Grace backs Cotton for fourth NBL MVP award
Dan Woods - NBL.com.au
The Perth Wildcats and Bryce Cotton endured an indifferent start to NBL24, but its no surprise Perth’s surge up the ladder has coincided with Cotton’s return to his superstar best.
Perth sits second on the ladder ahead of the club’s retro round clash against the Wildcats’ great rivals of the 2010s, the New Zealand Breakers.
Cotton’s arrival into the league accompanied the Breakers’ dip out of the NBL’s elite in 2017. The star guard won his first league title in that opening season and won his first league MVP the following season.
Perth legend Ricky Grace is often thrown in conversations surrounding the greatest Wildcat of all time, and he believes Cotton is deserving of a fourth career NBL MVP this season.
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“He’s definitely my MVP for this year, I don’t see anyone else who’s as important to their team as Bryce is to the Wildcats,” Grace said in an interview exclusive on the Wildcats app.
“I don’t see anyone who’s scout is to stop one man on any one team any more than it is for Bryce Cotton, yet he still is able to deliver at a very high standard game after game.
“Also, his team is doing very, very well and seems to be peaking at the right rime. I do not see any reason why Bryce Cotton should not be MVP this year.
“I’m really excited about the Wildcats’ chances. They’re playing great basketball at the right time of the year and this is probably one of the most exciting teams to watch.”
Grace made almost 500 appearances for the Wildcats across his award-laden 15 years with the Wildcats. His mark of 482 games is the all-time record for the club, but is within the realms of being broken by club captain and six-time champion Jesse Wagstaff.
Should the Wildcats make the Championship Series and play every possible post-season game – and should Wagstaff play in all of them – he’ll finish the season on 481 appearances for the club, which will leave him one behind Grace.
Wagstaff recently stated “there’s a lot of water to go under the bridge” in terms of him extending his career another season, and Grace has wished Wagstaff all the best in reaching what would be a record-breaking 483 games.
“Records are made to be broken, so if Jesse is able to play on I’ll be one of the first to congratulate him,” Grace said.
“It’s just a credit to Jesse that he’s been able to play at such a high standard for such a long time. To me, that’s a level of greatness, he’s not just been a one-hit wonder, he’s been able to play at a high standard year after year.
“He’s a great basketball guy, a great family guy, he’s just a great guy. Full credit to everything Jesse’s been able to achieve.”
The Wildcats will play the Breakers on Sunday at 1pm, live and free on ESPN via Kayo Freebies, 10 Peach and 10 Play