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Kevin Lisch awarded ultimate prize of MVP

[ooyala code="81dngwMTE6hqzYUwVOxXypjOQs5-m4WU" player_id="d5b993422b3e4b5ebd61f9e19ca2a6a5" width="1920" height="1080" auto="true"] The Illawarra Hawks' Kevin Lisch, who finished top five in points, assists and steals, has won the 2015-16 NBL Most Valuable Player Award, the NBL announced today. Lisch becomes the fourth Hawks player to win the award, joining Mike Jones (1981), Gary Ervin (2011) and Rotnei Clarke (2014). “It sounds boring but so much of the thanks has to go to my team-mates who make playing so much easier and so enjoyable,” Lisch said after receiving the award. “It’s a great honour and, more importantly, hopefully we can go far in the Finals this year.” The 188cm guard, who was previously named MVP in 2012 as a member of the Perth Wildcats, becomes only the sixth player in NBL history to have been named MVP in multiple seasons, joining Andrew Gaze (7), Scott Fisher (2), Leroy Loggins (2), Robert Rose (2) and Chris Anstey (2). Rose, who was honoured as a member of the South East Melbourne Magic in 1993 and Townsville Crocodiles in 2001, is the only other player to have won the award for two different clubs. Throughout the year, coaching staff from each team vote on the best performing players in every game. The votes are collated and the individual with the most votes is awarded the Most Valuable Player. Lisch received a total of 93 votes to win the Award. Rounding out the top five in the voting were Melbourne United’s Chris Goulding (84 votes), Adelaide 36ers’ Jerome Randle (82 votes) and Illawarra Hawks pair A.J. Ogilvy (82 votes) and Kirk Penney (82 votes). Earlier at the NBL MVP and Awards Night, Lisch was also named the 2015-16 NBL Best Defensive Player. Lisch returned to the NBL this season after spending the past two years playing in Europe, first in France and then in Spain. Illawarra’s signing of former Perth Wildcats head coach Rob Beveridge was the catalyst for the dynamic guard to return to Australia and reunite with his former mentor. “Bevo has been a great mentor for me; he gave me my first professional job, he gave me my only wife and he’s been very influential on my career.” Lisch helped the Hawks win 17 games by averaging 20.4 points (fourth in the NBL), 3.5 assists (sixth), a career-high 1.8 steals (first) and 3.5 rebounds. The 29-year-old shot 50.7 percent from the field and ranked third in the league in three-point field goal percentage (41.8). With Lisch leading the way, Illawarra qualified for its 19th appearance in the NBL Finals, having finished the regular season with an impressive 17-11 record. His leadership, playmaking, scoring and stifling full-court defence powered Illawarra’s high-paced team all season. Nonetheless, the MVP said the other members of Illawarra’s ‘Big 3’ were equally deserving of the award. “They deserve this just as much as I because without those guys I don’t get open looks – without Kirk running around I don’t always have the best defender on me,” Lisch said. “Those guys and the other team-mates have done tremendously and it’s just been a joy to play with those guys.” After sitting out three of the Hawks’ first four games due to injury, Lisch was named the NBL Player of the Month for December, when Illawarra won 5 out of 6 games with an average winning margin of 19.4 points. Lisch receives the Andrew Gaze Trophy, which is named in honour of one of the NBL's greatest players, a two-time champion and seven-time MVP. The newly crowned MVP is excited about participating in the upcoming NBL Finals. “This is why we play those 28 games, to play in the Finals, and we’ll put our best foot forward and see how it goes.”   All-Time NBL Most Valuable Player Award 1979 – Ken Richardson, West Adelaide Bearcats 1980 – Rocky Smith, St. Kilda Saints 1981 – Mike Jones, Illawarra Hawks 1982 – Al Green, West Adelaide Bearcats 1983 – Owen Wells, Sydney Supersonics 1984 – Leroy Loggins, Brisbane Bullets 1985 – Ray Borner, Coburg Giants 1986 – Leroy Loggins, Brisbane Bullets 1987 – Mark Davis, Adelaide 36ers & Leroy Loggins, Brisbane Bullets 1988 – Joe Hurst, Hobart Devils 1989 – Scott Fisher, North Melbourne Giants 1990 – Derek Ricker, Brisbane Bullets 1991 – Andrew Gaze, Melbourne Tigers 1992 – Scott Fisher, North Melbourne Giants & Andrew Gaze, Melbourne Tigers 1993 – Robert Rose, South East Melbourne Magic 1994 – Andrew Gaze, Melbourne Tigers 1995 – Andrew Gaze, Melbourne Tigers 1996 – Andrew Gaze, Melbourne Tigers 1997 – Andrew Gaze, Melbourne Tigers 1998 – Andrew Gaze, Melbourne Tigers 1999 – Steve Woodberry, Brisbane Bullets 2000 – Paul Rogers, Perth Wildcats 2001 – Robert Rose, Townsville Crocodiles 2002 – Mark Bradtke, Melbourne Tigers 2003 – Chris Williams, Sydney Kings 2004 – Matthew Nielsen, Sydney Kings 2005 – Brian Wethers, Hunter Pirates 2006 – Chris Anstey, Melbourne Tigers 2007 – Sam Mackinnon, Brisbane Bullets 2008 – Chris Anstey, Melbourne Tigers 2009 – Kirk Penney, New Zealand Breakers 2010 – Corey Williams, Townsville Crocodiles 2011 – Gary Ervin, Wollongong Hawks 2012 – Kevin Lisch, Perth Wildcats 2013 – Cedric Jackson, New Zealand Breakers 2014 – Rotnei Clarke, Wollongong Hawks 2015 – Brian Conklin, Townsville Crocodiles 2016 – Kevin Lisch, Illawarra Hawks      
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