Perth Wildcats small forward Casey Prather has been crowned the Gordon Ellis Medallist as the club’s Most Valuable Player for the 2016/17 season.
Prather was presented with the award in front of 1,200 people at the Crown Ballroom, Crown Towers, on Saturday night.
Bryce Cotton finished as runner-up to the award, while Jameel McKay, Damian Martin and Matt Knight rounded out the top five (Martin and Knight tied for fourth).
After being awarded Wildcats MVP in 2016 and 2017, Prather becomes the first ever Wildcat to be the club’s best in both seasons of a back-to-back championship era.
In fact, the 25-year-old is the only player to be club MVP in more than one championship season.
He’s the eighth Perth Wildcat to win multiple Gordon Ellis Medals, the first player in history to take out the award in his first two years in the NBL and just the second in his first two seasons with the club (the other being James Crawford in 1987 and 1988).
The American said he was proud to take out the prize among a group of talented teammates.
“This team is unbelievable to play with. No one is selfish, everybody knows what they have to do to get the results. I want to thank my teammates for getting me the ball and helping make me look good,” he said.
“To be a part of back-to-back championships is the real reward here, but I’m proud now be a part of the history of this great organisation.”
Casey Prather returned to Perth better for his year of experience in the NBL.
With numerous injuries at the point guard position, Prather adapted, going from designated wing scorer to floor general – even running the point guard position in numerous games.
In 2016/17 he averaged 19.5 points per game, up a solid 3.2 points per game on his efforts in 2015/16, while shooting the ball at 43 per cent.
His ability to distribute the ball was also on display in his second season with the club, averaging 3.5 assist per game – almost double his efforts of the previous year.
He also averaged 4.6 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game.
Casey Prather’s season was also recognised by Perth Wildcats members, who voted him Members MVP, while he was also selected by his teammates as the “Players’ Player”, and was awarded the Eric Watterson Medal.
Other awards handed out on the night include the Andrew Vlahov Medal for Best Defensive Player – which was once again taken out by captain Damian Martin.
Martin averaged 4.9 rebounds, picked up 38 steals and caused countless turnovers throughout the season.
Angus Brandt claimed the Most Improved Player award after his first season with the Wildcats.
Brandt was a force in the post-season, and in his five Finals games averaged 6.8 points and 4.4 rebounds per outing in coming off the bench to provide plenty of muscle.
The Coaches’ Award was given to Lucas Walker who played two games at the start of the 2016/17 season as an injury replacement player.
Despite being unable to return to the court for the Wildcats for the remainder of the year, Walker remained a big part of the playing group, completed every training session and excelled in his community work off the court.
2017 Perth Wildcats MVP Ball Award Winners
Most Valuable Player – Gordon Ellis Medal – Casey Prather
Best Defensive Player – Andrew Vlahov Medal – Damian Martin
Players’ Player – Eric Watterson Medal – Casey Prather
Most Improved Player – Angus Brandt
Coaches’ Award – Lucas Walker
Season Members MVP – Casey Prather