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Cotton, Gleeson claim top honours



Five time Wildcats championship winning coach Trevor Gleeson has won his first Coach of the Year award, star player Bryce Cotton winning his third Andrew Gaze MVP trophy as part of the 2020-21 NBL Awards night on Wednesday.


Despite coaching the most dominant side in the competition for the best part of a decade the Coach of the Year gong has eluded Gleeson, finally recognised for guiding a Wildcats side to a Grand Final series that without 2019-20 championship stars Miles Plumlee and Nick Kay, talisman Cotton missing the business end of the season with a quadriceps injury.


Cotton has won his third Andrew Gaze Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP), having made an incredible mark on the competition since arriving in Australia midway through the 2016-17 season, also having won three championships and two Grand Final MVP awards.


Cotton tallied 112 votes after his terrific season, beating out the second placed Tyler Harvey (Illawarra) on 74 votes and third placed Nathan Sobey (Brisbane) on 55 votes.


The honour cements Cotton’s place as one of the NBL’s all-time greats, as he has now won back-to-back MVPs and three of the past four. Cotton was also voted the Fans MVP.


Gleeson won the Lindsay Gaze Coach of the Year award by 14 votes from Hawks mentor Brian Goorjian, Dean Vickerman in third on 35 votes.


Cotton was also named to the All-NBL First Team Presented by Bunnings Trade. He was joined in the team by Harvey (Illawarra Hawks), Sobey (Brisbane Bullets), John Mooney (Perth) and Jock Landale (Melbourne United).


Illawarra’s Justin Simon was named winner of the Damian Martin Trophy for the Best Defensive Player while his teammate Sam Froling won the Most Improved Player award.


NBL Next Star and projected first round NBA draft pick Josh Giddey (Adelaide 36ers) won the Rookie of the Year while Melbourne’s Jo Lual-Acuil won the Best Sixth Man.


The All-NBL Second Team comprised of Finn Delany (Sky Sport New Zealand Breakers), Mitch Creek (South East Melbourne Phoenix), Chris Goulding (Melbourne), Mitch McCarron (Melbourne) and Casper Ware (Sydney Kings).


Attention now turns to the Grand Final series between Melbourne United and Perth Wildcats, with game one on Friday night broadcast on 91.3 Sport FM.


IMAGE: The West Australian.