The last monthly awards of the decade have gone to Vince Macaulay of London Lions and CJ Gettys of Newcastle Eagles, following their league-pacing performances as the BBL Championship got underway in December.
As play-caller of the Lions, Macaulay boasted the best record to pick up the Kevin Cadle Molten BBL Coach of the Month, with four wins and just one defeat as Lions began their defence of the league title, finishing the year atop the table.
Ovie Soko made his debut as the month opened with an 88-72 defeat of Radisson Red Glasgow Rocks – the team currently second in the BBL Championship – before Macaulay’s side achieved wins against Manchester Giants, and the in-form Bristol Flyers and B. Braun Sheffield Sharks.
Against Flyers in particular, Lions came from 15 points down as Macaulay inspired a fourth quarter surge through his defensive philosophy. They won the period 30-11 after opening it with the first 12 points to reverse a deficit, forcing five turnovers in an intense ten minutes.
From a coaching perspective, a further masterstroke came in recognising the influence that Jordan Whelan and Andre Lockhart had on the game from the bench, leaving them on the floor for the entire fourth period as both played well above their minutes per game average.
Macaulay just edged out his opposite number that day, Andreas Kapoulas, whose 5-3 record in December included guiding Bristol to a first ever BBL Cup Final.
CJ Gettys, meanwhile, is awarded the Molten BBL Player of the Month after returning for his third season in the UK, joining Newcastle in November from being on the training camp roster of the NBA G-League’s Fort Wayne Mad Ants (Indiana Pacers affiliate).
And he picked up where he left off after two impressive campaigns with Cheshire Phoenix. In four games over the month of December the seven-footer led all scorers, averaging a huge double-double of 21.8 points and 13.8 rebounds, as Newcastle won three of those fixtures.
With a startling level of efficiency he shot 69% from the field and 88% from the free-throw line; while also confirming his place among the best passing big men in the BBL in recent years with 3.3 assists per outing.
Particularly pleasing for Eagles fans was his monstrous 20 points and 20 rebounds in the narrow 80-76 road win at rivals Radisson Red Glasgow Rocks in the Emirates Arena. That included six third quarter points as Eagles made their move, as well as consecutive baskets to cap a decisive fourth quarter spell when Rocks had got back to within one shot.
Gettys held off competition from Cheshire Phoenix’s do-it-all point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright, and fellow former-G-League big man Amir Williams of the Worcester Wolves.