2019 INTERNATIONAL PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARDS
The Gaze Family, Maher Family, Sandy Blythe and Sue Hobbs Medals credit the Australian Boomers, Chemist Warehouse Opals, Rollers and Gliders respectively for their performances during Olympic and World Championship campaigns while the men’s and women’s Youth Players of the Year are awarded to the brightest rising stars of our sport.
For their performances during the FIBA World Cup qualifiers and at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Nick Kay and Nathan Sobey have been awarded the 2019 Gaze Family Medal.
At the Commonwealth Games, the Boomers advanced through the tournament undefeated to claim gold and Sobey averaged 8.8 points, seven rebounds and two assists across five games.
That included a double-double against Canada in their opening game before recording ten points, eight rebounds, three assists and a steal in a re-match against Canada in the gold medal playoff.
Kay also had a prolific tournament, starring in a group stage win over New Zealand when he shot 8-13 from the field and 4-4 from beyond the arc for a team-high 21 points while he went on to average 10.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.4 steals overall.
Both players also emerged onto the international scene through the FIBA World Cup qualifiers, representing Australia an equal-high eight times through 2018.
Contributing in each contest as regular members of the team’s starting five, Sobey tallied seven points and seven assists in just 18 minutes against Qatar in Melbourne while he dominated in a win over Kazakhstan in Bendigo with 15 points, five boards, four assists and three steals.
That game also saw Kay contribute with 13 points, five assists and three steals while he almost got the Boomers over the line in a rare loss against Japan after recording 12 points and nine rebounds.
Proving herself as one of the world’s best basketballers, Elizabeth Cambage shone in 2018 to earn the Maher Family Medal.
At the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Cambage led the Chemist Warehouse Australian Opals to a gold medal with five consecutive victories.
Doing her work early, the centre only needed to play 17 minutes per game to put up an incredible stat-line of 21.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.4 blocks while shooting 43-57 (75%) from the field and 27-29 (93%) from the free-throw line.
Four months later, Cambage was again the star for the Opals as they claimed an historic silver medal at the FIBA World Cup to bounce back from the disappointment of the Rio Olympics.
Overlooked for the tournament MVP award, Cambage still earned selection in the All-Star Five after collecting 23.8 points per game (first overall and five points more than any other player), 10.5 rebounds (second), one assist, one steal and 2.8 blocks (first).
She had the two highest scoring games of the tournament with 34 points against Nigeria in the opening game and 33 points against Spain in the Semi-Final while another efficient campaign saw her shoot 63% from the field overall.
The Australian Rollers were also able to put the disappointment of Rio behind them, winning the bronze medal at the IWBF World Championships last year.
Jannik Blair excelled at the tournament to claim his second consecutive Sandy Blythe Medal after taking home the honour in 2016 as well.
As part of the low-point line-up for the Rollers, Blair played a crucial role at the World Championships with an average of 5.8 points and two rebounds per game.
In the second game of the tournament against Spain, Blair helped set up a victory with perfect shooting in the first half on his way to eight points and he added another eight points in their Semi-Final loss to the USA.
Blair saved his best performance for last though, helping to clinch the bronze medal with eight points and seven rebounds against Brazil as the Rollers utilised a 21-8 third quarter to overcome a six-point deficit and win 68-57.
Clare Nott has signed off from the Australian Gliders by winning the Sue Hobbs Medal, retiring after 13 years and 211 games with the national team.
Hitting the court just a year and a half after giving birth to her daughter, Nott was unfortunately unable to go out on a high note with the Gliders as they finished the World Championships in ninth place.
After scoring six points off the bench in the Gliders opening win against Brazil, she moved into a starting role and provided a real defensive presence.
Nott was stellar in their last game of the group stage against Spain, recording a steal in every quarter to finish with five and four points on the night, contributing 2.7 points, 1.7 rebounds and a steal per game overall.
Having played a starring role in the Sapphires bronze medal win at the FIBA Under-17 World Championships in August, Shyla Heal has been named the Australian Youth Women’s Player of the Year.
The Australian co-captain was prolific throughout the tournament, contributing 16 points (second most overall), 5.7 rebounds (third for the team), 2.7 assists (second for the team) and two steals per game.
During the group stage against Latvia, she recorded a double-double of 17 points, 11 rebounds and three assists while in the knock-out Round of 16 clash against New Zealand, she shot 4-5 from beyond the arc for 20 points.
Despite those successes, the Sapphires found themselves staring at defeat in the bronze medal playoff as they trailed Hungary by eight points with six minutes remaining.
Heal steered Australia to victory though, scoring ten consecutive points for the Sapphires to help tie things up with a couple of minutes to go.
She then scored the go-ahead bucket and went on to finish with 14 for the quarter as the Sapphires secured a 57-51 victory to claim their second consecutive medal at the tournament.
The men’s Youth Player of the Year award has been taken out by Samson Froling with 2018 proving to be a burgeoning year for the Queensland forward.
Traveling to Germany for the Albert Schweitzer Tournament, Froling averaged 14.9 points on 51% shooting, 8.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists as Australia advanced to the gold medal game with a 5-1 record.
In the end, Australia had to settle for silver in a match-up against the hosts but Froling led his team in the defeat with 20 points and ten boards.
A few months later, Froling was back in the green and gold for the FIBA Under-18 Asian Championships.
Leading his team to an undefeated record, a gold medal and earning qualification through to the 2019 FIBA Under-19 World Cup, Froling showcased his all-around game to record 14.2 points, nine rebounds and two blocks per contest while shooting a remarkable 65.4% clip from the field.
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