Hawks gun Rotnei Clarke added the sixth man title to his 2013-14 MVP crown while star centre AJ Ogilvy retained his spot amongst the league’s best at the NBL awards night on Monday.
Clarke, who returned for his second stint at Illawarra this season, was a clear standout while averaging 17.4 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.1 steals this campaign.
The former Butler star had a slow start to the season but proved his worth as one of the premier scorers in the league in the Hawks’ run to a second straight NBL finals appearance. After playing with Telekom Baskets Bonn last season, Clarke came off the bench in 18 of his 28 appearances for the Hawks. He finished atop the sixth man leaderboard with 46 points, with Adelaide’s Mitch Creek (37 points) second and the New Zealand Breakers’ Akil Mitchell (19 votes) third.
Clarke, whose wife Patricia had the couple’s second child last week, gave credit to coach Rob Beveridge and his finals bound team after receiving the accolade.
“I guess I have [Beveridge] to thank for benching me for this award but it has been a great year and I happy to do whatever I can for the team,” Clarke said.
“Our guys do a great job in the starting line up and I just try to come in and provide a spark.”
Clarke (76 votes) was also fourth in MVP voting. Adelaide superstar Jerome Randle took out the title with 143 votes. Perth gun Casey Prather (107 votes) was second while former Hawk turned Sydney guard Kevin Lisch was third with 82 votes.
Randle, Prather and Ware made the NBL First Team alongside 36ers big-man Daniel Johnson and Illawarra’s AJ Oglivy.
Ogilvy was outstanding in the second half of the campaign. Hawks coach Rob Beveridge was adamant Ogilvy would be key his team’s title charge after scoring 22 points in less than 19 minutes in the final round.
“If AJ can play like that, we're right in this," Beveridge said.
"He's had such an up and down season, but we need him to perform for us and tonight he was dominant. From the start we said we're building the club around him because he's our franchise player, and I don't know if that put pressure and too much expectation on him, but this past month he's become that dominant player.
In other awards, Adelaide coach Joey Wright won Coach of the Year after leading the 36ers to a league-best 17-11 record.
Wright’s young-gun Anthony Drmic won Rookie of the Year while teamate Nathan Sobey won Most Improved.
Brisbane import Torrey Craig was Best Defensive Player and Vaughan Mayberry was Referee of the Year.