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Leicester Riders guard Geno Crandall has been named as the BBL Player of the Year.

The American wowed fans as he led the Riders to the British Basketball League title, averaging 15.9 points, 7.8 assists and 5.7 assists in a surreal campaign where all games were played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Kennedy Leonard of London Lions was crowned WBBL Player of the Year for the 2020-21 season, in the annual awards organised by the Basketball Journalists Association.

“It’s an honour to be voted player of the year by the BJA,” Crandall said.

“Obviously this season has been different to any other we’ve experienced before and so for myself and my team to have been able to capture some success and consistency in this unique season has been very rewarding for us all.

“Now hopefully we can continue those successful ways heading into the last week of the Playoffs.”

Newcastle Eagles veteran Rahmon Fletcher finished second in the voting with London Lions’ DeAndre Liggins in third.

Leonard, who has led Lions to next weekend’s WBBL Playoff final, was ahead of Sevenoaks Suns’ Cat Carr and Leicester Riders’ Holly Winterburn in the top three in the awards polling.

“I’m blessed to play with my Lions team-mates who have become like family,” said Leonard, who recently agreed a two-year contract extension.

Leicester Riders completed a duo of BJA awards this season with Rob Paternostro claiming the Coach of the Year accolade, his fourth in ten years.

In a pre-season that was dominated by the London Lions’ European odyssey, Paternostro quietly enlisted a squad that ultimately ended with a title-winning 24-6 record.

“I’m so proud of our players and back room staff, it was a difficult season in so many ways, but our team were focused throughout the campaign,” Paternostro said.

“We played some really good basketball on both ends of the floor and were tested nightly.

“There were so many close games, more than I can ever remember and I’m proud of the way the guys stuck together and were able to have the type of record we had in such a challenging league.”

After leading Plymouth Raiders to third place, their joint best finish in the BBL, Paul James was second in the voting with London Lions coach, Vince Macaulay in third.

Raiders’ forward Ashley Hamilton wins the Pete Jacques Award for Best British Player in the BBL due to his outstanding contribution to the team in all facets of the game, which is what this award is based on.

Hamilton averaged 16.3 points and 6.8 rebounds as he led Plymouth to the BBL Trophy final and the Playoff semi-finals.

Manchester Giants’ David Ulph was second and Worcester Wolves’ Jordan Williams third.

The Syd Lipski International Award for top British performer on the global stage goes to Reyer Venezia’s Temi Fagbenle.

The Great Britain international narrowly missed out on the EuroCup Women crown, but proved to be one of the standout forwards for the Italian side, averaging 8.9 points and 6.1 rebounds this season.

Karlie Samuelson of Avenida Salamanca, a EuroLeague runner-up and Spanish League champion, finished second in the ballot with Le Mans’ Ovie Soko third.

Photos: Ahmedphotos

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