The Molten Coach and Player of the Month Awards for November go to Sheffield Sharks pair Atiba Lyons, and Mike Cook respectively. Nobody can argue with the Sharks' perfect record this month, as they have won all 7 of their games, largely without injured American Matt Gorman.
The absence of the influential big man has seen fellow countrymen Cook and Ryan Patton step up to the plate, as well as GB squad member Tafari Toney, who continues to perform at a high level. Player-coach Lyons, who took the helm after the departure of Peter Scantlebury at the beginning of last season, has led the Sharks to a blistering start to the 2009/10 campaign, as they sit top of the BBL Championship Table with a 12-3 record. Mike Cook was recruited to Sheffield at the start of the season, and few could have predicted the impact that the American would have on the league. Edged out by Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders guard Tack Minor last month for the award, Cook has scored 391 points this season, at an average of 27.9 points per outing. This ranks him top of the BBL scoring leader board, but it is his form in the past month which has earned him this prize. In an average of 38.4 minutes per game in the last six games, the former Pittsburgh College star, who played briefly for NBA D-League Franchise Erie Bay Hawks last season, has averaged 33.83 points per match, scoring 203 points across all six games.
Lyons had nothing but praise for his player, and team mate, and he paid tribute to his team's performances this month. He said: 'The coach of the month award is a great one for the team, and is really a ''Team of the Month'' award in my eyes. It is nice for the team to be rewarded for the hard work which sees us top of the table, and the fact that they have been able to execute my game plans is a credit to them in me winning this award. Mike (Cook) has had a great start to the season.' he added: 'Offensively, he has scored a lot of points for us, but defensively he also does a good job which often goes unnoticed. Ryan Patton and Tafari Toney have also played very well as of late, but everybody has had a part of this, Perry Lawson has hit some big shots for us recently as well, and everybody has stepped up when they have had to.'
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