MVP honour for Bowman as Price goes back-to-back

The 2019/20 EABL MVPs have now been announced, with Derby’s Blake Bowman and Copleston’s Ethan Price both receiving the league’s most prestigious award.

Bowman was in a tight race with Charnwood’s Blaize Sagna, but eventually did enough to secure the votes required to seal the MVP award.

Ranked 2nd in efficiency behind Price with a rating of 28.1, Bowman led all players this year with 27.6 points per contest, whilst also grabbing 8.9 rebounds per game (EABL 8th best).

Bowman’s efforts couldn’t lift the Trailblazers into the EABL post season, missing out on the buzzer of the final game of the regular season, but Derby’s offence ranked 4th best in the EABL with 88.6ppg as the team went 8-6.

“Winning this award means so much more to me than just being the Most Valuable Player. It represents the hard work that I’ve not only put in myself, but also my coaches who worked with me throughout the summer and the season and allowed me to have the opportunity to do what i did this season,” said Bowman when discussing the award.

“Having the upmost trust from my teammates and coaches only makes it easier to perform week in, week out. It is also made much easier playing with this season’s leader in assists, Charlie Brown, as my point guard!

“Being a product of the Derby Trailblazers has meant I’ve had loads of different coaches help me, so I’d like to thank all of them. Its been a great environment for me to get better as I’ve been pushed to play at a higher level, I’ve played NBL D1M for the last two seasons which has also forced me to improve quickly.”

Derby head coach Matt Shaw added: “Blake put in the hours during the off season and made great strides, particularly with his perimeter game. It’s been great to see those improvements in EABL action this year, he’s put in some great performances.

“Blake is a joy to coach, one thing that separates him from others is his competitiveness in all situations, he just wants to win at everything.

“If he keeps working like he does, he’s got a very bright future.”

Another player that appears destined for great things is Southern Conference MVP Ethan Price, who has claimed his 2nd successive award after a repeat from 2018/19.

Price missed the start of Copleston’s season through injury but has been on a tear ever since, making up for lost time as the Suffolk side went on an 10-1 run to eventually finish the year 12-4, good for 3rd spot in the South.

A dominant force at both ends of the court, Price’s stats jump off the page with a league best 28.7 efficiency ratings, 23.5ppg (EABL 2nd best), 12.4rpg (EABL 3rd best) and 2.7bpg (EABL 2nd best).

“There are some amazing players in the EABL, so to win this award, especially for a second time, is a massive honour,” said Price.

“The season didn’t start well for me, missing our first five games with an injury. I’m just glad I’ve been able to help my team go on a run of wins that has enabled us to qualify and advance in the playoffs.

“Individual awards are fantastic, and it means a lot to me, but this is a team game and I would not be in this position without such a strong group of players around me.”

Copleston head coach Nick Drane added: “This is a massive achievement for Ethan, especially as he is winning it for the second year in a row – which I believe has never been done before.

“We were 2-3 when he came back from injury and 6th in the Conference, and went on a great run to close out the season and seal the #3 seed. He was then huge in our win at Charnwood to help get us to the Final Four.

“There is no better measure of a player’s value than looking at the team’s success with and without that player. With Ethan, the only team to beat us all season were Barking Abbey. That’s how valuable he was this season”.

The EABL final is scheduled to take place on Wednesday 18 March as Myerscough and Barking Abbey face off for the playoff title. That game tips at 5:00pm, and entry is free to all spectators.

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