NBL: Perth Wildcats’ Bryce Cotton named league MVP

Bryce Cotton of the Wildcats (R) drives at the basket against Melbourne United. Picture: Graham Denholm/Getty Images
Bryce Cotton of the Wildcats (R) drives at the basket against Melbourne United. Picture: Graham Denholm/Getty Images

PERTH Wildcats star guard Bryce Cotton has been named the NBL’s Most Valuable player of the 2017-18 season.

Cotton is just the third Wildcat to earn the league’s highest individual accolade in the club’s 37 seasons.

The sharp-shooting guard scored more points than any other player in the NBL with a total of 544 and his average of 19.4 points per game was just 0.4 behind average points leader Jerome Randle.

Cotton also sunk a league-high 84 three-pointers in the regular season at an incredible 44.9 per cent despite featuring in the competition’s top-five for three-pointers attempted per game (6.7).

The 25-year-old American said he was very proud to receive the honour.

“I feel very honoured to receive the MVP award, and I want to give a special mention to my teammates and my coaching staff,” he said.

“Over here we emphasise about playing for the guy next to you, and not really for yourself. To be recognised for the work you’ve put in throughout the whole year is very vindicating.”

In addition to his scoring statistics, Bryce Cotton averaged 3.1 assists per game and 3.2 rebounds (up 0.6 from 2016-17).

He also grabbed 1.3 steals per game to finish top-10 in the league for that statistic.

Cotton’s best game of 2017-18 came in the Wildcats 10 December win over Illawarra, where he scored a season-high 36 points, plus five rebounds, four assists and a steal.

However, his most memorable moment would be his game-winning fade away jumper at the buzzer to defeat the Brisbane Bullets in January.

Cotton joins Paul Rogers (2000) and Kevin Lisch (2012) as the only Wildcats to have been named NBL MVP.

Adding to the evening, Wildcats captain Damian Martin has cemented his place as the greatest defender in NBL history, named NBL Best Defensive Player for the sixth time.

Martin’s iconic tenacious defence wreaked havoc on opponents once again in 2017-18, picking up 39 steals at 1.5 per game.

The point guard also pulled down 3.9 rebounds per game and didn’t let his 186cm frame prevent him from rejecting three shots.

Martin was first named NBL Best Defensive Player  in 2011 after his second season with the Perth Wildcats.

The four-time NBL Champion and Olympian won the same award for the following four seasons.

Injury hampered his 2016 and 2017 regular seasons and now at 33, he has once again taken out one of the league’s most prestigious individual honours.

Meanwhile, both Cotton and Jean-Pierre Tokoto were both included in the All-NBL Teams.

Cotton was named as shooting guard in the All-NBL First Team, while Tokoto was rewarded for his impressive first NBL season with a place in the All-NBL Second Team.