Newcastle Eagles’ guard Joe Chapman has won the Molten BBL Most Valuable Player of the season award after a fine season with the north east club.
The 6’4” American guard had an outstanding year for the BBL regular season, Cup and Trophy champions, averaging 20.2 points, 3.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds in a team-high 34.7 minutes per game. He shot 55 percent from inside the three point arc and 39 percent from outside, scoring more three-pointers per game than anyone else in the league and coming second in total three-pointers.
Chapman’s achievement is made more remarkable by the fact that he missed the end of last season with a ruptured Achilles tendon, and his coach Fabulous Flournoy was delighted that he’d won the award:
“It’s truly well deserved,” he said. “The only person who ran him close would be Charles Smith, but coming back from his horrific injury to where he is now is truly astonishing. He’s probably only 75 percent of where he wants to be but I’m happy for him. He’s been left out in the past and he’s played hard for us and taken pride in what he’s done. He’s never got the player of the month award in three seasons, so it’ll really help him that his work has been rewarded.
“Everyone talks about Joe’s offence, but he takes great pride in his defence, and his leadership has really helped us this season. He’s an extra voice for us, and he steps up and does whatever we need him to do.”
Chapman was delighted with the award: “It’s a great award, and it think it pays tribute to the hard work and dedication I put in this year. I didn’t know if I’d even be able to play, so I had to stay focussed and try to be consistent. Running out in September and knowing that I could play again was the highlight of my year. Just getting the fear out my head that it’d happen again was important. I’ve been able to play hard and guard some of the best players in the league. I hope I’ve made everyone proud.”
With Flournoy picking up the Molten Coach of the year award, Eagles’ managing director Paul Blake had praise for his coach and Chapman: “Its fantastic news for both Fab and Joe to receive these awards. They are both hard working guys and had a long road back to recovery over the summer. I know it will mean that bit more to them both because of that. From a club perspective it just goes further to cap off what has been a momentous season for the club. I am certain they will both tell you it’s not over yet and they are desperate to make it four trophies this season.”
The award is voted for by the 11 BBL Championship coaches. Each coach nominates three players, with their top player getting three points, second two points and third one point. Coaches cannot vote for a player on their own team. Chapman gained four top spots on the way to 17 points.
Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders’ forward Ayron Hardy came second with 12 points, ahead of Richie Gordon (Worcester Wolves) 10 points, Charles Smith (Newcastle Eagles) six points and Cameron Rundles (Riders) five points.