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Fan's Choice: EYBL MVP

By Owen Kinsky, D1 Circuit, 06/17/14, 3:30PM EDT


Second annual D1 Fan's Choice MVP is up for grabs

The second annual D1Circuit Fan MVP is up for a vote! Last season, Abdul Malik-Abu of Expressions Elite took home the inaugural honor. The requirements for this season were that players needed to have played in a minimum of three sessions to qualify for MVP consideration. MVP fan vote winner will win the title of D1Circuit Fan MVP as well as count towards 25% of the final D1Circuit 2014 MVP voting.

12 players were selected as finalists for the the fans to decide between and are presented below in alphabetical order.

The poll is below the 12 finalist profiles.

Prince Ali | Guard | Southern Stampede | 2015

21.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.2 spg, 0.8 bpg

In 11 of his 16 games this season, Ali surpassed the 20-point mark. He finished the season second in total points behind only Allonzo Trier and was third in scoring average this season. Ali is the primary reason that Southern Stampede clinched a Peach Jam berth, as he led them to an 8-8 record this season. He has special athleticism and can score in a multitude of fashions. As far as entertaining goes, not too many are more fun to watch than Ali. His best performance came against Spiece Indy Heat, as Ali put up 31 points and nine rebounds en route to a huge six-point victory. If you want to know more about Ali’s MVP credentials, check out the feature piece by our own Nick Allen.

Antonio Blakeney | Guard | E1T1 | 2015

19.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.0 spg

Blakeney’s stats are surprising when you consider that E1T1 had another 19 ppg scorer for their squad in seven of their 16 games this season. Without sharing the load with Ben Simmons for those seven games, Blakeney’s scoring average may have been even higher. As it is though, Blakeney was the top scorer for one of the top team’s in the EYBL and is deserving of a finalist spot. Blakeney logged heavy minutes this season, especially down the stretch when E1T1 was without Simmons for the final two sessions, upping his minutes per game to 29.6 and scoring average to 21.2 ppg. E1T1, thanks in large part to Blakeney, enters the Peach Jam as one of the favorites to take home the title - and in their case, it would be a repeat.

Isaiah Briscoe | Guard | Playaz Club | 2015

18.2 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 5.5 apg, 1.5 spg

The do-everything sparkplug for arguably the top team on the circuit was another easy selection for a finalist spot. “Boogie” Briscoe this season brought back memories of former Playaz star Kyle Anderson, in that he was a threat for a triple-double in any given game. Ultimately, Briscoe had two triple-doubles in his fifteen games this season. Briscoe put up 23 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, and five steals in an 89-57 win over Northwest XPress in the second session. He also had a spectacular 20 point, 11 rebound, 13 assist game in a win over the Travelers in the final session. Briscoe was the D1Circuit MVP of the Dallas session, a session in which he averaged 23 points, 9.3 rebounds, 7.3 assists, and 2.3 steals. The Playaz look to be one of the teams to beat heading into the Peach Jam, and Briscoe is the reason why.

Jalen Brunson | Guard | Mac Irvin Fire | 2015

17.2 ppg, 6.9 apg, 3.7 rpg, 2.7 spg

Brunson led the EYBL in assists this year at a clip of 6.9 apg and finished third in steals per game at 2.7. The Fire point guard led his squad to a 10-6 record and yet another Peach Jam berth. After losing Cliff Alexander, Jahlil Okafor, and Josh Cunningham from the team last season, there was some curiosity as to where the scoring punch may come from this season from Mac. Brunson shouldered the load, increasing his scoring nearly five points per game, dishing out an additional 1.2 assists per game, and shooting a more efficient 39.3% from the field this season. He will pass every eye test conducted, as the lefty plays with a confidence level matched by few.

Jalen Coleman | Guard | All Ohio Red | 2015

15.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.1 spg

Though his scoring average is lowest on this list, Coleman was instrumental in All Ohio Red finishing 13-3 this season. His scoring average in victories this season was 16.7 ppg, making it clear that as Coleman went, so did All Ohio. He also averaged 16.7 ppg during All Ohio’s best run of the season, a seven game winning streak to end the season. Coleman capped off his season by winning MVP of the Minneapolis session, a session in which he had his finest performance of the season. Coleman put up 32 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and shot 12-13 from the field including 5-6 from deep.

Cheick Diallo | Forward | SCAN Cardinals | 2015

18.6 ppg, 10.9 rpg, 2.9 bpg, 1.2 apg

The D1Circuit Defensive Player of the Year was actually quite good on offense this season too, putting up 18.6 ppg on 63.3% shooting. His stellar production on both ends of the court made him an easy selection for one of the twelve finalist spots. Diallo led the EYBL in blocks, was second in rebounding, and was ninth in points per game this season. He had an EYBL rarity, a 20 point, 20 rebound game in the final contest of the season against Jackson Tigers. His best performance of the season may have been a 26 point, 10 rebound, 3 block game against BABC in which he shot 9/10 from the field and 8/9 from the charity stripe.

