Vines claims Gators’ MVP

By Lauren Bordin

American import Cameron Vines claimed the Shepparton Gators’ most valuable player award this week.
Vines won the award with 182 votes, 10 ahead of fellow American Spencer Coleman with captain Matt Bartlett finishing third.

Shepparton Gators coaches vote on each match and head coach Leigh Bathman said Vines did everything the club wanted when it scouted him out to join the Big V division one side.

‘‘He was really positive, he played with a high motor which is what we wanted, someone to play at both ends of the floor with high intensity,’’ Bathman said.

‘‘Towards the end of the season, he had wrist, knee and quad injuries and was a bit beat up and not at his best for the last few weeks, but was still a valuable contributor.

‘‘The combination between him, Spencer and Matt worked well, but their heavy workload was something we’ll try and improve on and spread the load next year and get some extra talent in.’’

Bathman is waiting on potential restructuring from the league — which may restrict imports to one a team— before any decisions are made about the side’s roster next year.

But he was full of praise for Coleman and his impact on and off the court with clinics run in the region.
Vines recorded an average of 24 points and 10 rebounds a game with Coleman’s numbers showing 20 points and 13 rebounds a game as both spent heavy minutes on court.

At the Gators’ awards night, the most improved player was given to Nick Dodd, with Bathman’s coach’s award handed to teenager Nathan Grace.

‘‘Nick was our rising star award winner last year and he’s improved again this year and ‘Gracey’ was recognised for his efforts in the way he trains and his attitude and positivity for a guy that didn’t get a lot of court time,’’ Bathman said.

Bathman, Vines, Coleman and Bartlett are all up for Big V league awards which will be announced on September 22.

The Gators reached the grand final series against Chelsea Gulls, but conceded defeat to the powerful line-up in two matches to finish runner-up.