Big V 2015: State Championship MVP Races

With the Big V season approaching it’s midway point, #TeamPnR’s Dean Zardo takes a look at the MVP frontrunners in both the State Championship Men’s and Women’s divisions.

State Championship Women

Honourable Mentions

Chevannah Paalvast / Ella Hellessy (Southern Peninsula Sharks)

The dynamic duo have formed a dangerous partnership and are a big reason for the surprise rise of the Sharks in State Championship, but neither have dominated games enough to be in MVP talks.

Esther Timmermans (Sherbrooke Suns)

After a red-hot start, Timmermans went down with a serious knee injury in her fourth outing for the lowly Suns. Prior to that, she was averaging 21.3ppg and 10.3rpg, which is up there with the best players in the league, even though her team has been nothing short of woeful.

Bulleen Boomers starting five

The Boomers have had an amazing seven different top scorers through their eight games, sitting pretty in third at 6-2. The key to their success has been sharing the load, with no playing averaging more than 12ppg, which obviously doesn’t translate well in terms of standout MVP candidates. The Boomers’ starters have changed from game to game as well, highlighting the team’s depth.

Credit: Boomers Media

The Top Five

  1. Lauren Oosdyke (Ringwood Hawks)

Ringwood’s new import exploded onto the scene in round one, going off for 32 points and 12 boards. While she hasn’t quite hit the same heights since, Oosdyke is still averaging 14.6ppg and 7.7rpg to lead her team to an 8-1 record and top spot on the ladder. The Hawks gun has shot the ball at 49% from the field and 53% from long distance, taking nearly two shots from the perimeter per game. While fellow American teammate Amber Hegge has struggled this season after carrying the load for two years, Oosdyke has picked up the slack in a big way and a strong second half of the year will see her well in contention for the league’s top individual honour.

  1. Helen Roden (Melbourne Tigers)

Melbourne’s star recruit has been superb in leading the Tigers’ resurgence after a poor start to the campaign. Roden is averaging 18.9ppg and 8.4rpg across seven matches, adding a couple of assists to go with those numbers for good measure. Aside from a 13-point effort in her 2015 debut, Roden hasn’t posted less than 17 points in any of her last six games and has a season-high of 25, while the Tiger has also recorded three double-doubles along the way. If the Tigers can sneak into finals it will no doubt be on the back of Roden’s enterprising play, and that makes her worthy of her spot in the top five.

  1. Tegan Cunningham (Waverley Falcons)

One half of Waverley’s dominant duo, Cunningham has been a dominant force again so far in 2015 despite her side’s up and down start to the year. A monster 25-point, 16-rebound and 5-assist effort in round one against the plucky Boomers has been her best game, and the WNBL star is averaging 18.8ppg and 10.9rpg across eight games to help her side to a 6-3 record. Her 48.5% shooting from the floor makes her a tough cover both inside and out, while her ability to create for her teammates, highlighted by her 2.8 dimes per contest, makes her the complete player at this level.

Credit: Big V Media

  1. Carley Mijovic (Waverley Falcons)

Cunningham’s Falcons teammate Mijovic has been even better so far in 2015. Another WNBL star and former AIS product, Mijovic has posted 23.4ppg, 9.7rpg and 3.0apg so far through seven games to form a partnership with Cunningham that gives the rest of the league nightmares. The young gun went off for 38 points and 11 boards against McKinnon, hitting 6-of-9 three-pointers for good measure. In her last four outings, she is averaging a whopping 28.5ppg and is pulling in 11.8 rebounds as well, while her most recent performance saw her post 27 points, 15 boards and 7 assists to fill the stat sheet. If she, and her side, continues to improve in the back end of the season, Mijovic will have one hand on the MVP trophy.

  1. Colleen Planeta (Hume City Broncos)

Standing between Mijovic and the award is Broncos star import Colleen Planeta. The American has dominated the league again in her second season, leading Hume to an 8-1 start on the back of 23.7ppg and 9.9rpg whilst shooting at 52.5% from the field. Aside from a 16-point outing against Ringwood a month ago, Planeta has scored at least 23 points in every one of her eight other games, including five big double-doubles. It’s not all at the offensive end either, with the superstar blocking 2.8 shots per game to protect the rim for her side and making it very difficult for the opposition to score inside. If Hume City continues to fire all season as well, her competitors will need to do something special to take the MVP off her come August.

Credit: Big V Media

State Championship Men

Honourable Mentions

Dillon Stith (Melbourne Tigers)

Stith has been superb for Melbourne despite his side winning just two games so far in 2015, with the American posting an impressive 23ppg to go with 9.7rpg. With the Tigers struggling and a wealth of talent across the league, it means that he probably isn’t quite in the MVP race just yet.

