The Drew League usually 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, the Drew League will award the Defensive Player of the Year, in memory of the late Christopher and Jonathan Baxter.
Late last month, DrewLeague.com asked a coach from all 26 teams this season to weigh in on the awards that will be announced on August 12. This was an informal poll, and 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 2017 champion Birdie’s Revenge dominated the voting – again. Birdie’s Revenge finished the 2018 regular season with a 10-1 record, tying the all-time Drew League record for most consecutive wins at 26.
Birdie’s Revenge’s Franklin Session is the runaway favorite to earn a share of his third straight MVP award this summer. Session has been ruthless this season. Session’s game went up another level due to his improved shooting, and he didn’t discriminate with how he destroyed opponents this season.
MVP was the easiest award for most coaches to decide. On the other hand, the Most Inspirational Player award continues to be a real head scratcher for coaches. Only four players received more than one vote from coaches, led by Vince Camper of Pandas. Camper, the 2015 MVP, joined forces with Metta World Peace’s crew and consistently took over games. Coaches are still “inspired” by past winners Garrett Nevels of Problems (2015 Most Inspirational Player) and Van Girard of BB4L (2016 Most Inspirational Player). All three of Camper, Nevels, and Girard received at least one MVP vote as well. LAUNFD’s Montrezl Harrell was the only other player to receive multiple Most Inspirational Player votes.
Coaches couldn’t ignore the record-tying winning streak led by Tracey Mills of Birdie’s Revenge. Mills got more recognition than he did even last year, and no other coach came close in this year’s poll. Last year’s Coach of the Year, Mills earned as many votes by himself as the next three coaches in the poll (Mark Caudillo of Problems, Derrick Huey of BB4L, Lawrence Robinson of Young Legends). Caudillo is the only other Drew League coach to ever win 26 games in a row. D.H. also coached an undefeated champion in 2016. Robinson was the most impressive new coach at the Drew. Wally Moore and Charles Lovely also received multiple votes.
Finally, Defensive Player of the Year will be awarded at the Drew League. While the Drew League still has a reputation for inconsistent defensive play, Birdie’s Revenge’s Roshun Wynne, Jr. has earned respect in the Drew from his consistently disruptive defensive performances. Wynne even earned a nickname this season: The StickUp Kid. Nevels and BB4L’s Casper Ware also earned multiple votes for their defense – but multiple coaches also couldn’t bring themselves to nominate a top defensive player.
Coaches participating: Reggie Morris (Hometown Favorites), Dart Stamps (Team Watson), Kevin Matthews (Legacy), Ryosuke Nozawa (LA LOOP), Omar Alameddine (Prodigy), Tyler Nelson (Jaguars), Adam Quinter (Optimus), Lawrence Robinson (Young Legends), Rodrick Shannon (Citi Team Blazers), Gary Clark (No Shnacks), Derrick Huey (BB4L), Josh Williams (Foot Print), Dejohn Odom (Juglife), Mark Caudillo (Problems), Wallace Moore (LAUNFD), Roland Jones (Nation Wide Souljas), Tracey Mills (Birdie’s Revenge), Keion Kindred (Redemption), Charles Lovely (Panthers), Charles Young (MHP), Torino Johnson (Pandas), Derrick Howard (Spider Webb), David Hollaway (Reapers), Lemar Gayle (Black Pearls Elite), Alan Cirson (Hoops Legends), Sherwyn Morgan (Clozers).