Wethers named NBL MVP
Hunter Pirates import Brian Wethers has capped off a sensational debut season in the National Basketball League (NBL) by being named the Most Valuable Player of the 2004/05 Philips Championship season.
Wethers won the NBL's scoring title, averaging 24.3 points per game and led the Pirates to their first-ever Finals berth. The 195cm swingman also averaged 6.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game and also recently collected the Hunter Pirates club Most Valuable Player award.
The Hunter star polled 126 votes to take out the NBL's most prestigious individual award from Adelaide 36ers star Willie Farley (111) and Cairns Taipans big man Chris Burgess (110). Fourth in voting was Adelaide's Dusty Rychart (107) and fifth was Glen Saville of Wollongong (105).
Wethers helped the Pirates to a 13-game improvement as they went from a 2-31 record in their inaugural season in the Philips Championship to a 15-17 record in their second season.
The consistency of the silky smooth Wethers proved to be the key factor in his MVP win, as the former University of California (Berkeley) standout recorded votes in every round of the season bar two.
He topped 30 points on nine separate occasions this season, including a 37-point outburst against the Townsville Crocodiles on 13 November.
Wethers, who returned to the US following his team's exit from the Finals at the hands of Brisbane, was a worthy winner of the award according to his coach Adrian Hurley.
"Brian is an outstanding athlete," aid Hurley. "One-on-one he is tremendous. He can shoot the three, yet his main strength is driving into the lane and finishing with a sweet pull-up jumper or a spectacular hang-time lay-up."
"He provided our young club with that special talent to get us going in games, finishing games, and attracting the attention of the opposition's best defenders. His combination with Kavossy Franklin gave our team a potent attack from the perimeter."
"I recruited him because I saw his all-round talents on offence, but also because he was a tremendous defender in college. He understands the game, and is extremely coachable. His attitude is terrific."
"People are probably unaware that Brian carried injuries for the second half of the season, was not able to train on a consistent basis, but nevertheless he played every game and withstood the physical attention from the best defenders and double teams that the opposition could throw at him."
"Brian is above all a very good person. He was a great example to his team-mates and understood very well his responsibilities to our club and to our team."
"Brian is hopeful of making it into the NBA. His progress as a player this year and his undeniable talent suggests that he has a very good chance of playing in the NBA in the future."
The Pirates will accept the MVP award on Wethers' behalf at the annual NBL awards dinner in Sydney tomorrow night.