Newcastle Eagles forward Charles Smith has been named as the Player of the Year in the British-based Basketball Journalists Association’s annual awards for the 2014-15 season.

The 39-year-old veteran, and older brother of Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv’s Devin Smith is a prime reason why Newcastle will be bidding to complete a domestic clean sweep in Sunday’s BBL Playoff Final at London’s 02 Arena.

Smith  edged out Demond Watt of Cheshire Phoenix for the prize with Eagles team-mate Rahmon Fletcher third.

“Winning Player of the Year is something I never thought, of especially at this stage of my career,” said Smith. “Whilst I’m more concerned with my team winning then individual success, but it’s an honour to have my hard work and dedication acknowledged.

“This season has been a very special one for me, not only because we have won trophies but also the way we have come together as a team through everything that has been thrown at us and we are now one win away from our goal.  It’s been a great honour to lead this group of guys and it’s a season I will never forget.”

It was a double win for the Eagles as big man Darius Defoe scooped the Pete Jacques Award for best British player in the BBL due mainly to his league-leading defensive rating this term.

He saw off Glasgow Rocks’ Great Britain captain Kieron Achara with Sheffield Sharks’ GB Under-20 international Nick Lewis in third.

Bristol Flyers coach Andreas Kapoulas has been confirmed as the Molten BBL Coach of the Year for the first time, in recognition of a brilliant debut season for the club in the British Basketball League where they finished eighth in addition to reaching the Cup semi-finals.

Kapoulas narrowly beat out 2014 recipient Fab Flournoy of Newcastle in the voting among BJA members – with 2013 victor, Rob Paternostro of Leicester Riders, in third.

“This has been an historic moment for the club to come eighth in our first year,” Kapoulas said. “It has made a really positive impact and been great for the players, the city and basketball here.

“It’s been a year of discovery but the award is recognition for what we’ve done over the past ten years to get here, as well as for the hard work put in by my assistants and – most of all – my players. This was the start but now the objective is to push on.”

The Syd Lipski International Award for top British performer on the global stage goes to Great Britain forward Myles Hesson following an outstanding campaign with German Bundesliga outfit Bremerhaven, where the Birmingham-born player averaged 12.2 points and 4.9 rebounds.

He pipped another senior internationalist, Matthew Bryan-Amaning – who helped Soles to lift the Mexican League championship.

In third place is GB Under-20 cap Luke Nelson after the prospect led the University of California-Irvine into the NCAA Tournament in his sophmore season in college – with 2014 recipient Johannah Leedham of Bourges in fourth.


Via BBL:

Newcastle Eagles forward Charles Smith has been crowned BBL MVP for the first time in his distinguished career.

The veteran has been a pivotal factor in his team completing a silverware treble and was the standout choice of BBL clubs who voted in the poll.

The prestigious award follows on from his BBL Trophy MVP gong, recent Molten Player of the Month award for April and also being named BBL Player of the Year by the Basketball Journalists Association (BJA) in their annual awards.

Also featuring in seven BBL Team of the Week starting five line-ups during the campaign, Smith has certainly been the difference maker for the Eagles in so many games.

Playing with a fractured hand, he turned the BBL Trophy Final on its head with some huge plays during crunch time and with injuries piling up for the Eagles at the end of the regular season, Smith was instrumental in getting his side over the line to complete the defence of their BBL title.

He was also just shaded for MVP honours by team-mate Rahmon Fletcher during the BBL Cup Final back in January, when he top scored for his team with 21 points against former side Glasgow Rocks.

Smith averaged 18.6 points per game during the regular season from an eye-catching 53% shooting and he also corralled 6.5 boards, 2.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game.

Nicknamed ‘Charlie Buckets’ by supporters who worship him on Tyneside, Smith has further cemented his status as a club legend with this honour, while many would also now argue he is a bonafide BBL legend too.

Not least, Eagles’ Chief Executive Paul Blake, who has been instrumental in keeping him at the club for the bulk of his career.

He said, “There really are few words left to say about the brilliance of Charles, because it’s all been said before – so many times.

“The fact that he has still managed to stand out in what is very much a team-orientated set-up does speak absolute volumes.

“He gets better with age and just when you think he couldn’t possibly produce anything more special – he then pulls out something even more outstanding.

“Charles is an Eagles legend and I think that with this deserved MVP award, it also rubber stamps that legend status within a BBL context too.”

Demond Watt was second in the voting, with the Cheshire Phoenix star having been phenomenally consistent throughout his first year in the league – topping the chart for shooting with an incredible 65% from the floor.

He was closely followed by his Cheshire team-mate Taylor King, who took the final place on the podium in the poll, having led the BBL in scoring during the regular season with 20.1 points per game.