Four Coach of the Year winners announced in ABL

An integral part of any team, today was look at four worthy winners of the ABL’s Coach of the Year award, handed out to those who have managed to get the best out of their programme this season.

Essex’s Tom Sadler, Queen Ethelburga’s Josh Metcalf, HTS Storm’s Daniel Hildreth and St Charles’ Patrick Avorkliyah have all been selected for 2019/20, with all four men regarded as worthy winners by their peers.

Sadler guided Essex Rebels to a 12-4 record in the Eastern Conference, eventually claiming the #8 seed for the post season. The Rebels suffered a Sweet Sixteen stage defeat by Stoke, going down 87-54, but solid seasons for a number of Sadler’s players suggest a good campaign all round.

“I feel very honoured to be receiving this award and for being recognised and voted for by the other coaches in this league, and there are some great coaches in this league who are deserving of this award,” confessed Sadler.

“I’m proud and fortunate that I get to work with such a great group of players that allow themselves to be coached, we really pushed ourselves this year to be better each day and the players really bought in to what we are doing here at Essex.”

In the Northern Conference, QE went an impressive 13-3 during the regular season, locking up the #4 seed and a Coach of the Year award for Metcalf. Getting the best from standout performer Elijah Walsh has also been a plus, with the talented guard enjoyed an ABL 2nd best 31.8 efficiency this year to go with a league leading 34.3ppg.

“I think you could look at every coach in our division this season and make a case for them to win this award,” said Metcalf.

“When you go away to fixtures and see the impact this group of coaches have on their players and their communities, it makes me very proud to be able to represent that group with this award.”

There’s no surprise to see Daniel Hildreth’s name for Southern Conference COTY, considering his side went an unbeaten 18-0 this year, securing the #1 seed for the post season in the process.

Cam Hildreth has continued his sharp ascent as one of the country’s most exciting prospects, averaging 22.9ppg and 25.8eff on the year behind the tutelage of the HTS staff. A number of other Storm players have also impressed in 2019/20, with the programme’s players a popular choice throughout this season’s award voting.

“It’s nice to have been recognised by my peers for the achievements of our team. I feel like I take the most pride in the fact that none of our players were near the top of the stats tables, yet a lot of them have been nominated for awards by our opposing coaches,” said Hildreth.

“This just goes to prove that the development of individuals players at HTS is a defining goal, it is great that this has been acknowledged.”

Finally, Patrick Avorkliyah has received the nod as the Western Conference Coach of the Year. After enjoying a strong season, going 15-1 against some tough opposition, Avorkliyah has been recognised by his fellow coaches for the job he’s done.

MVP candidate Abiodun Adedo has continued his development under Avorkliyah guidance, with guard Tyler Small also going from strength to strength this season.

“On a personal level I’m really pleased to pick up the conference coach of the year,” said Avorkliyah.

“I have to say i’m somewhat surprised to receive the award as I look across the conference and see great improvement both individually and as teams, this is testament to the standard and quality of coaching these players are receiving.

“From a team point of view, we did not achieve what we set out to do and this is frustrating but a lot of lessons have been learnt and I hope we can use these to improve next year.”

We continue the ABL awards tomorrow with Defensive Player of the Year, which will go live at 10:00am.

The ABL finals take place at 12:00pm next Wednesday at the University of Essex as defending champs Haringey take on New City College, with entry free for all spectators. The EABL and WEABL Finals also take place on the same day.