The Drew League hands out three awards on the day of the championship game: the Clarence “Clank” Worship MVP Award, the Kevin L. Dandridge Most Inspirational Player Award, and the Coach of the Year Award. Those awards are determined by the Drew League staff committee.
For the first time, DrewLeague.com asked a coach from all 26 teams this season to weigh in on the three awards that will be announced on August 13, as well as an award that is always discussed: Defensive Player of the Year. This was an informal poll, conducted on the final weekend of the Drew League regular season. Coaches were not permitted to nominate members from their own team.
While the results of this poll will not reflect the Drew League awards, it is interesting to note that members of Birdie’s Revenge dominated the voting. Birdie’s Revenge finished the 2017 regular season with a perfect 12-0 record.
The only player to receive multiple votes for MVP in this poll was Franklin Session, who shared the MVP award with LA LOOP’s Pat Rembert last season. Session has dominated opponents throughout the season, playing with extreme confidence in both blowouts and close contests. Even when opponents knew #Megadeath was coming, Session made his mark on every game – and he surely made his mark on several vacuuming throwdowns this season too.
While coaches didn’t waste much time thinking about an MVP, choosing the Most Inspirational Player award proved to be a daunting task for some. Only three players received more than one vote from coaches, led by Tyrone “50” Riley of Bull Dogs. Riley led the Bull Dogs to a second straight postseason appearance this summer. A player that many considered to be an MVP candidate this season, Houdini’s Problems PG Antonio Biglow, ranked second in this coaches’ poll. Biglow led his team to the second-best record in the league. Last year’s Most Inspirational Player, BB4L’s Van Girard, also earned multiple votes from coaches.
When it came time for coaches to select among their peers, the voting was dominated by the teams with the best two records, with Tracey Mills of Birdie’s Revenge edging Allen Caveness of Houdini’s Problems. Coaches shared admiration for Mills not just for going undefeated, but also for keeping a team full of colorful personalities focused. Last year’s Coach of the Year, Keion Kindred of LA LOOP and Redemption, ranked third in the coaches’ poll. Longtime Drew League coach Charles “Pops” Lovely ranked fourth, as he will bring two teams to the playoffs despite both Hank’s Panthers and Jaguars being outscored on the season. Baron Davis won a championship playing for BB4L last season, but he focused on running BB4L from the sideline this summer while playing exclusively for New Edition. Rodrick Shannon, the 2015 Coach of the Year, led Citi Team Blazers to the top seed in the Marty Walzer division.
They don’t name a Defensive Player of the Year at the Drew League. And there were some coaches that scoffed at the notion that a single defender stood out this season. That is reflected in the wide range of players who were nominated – one coach flat out refused to even select a player. But the top three vote-receivers all played for Birdie’s Revenge, led by SG Roshun Wynne, Jr. While Session gets the deserved accolades, Wynne, Jr. has proven to be an ideal complement on the defensive end; he is always around the ball and rebounds very well for his position. Session got the coaches’ respect for his ability as a two-way player, while Birdie’s Revenge C Marcus Bell made sure that Birdie’s Revenge dominated the paint and the defensive glass. The only other player to earn multiple votes from coaches was Metta World Peace of the Pandas – a player who actually won a Defensive Player of the Year award in a professional basketball league in 2004.
Coaches participating: A.J. Diggs (Home Town Favorites), Adam Quinter (Pandas), Antwon Tanner (New Image), Baron Davis (BB4L), Charles Lovely (Hank’s Panthers), Dart Stamps (LAUNFD), David Hollaway (Reapers), Derrick Huey (New Edition), George North (EPX Spirit), Glenn Summerall (IE No Shnacks), John Downey (#Juglife), Josh Williams (FootPrint), Keion Kindred (Redemption), Kevin Matthews (Legacy), Mark Caudillo (Houdini’s Problems), Mark Sprague (Ascension), Mike Holbrook (Bull Dogs), Rodrick Shannon (Citi Team Blazers), Roland Jones (N.W.A.), Ryozuke Nozawa (LA LOOP), Shea Frazee (ICEO), Thomas Scott (C.O.A.), Tracey Mills (Birdie’s Revenge), Tyler Nelson (Jaguars), Wally Moore (Clozers).