fourth best defence inside the paint for the league with a total of 36 blocks on the year.
In the women’s competition, Kathleen Scheer earned her first Defensive Player of the Year award, impressing in a solid front court for the Hobart Chargers.
She finished second for total rebounds and defensive rebounds while tallying ten more rejections than any other player and sitting eigth for steals with 37.
Chloe Bibby of the Bendigo Braves was named the Australian women’s Youth Player of the Year as voted by coaches and captains for athletes under the age of 21, having made a successful move from Dandenong at the end of last season.
She increased her point production from 10.4 to 17.9 a game as well as recording career-highs in rebounds (7.1) and assists (1.8).
Having captained the Australian Gems at the recent Under-19 World Cup, Bibby is certainly on the national radar before she heads to college in 2018.
Tom Wilson was a late pick-up for the Melbourne Tigers but he showed he belongs in SEABL instantly as he scored 20+ points in each of his first seven games.
He went on to average 19.7 points per contest, shooting 39% from the field and 37% from long range while his three-point buzzer-beater to defeat N/W Tasmania in Round 3 provided one of the season’s highlights.
Rounding out the awards, the All-SEABL First and Second Teams were named.
From a list of 30 players that received MVP votes throughout the regular season, coaches and captains then selected five for each team. Voting was split into Restricted and Unrestricted status with no more than three restricted players allowed in each team as per SEABL by-laws.
MVP Simon Conn was named for a fifth time in the men’s First team and was joined by Peter Hooley and Craig Moller from the Ballarat Miners, Mathiang Muo from the Chargers and Mt. Gambier Pioneers’ Daniel Alexander.
The All-SEABL Second team consisted of Tom Daly (Mt. Gambier), Tom Garlepp (Hobart), TJ Robinson of the Albury/Wodonga Bandits and Geelong Supercats’ DeMarcus Gatlin and Nathan Herbert.
For the women, the All-SEABL First team featured Marena Whittle from the Spectres, Chloe Bibby (Bendigo), Kathleen Scheer of Hobart for the fifth time in her career as well as Sara Blicavs (Geelong) and Lauren Scherf (Dandenong Rangers) for their third time each.
The All-SEABL Second team for the women saw Lauren Mansfield (Launceston Tornadoes), Tahlia Tupaea (Sydney Uni Sparks), Beadle from the Cobras, Monique Conti (Melbourne Tigers) and Chantel Horvat (Geelong Supercats) awarded.
The full list of 2017 SEABL Award Winners:
MVP: Simon Conn (Nunawading Spectres) and Angela Beadle (Kilsyth Cobras)
Coach of the Year: Richard Hill (Mt. Gambier Pioneers) and David Herbert (Geelong Supercats)
Defensive Player of the Year: CJ Aiken (Bendigo Braves) and Kathleen Scheer (Hobart Chargers)
Australian Youth Player of the Year: Tom Wilson (Melbourne Tigers) and Chloe Bibby (Bendigo Braves)
All-SEABL First Team: Peter Hooley (Ballarat Miners), Mathiang Muo (Hobart Chargers), Daniel Alexander (Mt. Gambier Pioneers), Craig Moller (Ballarat Miners), Simon Conn (Nunawading Spectres).
Marena Whittle (Nunawading Spectres, Sara Blicavs (Geelong Supercats), Kathleen Scheer (Hobart Chargers), Chloe Bibby (Bendigo Braves), Lauren Scherf (Dandenong Rangers).
All-SEABL Second Team: Tom Daly (Mt. Gambier Pioneers), DeMarcus Gatlin (Geelong Supercats), Nathan Herbert (Geelong Supercats), Tom Garlepp (Hobart Chargers), TJ Robinson (Albury/Wodonga Bandits).
Lauren Mansfield (Launceston Tornadoes), Tahlia Tupaea (Sydney Uni Sparks), Angela Beadle (Kilsyth Cobras), Monique Conti (Melbourne Tigers), Chantel Horvat (Geelong Supercats).
Leading Scorers: Blicavs (Supercats) with 23.2ppg and Muo (Chargers) with 22.8ppg.
Leading Rebounders: Scherf (Rangers) with 12.2rpg and Robinson (Bandits) with 13.4rpg.
Golden Hands: Mansfield (Tornadoes) and Shane McDonald (Spectres).
Club of the Year: Basketball Ballarat.