Mersey Tigers have received recognition for their superb season with Tony Garbelotto being named Coach of the Year and Andrew Thomson British Player of the Year by the UK’s Basketball Journalists Association.
Garbelotto has led the Tigers to all three finals this season, as well as the league championship title, taking on Sheffield Sharks on Saturday for the BBL Play-off trophy.
Thomson, a key figure in the Tigers’ success this season, beat off competition from team mates David Aliu and James Jones to win the Pete Jacques British Player of the Year award – a reflection on the achievements of the club’s all-British line-up.
Garbelotto said: “Andrew has some of the best fundamental skills in the league but he went away last summer and just got stronger and quicker.
“He’s grown and he’s not afraid to be make the big plays even though he’s selfless as well. He was unbelievable in the semi-finals a last weekend. He destroyed a great front line that Cheshire has.
“He’s become that prototype power forward in Europe in that he can hurt teams off the dribble as well as inside. It’s a shame there’s a logjam at that position for GB at the moment but he’s still got another three or four years to reach that level.”
Garbelotto, whose side faces Sheffield in the season finale in Birmingham next weekend, added: “I’ve just been blessed this season that despite all the off-court issues, I’ve had such a great group of guys who have done everything I’ve asked them to do.”
The Player of the Year award went to former Tiger Trey Moore, who pipped Drew Sullivan and Nate Reinking to the award despite missing the end of the season through a foot injury.
He said: “I’m delighted to get the award. But I’d trade it if Newcastle could have won the play-off title, or any other silverware this season. It’s satisfying to be recognised individually but my goal was to win the league or a cup this year and it’s disappointing we couldn’t accomplish it. My injury just came at the worst possible time.”