adidas GB kit Drew sullivan 568Drew Sullivan of Leicester Riders has been named as British basketball’s Player of the Year in the annual Basketball Journalists Association awards.

Ahead of Sunday’s BBL Play-Off final at Wembley, the Great Britain captain’s role in leading his team to the brink of a domestic treble has also been recognised with the Pete Jacques Award, given to the best domestic player in the British Basketball League.

It is also the third end of season prize garnered by league and Cup champions Leicester, with Rob Paternostro announced last week as Coach of the Year from votes posted by members of the BJA.

“Right from the start of the season, I think Drew’s been the best player in the league,” said Paternostro, who is preparing his team for their showdown with Newcastle Eagles.

“His numbers stand out in the stat sheet but he also has a huge influence on games which goes way beyond that. You see him do whatever is needed: if we need rebounding, he just rebounds, or maybe scoring or maybe defence. That’s what makes him great.”

In the Player of the Year voting, Sullivan’s team-mate Jay Cousinard was runner-up with Newcastle’s Kareem Maddox in third place.

While it was also a Leicester 1-2 for the Pete Jacques Award with Anthony Rowe a narrow second in the voting, with Glasgow Rocks’ forward Gareth Murray third.

“Anthony’s improved as the season’s gone on,” Paternostro added. “We only have two Americans on our team and him and all the British guys are such a big part of what we’ve accomplished.”

Chicago Bulls and Great Britain forward Luol Deng has won the Syd Lipski Award, given for the best British performer on the international stage.

The South Sudan-born Londoner, who earns the prize for the third time in his career, was GB’s leading scorer at last summer’s Olympic Games before going on to become a NBA All Star for the second time.

Cheshire-born Jo Leedham, who recently became only the second British woman ever to feature in the last four of Euroleague Women with French club Bourges, was the runner-up. Portland Trailblazers forward Joel Freeland came third.

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