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NBL names Sydney Kings’ Xavier Cooks as MVP

Sydney Kings ace Xavier Cooks has been named the NBL's Most Valuable Player for 2022-23.

Sydney Kings ace Xavier Cooks has been named the NBL's Most Valuable Player for 2022-23. Photo: AAP

Xavier Cooks from Sydney Kings has been voted the NBL’s most valuable player for the 2022-2023 season.

Cooks is the third Kings player to be voted MVP in the past five years, joining Jaylen Adams (2022) and Andrew Bogut (2019).

The 27-year-old averaged a career-high 16.2 points per game, 7.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists whilst being a defensive stalwart for his side.

The 2.03-metre forward spearheaded the Kings to a league-best 19-9 record and a top-of-the-ladder finish before the league’s playoffs begin this week.

Cooks tallied 120 votes, beating Perth’s three-time MVP Bryce Cotton (96 votes) and South East Melbourne’s Mitch Creek (80 votes) to win the league’s highest award.

Earning MVP credentials is a huge boost for Cooks’ NBA aspirations, with the forward confirming he had recently met with scouts and noticed an increase in NBA eyes on Kings games.

The trio of MVP finalists are joined by Sydney’s Derrick Walton Jr and Tasmania’s Milton Doyle in the All NBL first team.

Coach-of-the-year honours went to Adam Forde from the Cairns Taipans on a successful night for the franchise.

Forde orchestrated a monumental turnaround for the club in just 12 months to take them from nine wins and a ninth place finish in 2022 to third overall and a 18-10 record this year.

Star forward Keanu Pinder was the Most Improved Player for consecutive seasons after averaging nearly 17 points per game, nine rebounds and 50 per cent shooting from the field.

His teammate Sam Waardenburg won the Next Generation Award and Taipans CEO Mark Beecroft was recognised as the Executive of the Year.

Antonious Cleveland from the Adelaide 36ers was another back-to-back recipient, named Defensive Player of the Year and becoming the eighth player in history to win the award consecutively.

Teammate Kai Sotto was voted Fan MVP for the second year in a row and Barry Brown Jr from the New Zealand Breakers was voted Sixth Man of the Year.

NBL AWARDS

MVP – Xavier Cooks (Sydney Kings)

Best Coach – Adam Forde (Cairns Taipans)

Most Improved Player – Keanu Pinder (Cairns Taipans)

Best Defensive Player – Antonious Cleveland (Adelaide 36ers)

Next Gen Award – Sam Waardenburg (Cairns Taipans)

Executive of the year – Mark Beecroft (Cairns Taipans)

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

-AAP
Topics: NBL
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