8 Feb 2023

Breakers guard wins at NBL Awards

5:30 am on 8 February 2023
Barry Brown Jr of the Breakers

Barry Brown Jr makes an impact for the Breakers this season. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Breakers import guard Barry Brown Jr has been recognised as the Best Sixth Man at the Australian NBL Awards on Tuesday night.

Brown's scoring efforts off the bench in his first season at the Breakers helped him pick up the award ahead of the Brisbane Bullets' Tyler Johnson and Tasmanian JackJumpers' Rashard Kelly by more than 30 votes.

The Breakers Will McDowell-White narrowly missed out on the Most Improved, finishing two votes behind winner Keanu Pinder from the Cairns Taipans.

Dererk Pardon also missed out on Best Defensive Player which was won by Antonius Cleveland's for the second year running, with the ferocious Adelaide defender becoming the eighth player in history to win back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year awards.

Breakers coach Mody Maor was overlooked for Coach of the Year, finishing second in the voting behind Cairns Taipans coach Adam Forde.

Forde engineered a dramatic turnaround in Far North Queensland. The Taipans finished ninth last year, winning just nine games, but doubled that win total this season to secure a spot in the Finals.

Sydney Kings' superstar Xavier Cooks has won the Andrew Gaze Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the season.

Cooks polled 120 votes, beating Perth's Bryce Cotton (96 votes) and South East Melbourne's Mitch Creek (80 votes).

Cooks becomes the third King to win the award in the past five seasons, joining Jaylen Adams (2022) and Andrew Bogut (2019).

The 27-year-old averaged 16.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists, while creating game changing plays on the defensive end on a consistent basis.

Cooks will now lead Sydney in the Finals in its championship defence, and continues to receive strong NBA interest.

MVP finalists Cooks, Cotton and Creek were joined in the All-NBL First Team by Sydney's Derrick Walton Jr and Tasmania's Milton Doyle.

New Zealand and Cairns had a strong presence in the All-NBL Second Team with two Breakers in Pardon and Brown Jr, and two Taipans in DJ Hogg and Pinder, joining Melbourne captain Chris Goulding.

Sam Waardenburg, who is in line to make his Tall Blacks debut this month, won the Next Generation Award for his standout first season in the league with the Taipans.

Filipino sensation Kai Sotto was voted the Fans' MVP for the second year in a row.