Sunday, June 10, 2018

Two teams rising up the ladder are represented in the May men’s honours with Tom Wilson of the Melbourne Tigers and Ballarat Miners’ Nathan Cooper-Brown earning the Player and Coach of the Month respectively.

From an 0-3 start, the Tigers have raced into playoff contention on the back of seven consecutive victories, five of which came in May and Wilson (alongside some strong performances from Dexter Kernich-Drew) has been the catalyst.

He averaged 28.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, 5.2 assists and a steal across those five wins while shooting 55% from the field and 21-48 (44%) from the three-point line in a highly efficient month.

Wilson now sits first in the competition for scoring, second for free-throws made and second for three-pointers made while he continues to defy his point guard role with the fourth most amount of defensive rebounds in the league.

Against Sandringham on May 6, he recorded a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds and then the following round saw Wilson play every minute in a victory over Bendigo as he finished with 28 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.

He shot 13-15 from the free-throw line in that game, with his relentless pressure at the offensive end proving too much for the Braves and he also drilled 3-7 from beyond the arc.

That performance may have sparked him as Wilson then went on a tear in Round 7 in a double-header against the CoE and Frankston.

He averaged 35 points on 67% shooting in those two wins, also hitting 14-21 (67%) from beyond the arc in an absolutely dominant display.

Wilson added nine rebounds and five assists per game too for the round and his efforts over those past three contests earned him consecutive Player of the Week awards as he took his game to an unmatchable level.

Finishing off the month of May in a re-match against Sandringham, Wilson could not maintain his form from distance but 13-16 shooting from the charity stripe still led him to 25 points, six boards and six assists in another victory.

Melbourne will not be able to rely on his form all year and still need others to step up if they are to make some noise in the playoffs but Wilson’s month has given them a chance to make the post-season for the first time since the Tigers re-entered the league.

Nathan Cooper-Brown has the Miners in their best form heading into the second half of the season and their 4-1 record through May has helped them move into second spot on the ladder.

They are the only undefeated team at home left in the competition and disposed of Sandringham and Frankston through May at the Minerdome while also getting the better of Albury/Wodonga and N/W Tasmania on the road.

Their electric offence is leading them to average 95.4 points per game which is ten points above the league average and they simply blew the Bandits and Blues out of the water with scores of 115+.

Six players are recording double-digits in scoring under the tutelage of Cooper-Brown with Nic Pozoglou fitting into the team seamlessly and import Josh Fox one of only six players averaging a double-double with 14.3 points and 12.2 rebounds.

Sam Short is having his most productive year, increasing his career average of 6.6 points to 11.6, his rebounds from 3.2 to 4.8 and assists from 2.5 to 4.1 this season while the combination of Peter Hooley and Davon Usher is working wonders with both players adding 20 points per game each.

In the run home to the playoffs, the Miners will be confident of maintaining their top two position with five of their last eight games coming at home including a four-game home stand between Round 10 and 13.