Newcastle Eagles’ Jaysean Paige lands British writers top honour

Newcastle Eagles guard Jaysean Paige has been named as the BBL Player of the Year in the British Basketball Journalists Association’s annual awards for the 2017-18 season.

Paige, who led the British Basketball League in scoring this season with an average of 22.6 points a game, saw-off Surrey Scorchers guard Tony Hicks who finished second in the voting with London Lions’ Justin Robinson, third.

“I’m very grateful for this award,” Paige said. “I would like to thank Fab for giving me the chance to play at Newcastle and my team-mates who were there for me for the whole year.”

Surrey Scorchers coach Creon Raftopoulos secures the 2017-18 BJA Coach of the Year award, ending the two-year reign of Leicester Riders’ Rob Paternostro.

Raftopoulos led Surrey to arguably their best season since the team was reformed in 2015. The Zimbabwean led the Guildford-based side to fifth place and despite missing out on a spot in the semi-finals of the BBL play-offs, he guided them to an unbeaten home record in 2018.

“It’s a great honour to receive such an award for this season,” Raftopoulos commented. “There are a lot of people to thank but most of all I’d like to thank my team for buying into the team’s philosophy and playing their hearts out this season. I honestly believe a coach’s award is a team award.”

Bristol Flyers coach Andreas Kapoulas finishes second and previous winner Rob Paternostro ends up in third.

The Pete Jacques Award for best British player in the BBL is awarded to London Lions guard Justin Robinson, who wins the honour with a unanimous vote.

Robinson, who has enjoyed a stellar first season with his hometown side, averaging 17.8 points a game fought-off Glasgow Rocks’ Gareth Murray, who came in second and Sheffield Sharks’ Zach Gachette in third.

The Syd Lipski International Award for top British performer on the global stage goes to UCAM Murcia forward Ovie Soko.

The 27-year-old Londoner has been one of Murcia’s key contributors this season both in the ACB, where his side are currently battling for a spot in the play-offs and in the Basketball Champions League where they finished third overall after narrowing losing to eventual winners AEK Athens in the semi-finals but bounced back to overcome Ludwigsburg in the third-placed game.

Soko, who has represented Great Britain during the FIBA World Cup qualifiers this season as well, has averaged 11.2 points in the ACB this season along with 13 points and 5 rebounds in the Champions League.

Temi Fagbenle came a close second in the voting with last year’s Syd Lipski winner Luke Nelson, third.