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Lisch dethrones Martin for Best Defensive Player

[ooyala code="N3dXgwMTE6RdzuYY2kW8YXjR2Wlx-699" player_id="d5b993422b3e4b5ebd61f9e19ca2a6a5" width="1920" height="1080" auto="true"] The Illawarra Hawks’ Kevin Lisch, who led all players in steals per game this season, has been named 2015-16 NBL Best Defensive Player, the NBL announced today. Lisch becomes the third Hawks player to win the award, joining Glen Saville (2003) and Darnell Mee (2005). “This is probably one of the biggest awards I’ve won,” Lisch said. “To win Best Defensive Player it really is a compliment. I do take a lot of pride in my defence and with all the good players that were up for it, it’s quite an honour.” Each club nominated one player for the Award with the Head Coach, one Assistant Coach and the Team Captain then voting in a 3-2-1 format (3 votes being indicative of the most deserving). Voters were not allowed to vote for players from their own team. Lisch received a total of 40 votes to win the Award. Rounding out the top three in the voting were the Perth Wildcats’ Damian Martin (35 votes) and the New Zealand Breakers’ Mika Vukona (20 votes). The announcement marks the end of Martin’s historic run as the recipient of the Best Defensive Player Award. The Perth guard was honoured the past five consecutive seasons, but was limited to only 18 regular season games this year due to injury. “His greatest attribute is obviously his good strong hands, but he’s just relentless and he’s not afraid of anyone,” Lisch said in honour of his former teammate. “Winning this award and then going over to play Perth, I don’t know if that’s a good thing.” The 188cm Lisch, who previously spent four seasons as a member of the Perth Wildcats from 2009-2013, averaged a career high 1.8 steals per game to help lead Illawarra’s high-pressure defensive schemes. Having spent the past two seasons playing in Europe, Lisch returned to the NBL a much-improved defender. His stifling full-court pressure and active hands making him a nightmare match-up for any rival guard. “In Europe you have more of a role. Coming off the bench and even starting I was more of a defensive guy; get up the court, play hard for 15-20 minutes a game and then sit back down,” Lisch explained. “I think overall it made me more of a well-rounded player.” With the Hawks set to tip of their Semi Finals series against Perth Wildcats this Friday, Lisch is expecting the level of defensive intensity to increase across the board in the post-season. “It always lifts in the Finals, the game always becomes a bit more of a grind so it’s going to be about defence.”     All-Time NBL Best Defensive Player Award 1980 – Ray Wood, West Adelaide Bearcats 1981 – Ray Wood, West Adelaide Bearcats 1982 – Phil Smyth, St. Kilda Saints 1983 – Phil Smyth, St. Kilda Saints 1984 – Not awarded 1985 – Not awarded 1986 – Not awarded 1987 – Leroy Loggins, Brisbane Bullets 1988 – Phil Smyth, Canberra Cannons 1989 – Phil Smyth, Canberra Cannons 1990 – Leroy Loggins, Brisbane Bullets 1991 – Terry Dozier, Geelong Supercats 1992 – Terry Dozier, Newcastle Falcons 1993 – Terry Dozier, Newcastle Falcons 1994 – Darren Lucas, South East Melbourne Magic 1995 – Darren Lucas, South East Melbourne Magic 1996 – Isaac Burton, Sydney Kings 1997 – Mike Kelly, South East Melbourne Magic 1998 – Mike Kelly, South East Melbourne Magic 1999 – Darnell Mee, Adelaide 36ers 2000 – Darnell Mee, Adelaide 36ers 2001 – Darnell Mee, Adelaide 36ers 2002 – Simon Dwight, West Sydney Razorbacks 2003 – Glen Saville, Wollongong Hawks 2004 – Ben Castle, Brisbane Bullets 2005 – Darnell Mee, Wollongong Hawks 2006 – Darnell Mee, Cairns Taipans 2007 – Sam Mackinnon, Brisbane Bullets 2008 – Chris Anstey, Melbourne Tigers 2009 – Adam Gibson, South Dragons 2010 – Dillon Boucher, New Zealand Breakers 2011 – Damian Martin, Perth Wildcats 2012 – Damian Martin, Perth Wildcats 2013 – Damian Martin, Perth Wildcats 2014 – Damian Martin, Perth Wildcats 2015 – Damian Martin, Perth Wildcats 2016 – Kevin Lisch, Illawarra Hawks    
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