Draft Central NBL1 North Men’s Team of the Year
WITH the National Basketball League (NBL)1’s North Men’s competition closing the curtain on an entertaining year, it is time to recognise some of the strongest performers of the season. In this series, we choose the best players at each position this season to form a starting five. NBL1 North Men’s league was full of outstanding contributors, making this a difficult group to narrow down. Both the players mentioned and those who just missed out delivered a season of high scores, thrilling finishes and strong determination.
Guard – Jeremy Kendle (Logan Thunder)
21.73 points per game
6.2 rebounds per game
8.66 assists per game
The Logan Thunder were constantly treated to Kendle’s impressive play throughout the regular season. Kendle’s strong performances were rewarded with the title of league Most Valuable Player (MVP) in recent weeks. He was a major reason why his side finished the home-and-away season in such a strong position on the ladder. Kendle’s composure in tight games is something to be applauded, and his strong season was also recognised with a spot in the NBL1 North Men’s All-Star Five team. His consistency alone saw him stand out above others in his position, nearly always topping the scoring for his side as he dragged them to impressive victories.
Tanner Krebs – (USC Rip City)
26 points per game
7.08 rebounds per game
Krebs delivered one of the strongest scoring season’s in the league, consistently leading his games on the score sheet and found his offensive rhythm right from the beginning. Krebs only scored under 20 points twice in his 12 outings (and one of those was 19), demonstrating his ability to constantly lead his team to a winning score. He also scored over 30 points five times, showcasing his offensive ceiling as defenders struggled to slow him down. Krebs also proved himself as a capable rebounder, hitting double digits in this category on four occasions.
Forward – Najeal Young (Rockhampton Rockets)
23.21 points per game
9.28 rebounds per game
3.5 assists per game
Young enjoyed an outstanding season for the Rockets, delivering career-high numbers across multiple categories on his way to becoming one of the league’s premier scorers. Four scores over 30 points (including a season-high of 35 points) in a single game demonstrated the offensive dominance the forward displayed this year. Young was also a frequent member of the double-double club, ending the regular season with a total of six, all of which came thanks to double digits in scoring and rebounding. Young also delivered six games with three or more steals, showing his talent on both ends of the floor.
Forward – Emmanuel Malou (Mackay Meteors)
18.94 points per game
7.66 rebounds per game
1.77 assists per game
Malou was a monster on both ends of the court, shooting remarkably efficiently on offence, before working hard on defence to thwart opposition attacks. His 1.56 blocks per game saw him emerge as one of the league’s premier rim protectors, not registering a block in just three of his 18 games played. This defensive dominance did not mean he had to sacrifice his scoring, still registering an impressive points per game average and helping lead the Meteors to an impressive season.
Center – Matthew Hodgeson (Ipswich Force)
20.66 points per game
14.66 rebounds per game
3.83 assists per game
Hodgeson did not play the most games out of the players on this list, but his impact when on the court for Ipswich cannot be denied. Hodgeson was a focal point for the Force offensively, scoring below 20 points in a game just twice. However, it was his rebounding that puts him a class above the rest with a whopping season average. He had over 20 rebounds in a single game on two separate occasions, and never had less than 10 boards in a contest. He controlled the skies for his team and proved his value when in a Force jersey.
Photo credit: Kieron Place