Jordan Hughes (Werribee Devils)

Hughes is in a similar boat to Stith, with the Devils big man averaging 23.3ppg, 6.9rpg and 3.2apg but unable to get wins on the board for his struggling side, who also sit at 2-8 after eight rounds. Hughes is also shooting just 39.8%, which is well below the other leading scorers in the league.

Ben Waldren (Hawthorn Magic)

Waldren continues to grow, with the young forward becoming Hawthorn’s go-to guy this season and coping well, averaging 19.1ppg and grabbing 6.5rpg to go with it. After a strong start to the campaign, however, the young Magic have fallen away to lose four of their last five, taking the gloss off Waldren's numbers somewhat. While he is quite unlikely to get a look in this season, watch this space in the years to come.

Credit: Big V Media

Adam Moore (Eltham Wildcats)

Moore is putting together a very nice season, averaging a double-double so far with 21.3ppg and 10.3rpg. His side is currently a mediocre 5-6, but if they can get themselves going and Moore continues to be the star of the show then he could come into the conversation later in the year.

Liam Norton (Bulleen Boomers)

Norton has endured an up-and-down start to 2015, with four games of 24+ points, but also two games with ten or less summing it up. Nonetheless, the Boomers are a respectable 6-5 and their star guard is still going at 19.4ppg. There is plenty of time for both Norton and his side to improve, however he will need to improve on his 2.9 assists per contest if he is to close the gap on the MVP frontrunners.

The Top Five

  1. Jermaine Williams (Whittlesea Pacers)

After an injury interrupted 2014 and a slow start to 2015, Williams and his Pacers are rallying, winning four of their last five to sit at 4-6 and within two games of the top six. The athletic import is doing it all, playing big minutes to average 17.3ppg, 10rpg and 4.1apg whilst shooting at a 53% clip from the floor and an impressive 90% from the charity stripe. A rare triple-double against Hawthorn in round six, where Williams went off for 20 points, 11 boards and 10 dimes, shows just how dangerous he can be, and if the Pacers continue to win in the second half of the season there is no doubt it will be on the back of their MVP candidate.

Credit: Big V Media

  1. Casey Walker (Corio Bay Stingrays)

Corio Bay’s import has filled the void left by Scooter Renkin and nicely, averaging 20.7ppg, 4.6rpg and 2.8apg through nine games so far this season. He hasn’t been playing big minutes like many of the other stars across the league, making his numbers even more impressive, while his side is winning plenty of games, sitting atop the league with a 10-1 record. His shooting percentage of 40% is a touch low, but after coming into the side late and finding his feet, the American could be poised to take the next step in the second half of the year.

  1. Ivan Platenik (Waverley Falcons)

The term MVP and the name Ivan Platenik are never too far away from each other, with the veteran consistently posting very solid numbers week-in, week-out. Seven double-doubles in 11 games this year, including a stretch of five straight, tells the story, and that is despite his minutes being down on the back of some big wins by the Falcons. When games are on the line, Platenik continually makes big plays, and his averages of 20ppg and 11.2rpg, as well as a shooting clip of a very handy 57%, are as good as almost anyone’s in the league, no matter how unconventionally they may come.

Credit: Big V Media

  1. Nathan Champion (Ringwood Hawks)

Ringwood’s star import has been nothing less than that so far in 2015 in leading his side to an 8-1 record – good for second best in the competition. Champion has been averaging 21.7ppg at 54% from the field and a remarkable 44% from beyond the arc, which is even more impressive considering he has taken 49 shots from deep in nine games at over five per contest. The Hawks’ worst shooting night to date is a 5-for-16 effort against Diamond Valley, which is still around the 30% mark, and in only one other game (10-22 vs Eltham) has he shot below 50%. If Champion keeps that up and the Hawks keep winning, he will stake a huge claim for the league’s highest individual honour at season’s end.

  1. Kale Harrison (McKinnon Cougars)

The man who is leading the way right now simply has to be Harrison. The Cougars are flying at 9-2, and their superstar swingman is in blistering form, scoring a touch over 27 points per game and shooting the ball at 53% from the floor for good measure. Harrison has had just two game under 20 points so far this year, and has hit the 30 point mark three times already in just ten games, including a blistering 39 against Bulleen and 36 last week against Eltham. To top it all off, Harrison is going at 88% from the line, well up on his career average of 75%, making him near impossible to contain right now. If he keeps up his current red-hot form and the Cougars don’t fall in a hole over the second half of the year, the MVP award is his to lose.

Credit: Big V Media

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