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Bryce Cotton wins fourth NBL MVP crown, draws within one of Gaze

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Bryce Cotton has once again etched his name in the annals of NBL history, clinching his fourth league MVP award on Monday night.

The Perth Wildcats talisman has ascended into the pantheon of legends in Australian basketball, now trailing only five-time MVP winner Andrew Gaze, after whom the prestigious award is named.

At 31 years old, Cotton’s stellar displays propelled the Wildcats to a commendable second-place finish behind the formidable Melbourne United.

He took out the MVP title ahead of strong contenders such as United star Chris Goulding and New Zealand Breakers gun Parker Jackson-Cartwright.

After a rocky start to the season, Cotton went on to average an impressive 26.6 points per game in a scintillating 15-game stretch where the Wildcats emerged victorious in 13 encounters.

Although Goulding fell short of clinching the top honour, Melbourne United showcased their dominance on the awards night.

Head coach Dean Vickerman secured the title of the NBL’s best coach for the third time, Shea Ili was named the Defensive Player of the Year, and Ian Clark was recognised as the Best Sixth Man.

The spotlight wasn’t solely on seasoned veterans, as emerging talents also made their mark.

Despite being a frontrunner for the potential No.1 draft pick, Alex Sarr was edged out in the race for the Next Gen award, which celebrates the league’s best player under 25.

Illawarra’s rising star Sam Froling emerged victorious, with Luke Travers also vying for the prestigious title.

Froling and the Hawks will kick off the NBL play-in tournament on February 28 when they take on the New Zealand Breakers in a do-or-die qualifier.

Online bookmakers have the JackJumpers pegged as -204.08 favourites for that clash, with the Hawks paying +165.

In championship betting, Cotton and the Wildcats hold the second line at +275 with BetOnline, while United are well-backed favourites at -109.89 to win it all.

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