Giants MVP awarded tonight

By Rory Coleman-Heard – The Kalgoorlie Miner
18th August 2019

Star import Patrick Burke appears poised to earn the Goldfields Giants’ top honour when the club crowns its most valuable player tonight.

A durable linchpin of the Giants’ starting five, Burke averaged 24.2 points and 7.4 rebounds a game during his first State Basketball League campaign in Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

The Dallas Baptist University product, who had all but given up on his dream of pursuing basketball until late last year, has also been lauded for his laid-back persona, leadership qualities and professionalism.

Burke played 27 of 28 games this season — missing one match to attend his brother’s wedding in the US — and earned selection for the SBL’s representative World All-Stars team.

The 23-year-old’s closest rival could be rugged South Australian Dave Humphries, who consistently rose to the many and varied tasks assigned to him by head coach Wayne Creek.

While deployed predominantly as a defensive player who loathed the prospect of being beaten, Humphries’ tallied more than 30 points on four occasions and averaged 4.3 assists.

Humphries did not miss a match — despite spending the previous 18 months rehabilitating a spate of injuries — and played against Burke for Australia during the SBL All-Stars match.

Since his arrival in Kalgoorlie-Boulder late last year, Humphries has forged a reputation as one of the club’s most diligent and competitive players.

Mackenzie Clinch-Hoycard — among the SBL division 1’s most dominant forwards — is tipped to claim the women’s gong by a landslide. The target of seven SBL clubs and one Melbourne-based organisation, Clinch-Hoycard consistently starred for the Giants and averaged 16.6 points a game — 7.1 points more than Goldfields’ next best.

Clinch-Hoycard also formed part of the team’s leadership group, alongside captain Sharni Winter and Madi Lalich.

Kiriana Hawaikirangi (8.3 points a game) showed promise in spades and impressed with her defensive application, and Gaby Clancy (9.4) performed consistently well.

SBL bench players Ethan Mcghie (16.1 points a game) and Riley Duncan (8.3) should poll well for Goldfields’ division one men.

Four judges awarded votes a three-two-one basis after every SBL game, while three judges cast votes for division one fixtures. This means players could earn a maximum of 12 votes (SBL) or nine votes (division 1) per match.

Goldfields will also hand out awards to those who finished second and third in each count, as well as the SBL players who led specific statistical categories at season’s end — points scored, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, field goal percentage, free-throw percentage and three-point percentage.

The Karen Scruth award recognises the club’s most promising up-and-coming player, which athletes from all divisions are eligible for.