After an exciting January in the BBL, the first monthly awards of the new decade have gone to the BBL Cup winning coach, Matt Newby; and, for the second month in a row, Newcastle’s big man CJ Gettys.
Newby picks up the Kevin Cadle Molten BBL Coach of the Month award after leading Worcester Wolves to their first ever BBL Cup win, in front of 9,244 fans at Arena Birmingham, live on BBC Sport. Coach Newby looked to have his team impeccably prepared as they held Bristol Flyers to just 25 first half points – under 60 points by the end of the game – with disruptive early defence, for their first piece of silverware in six years.
That was the jewel in the crown of a strong month which ended with a 4-2 record overall, after starting with a double-digit Cup semi-final victory on the road at Leicester Riders, including another impressive display of defence as Wolves held the hosts to a six-point third quarter. Overall, Worcester have the second best defensive record in the league.
In the BBL Championship they were 3-1 with two crucial home wins over near rivals, including a come-from-behind victory over third-placed Newcastle Eagles, and a 79-65 defeat of fifth-placed Cheshire Phoenix after a fast start. The only league defeat was on the road at Leicester, where Newby’s men mounted a spirited second half comeback, falling just four points short.
Wolves finish the month with a 5-3 record in the league for a share of third place in the BBL Championship table, and with a game in hand on the two teams above them.
It was a good month for a number of teams, as Newby pipped three other coaches with four wins: Vincent Lavandier of Radisson Red Glasgow Rocks, along with Ben Thomas of Cheshire Phoenix and Ian MacLeaod of Newcastle Eagles, both of whom he beat in league action.
However, there is good news for the Eagles as, for the second month in a row, seven foot centre CJ Gettys has scooped the Molten BBL Player of the Month, which always looked likely as he made five straight appearances in the weekly All-Star 5.
Playing six games and 193 minutes over January, Gettys averaged a huge 25 points and 15 rebounds per game, as overall he leads the league by quite some distance in points per game, and is second in both rebounds and defensive rebounds.
He is the league leader in total field goals made and fifth in field goal percentage. Gettys shot 60% from the field in January, while also adding three assists and two blocks per game.
He opened the month with consecutive 30-point games, seeing Newcastle through the first round of the BBL Trophy with 31 points against Dunfermline Reign and then scoring 34 on Surrey Scorchers in the BBL Championship, amazingly adding 19 rebounds in both outings.
Gettys has recorded a double-double in all but one of his appearances so far, falling one rebound short last time out against Worcester. He also had 21 points with 15 rebounds against his former club, Cheshire, and followed that by shooting 77% from the floor on his way to 28 points with 12 rebounds against Manchester Giants.
Both award winners are in league action on Friday night, when Newcastle host league-leading London Lions, and Worcester travel to B. Braun Sheffield Sharks.