Coach of the Year award for Hopkins, Davies

On the 2nd day of EABL Awards week we turn our attention to coaches as two worthy winners have been selected as Coach of the Year for 2019/20.

After guiding his side to a perfect 14-0 regular season and safe passage to the EABL playoff finals next week, Myerscough’s Neal Hopkins has been selected as the Northern Conference recipient. Myerscough have taken on all comers this season, looking like the real deal as they finished the regular season allowing just 59.5ppg.

“It’s nice to have the recognition, but it’s something I dedicate to the programme and all the players because they’re the ones who are producing the results on the floor,” admitted Hopkins.

“We’ve really asserted ourselves in the EABL. We’ve given¬† 22 different players this season an opportunity to get experience and be part of what we’ve built this year.

“There’s a large number within this group that have a future in the game at a high level. That’s the biggest takeaway from an award like this. We recognise Myerscough is just one step along the road and we want people to progress from here and that’s my role as a coach — to develop these guys because this group has so much potential.

“As a programme, we’ve enabled them to be successful and flourish and that’s the holy grail as a coach.”

Southern Conference honours go to Canterbury’s Adam Davies, who pushed his programme to a 9-7 regular season record and #4 seed in the playoffs.

Adapting to the strengths of an undersized roster, Canterbury hit an EABL best 10 three-pointers a game during the regular season, allowing players like Chester Morrell, Will Raife and Robbie Graham to really flourish this season.

“I feel you get this award when your players never quit plus show great attitude and your staff work their butts off to make sure the team reaches and passes their potential,” said Davies.

“So I thank them for that and accept this award on their behalf.”

The awards continue tomorrow with Defensive Player of the Year at 10:00 am, followed at 2:00 pm with a look at some of the best performances in the EABL this season and how they stack up all time within the history of the league.

The EABL finals take place next Wednesday at the University of Essex, with two #1 seeds in Myerscough and Barking both looking to seal a playoff title. Entry is free for all spectators, with the ABL and WEABL finals also taking place on the same day.

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