Drew Sullivan is Daniel Routledge's tip for Player of the Season
Daniel Routledge says Leicester ace Drew Sullivan is the obvious choice for Player of the Season.
Last Updated: 10/04/13 11:23am
Having led all game, it would have been harsh on the Lions to lose it at the death, but I couldn't help feeling bad for the Manchester Giants. Their stirring fourth quarter comeback was as impressive as it was exciting and the atmosphere was electric.
It was jam-packed, even up near our commentary position, as the locals squeezed in to hopefully see their side through to the play-offs - but it wasn't to be.
So now we're at the time of year where eight teams believe they have a shot at the coveted silver-and-gold basketball as they give it their all for play-off glory.
It's also the time of year where the BBL coaches vote for their Player of the Season. In almost every discussion about it I've had with people in the game in recent weeks, one name keeps cropping up: Drew Sullivan.
My sense is it will be fairly unanimous and the GB captain would certainly get my vote. It's funny because when I wrote a piece about him signing for Leicester last year, I got a response saying he was overrated.
I'd wager that person was not a Leicester, Newcastle or Mersey fan. I recalled that comment because last week a Riders' fan said to me, 'I didn't really get the hype about Drew until he played for us'.
Maybe there is an element of that, perhaps you need to see him night in, night out to truly appreciate what he does. He doesn't necessarily overpower you with monster numbers, in the way say a Kareem Maddox might. Yes he can be the top scorer, top rebounder, top assist guy on occasions, but he isn't always.
Getting the job done
What he is, however, is the top whatever-the-team-needs-to-win guy every night. Riders need a basket, they throw it to him; they need a stop, he gets it (remember the week of the Cup Final when he basically won two live Sky games with a blocked shot at the end?). Need a ball-handler? He'll play point. Need someone to guard the centre? He can do that too. And those last two can happen at the same time! How many players are that versatile?
Say to a coach in the summer, 'I've got this guy, he'll get you 15 points, seven rebounds, four assists, shoot about 56%, can hit the three, block shots and is a great defender and a wing man but he can play one through five at either end of the court if you need it' and every single one of them will take him. Little wonder he was Rob Paternostro's first signing last summer.
How much easier must it be to build a team when you have the most versatile guy in the league on the roster?
Still don't get it? Well forget the numbers and look at the medals. Do you know how many players have won the league with three different clubs? Four. Alan Cunningham, Colin Irish, Ronnie Baker and Sullivan. Anyone who knows their BBL history knows that is pretty rare air right there.
You know something else? None of his teams had won the league before he got there and that is no coincidence. He's won 11 trophies in seven years (I'm not counting the season he played as a 15-year-old for the Towers because he's not credited with a winners' medal for any of the three trophies they won that season).
If he does win the vote, he will become only the third player to win the league MVP twice and the first British player to have done it. Now that would be some accolade.