Rahmon Fletcher scoops top award in British writers voting

Newcastle Eagles guard Rahmon Fletcher has been named as the Player of the Year in the Basketball Journalists Association’s annual awards for the 2016-17 season.

The Kansas City native, who had finished third in the last two BJA Player of the Year awards was a near unanimous winner this season with Leicester Riders’ Taylor King finishing second and London Lions big man Rashad Hassan, third.

“I am truly honoured to receive this award,” Fletcher said. “I am grateful to everyone in the Eagles organisation who has helped me this season and of course to my team-mates who have been with me every step of the way.”

Leicester Riders coach Rob Paternostro won the BJA Coach of the Year award for the second straight year after steering his side to back-to-back BBL Trophy wins plus a domestic crown with a shot of the treble at this Sunday’s Playoff Final against the Newcastle Eagles at the O2 Arena in London.

“I loved coaching this team, they were a great group of guys to be around every day,” Paternostro said. “We have a very unselfish group that worked extremely hard all season.”

Bristol Flyers Andreas Kapoulas came second with Surrey Scorchers’ Creon Raftopoulos ending up in third as both coaches guided their respective sides to the BBL Playoffs.

The Pete Jacques Award for best British player in the BBL has gone to Great Britain veteran and Glasgow Rocks’ own Kieron Achara, who narrowly beat Newcastle Eagles’ Orlan Jackman to the award. Leicester Riders guard Conner Washington finished third in the running.

“I am honoured to receive such an accolade,” Achara commented. “With so much British talent competing in the league it is nice to be recognised as one of the standouts.”

The Syd Lipski International Award for top British performer on the global stage goes to UC Irvine senior Luke Nelson.

The former Worthing Thunder junior and Reading Rockets standout enjoyed a stellar season in his final year with the Anteaters. Nelson led the team in scoring with 16.9 points per game, hitting at least 20 points on six occasions.

He was a member of the All-Big West first team for the second straight season and was selected to the All-Big West Tournament team for the third consecutive year.

Nelson finished his college career with UC Irvine by leading them with 258 threes and is fourth all-time in the Anteater record book with 1,531 points and 415 assists. He is also fifth in program history with 145 steals.

Oregon forward Kavell Bigby-Williams ended up in second after helping the Ducks reach their first NCAA Final Four since 1939. Bourges forward Jo Leedham finished third.