Dedric Lawson | Forward | Team Penny | 2016

17.2 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.9 spg, 1.3 bpg

One of the most balanced players in the EYBL still has another year left on the circuit to hone his game. Lawson is one of two class of 2016 players on this list (along with Malik Monk) who performed well enough to earn a finalist spot. Lawson was simply spectacular this season while leading Team Penny back to the Peach Jam alongside his brother K.J. The pair tied in scoring average on the season at 17.2 points per game, but Dedric was the superior rebounder at 10.4 per game, good for third-best average in the EYBL. Both K.J. and Dedric deserved a spot on this list, but with spots limited, the extra three games that Dedric played as well as his better rebounding clip tilted the selection in his favor.

Malik Monk | Guard | Wings Elite | 2016

21.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 3.8 apg, 1.4 spg

Monk planted his flag for a spot on this list early on in the season in one of the most spectacular ways possible - by scoring an absolutely absurd 59 points in the Wings third game of the season. In that contest, he knocked down 15 shots, including 10 from deep. He also hit 19 of 23 free throws. Outside of that game, Monk still had an MVP-calibre season, finishing third in the EYBL in total points. Though only a sophomore, Monk was the leader of the Arkansas Wings, taking them to the Peach Jam with a record of 11-5 on the season despite some real roster questions in regards to height.  Not only did have the Wings put those questions to rest, they also enter the Peach Jam with a real chance of making noise, in large part due to Monk being one of the biggest scoring threats in the EYBL.

Malik Newman | Guard | Jackson Tigers | 2015

22.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.0 spg

Newman is the only player on this list who was also a finalist in 2013. Newman had the numbers last year, but unfortunately not the team success. This year Newman has both, as the Tigers qualified for the Peach Jam at 8-8. Newman missed the first session while playing with another AAU team, but returned in Dallas to pick up right where he left off in 2013. With Newman in the lineup, the Tigers finished the season strong, going 7-5 over the final three sessions. He finished the season second in scoring average behind only Allonzo Trier and put up 25+ points in seven of his 12 games this season. His superb showing in the final three sessions and the qualification for the Peach Jam gives Newman a strong case for EYBL MVP.

Malachi Richardson | Guard | Team Final | 2015

17.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.6 spg

Though he does fall under the old MVP-mantra of “best player on the best team,” Malachi Richardson deserved to be on this list regardless of Team Final’s EYBL-best 14-2 record. That he did contribute to that superb record, however, is a nice bullet point on his MVP resume. Doing damage on both ends of the court, the Syracuse-commit had six 20+ point games this season, including a season high 30 pt game against Northwest XPress where he shot nine of 16 from the field (three of five from deep) and nine of nine from the line. Team Final is at the head of the class this year, and Richardson is a big reason why.

Caleb Swanigan | Center | Spiece Indy Heat | 2015

18.5 ppg, 12.1 rpg, 2.2 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.7 bpg

One of the most well-rounded players on the Circuit and certainly among big men, Swanigan led the EYBL in rebounding in 2014. He also didn’t do it on just one end of the floor, as he also led in total offensive and defensive boards. Simply put, Swanigan was a monster. He averaged a double-double for the season, and recorded double-doubles in 13 of 16 games this season. In many games Swanigan completely bullied the opposition, teaming with Deyonta Davis to form one of the top frontcourts on the circuit. Early in the season, Swanigan reclassified to the class of 2015 and one of the reasons its pretty obvious - Swanigan is ready for college ball sooner rather than later.

Allonzo Trier | Guard | Athletes First | 2015

29.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.5 apg, 0.8 spg

The easiest way to sum up Trier’s case is this: if you add FOUR scoreless games to Trier’s name, he would have still led the EYBL in scoring at 23.2 ppg. As it is though, he racked up 441 points in 15 contests leading to an absurd scoring average of 29.4 ppg. He shot 47.1% from the field, as well as shooting 88.5% from the charity stripe in 174 attempts. He excelled at getting to the free throw line, as he averaged 11.6 free throw attempts a game due to his superb ability to get into the lane and draw contact. Trier had eight 30+ point efforts this season - seven of them occurring over the final seven games of the season. The D1Circuit MVP of both the Sacramento and Hampton sessions, Trier was simply at a different level this year, picking up the youngest team in the EYBL, putting them on his back, and taking them to a 12-4 record and a berth to the Peach Jam. Trier is the all-time EYBL single-season leading scorer, and he will be on full display in July.

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