British Basketball League: BBL and WBBL All-British Teams of the Year announced
Last Updated: 10/05/21 3:12pm
The 2021 Molten All-British Teams of the Year have been announced, with a trio of GB internationals leading the BBL quintet while a BJA Player of the Year and 2012 Olympian feature in the WBBL side.
Here's a look at who made the cut...Molten BBL All-British Team of the Year
Ashley Hamilton - Plymouth Raiders
In his first season with the Raiders, the GB international forward took on the captaincy and has already led Plymouth to a third-place finish in the BBL Championship, a BBL Trophy Final and the highest number of wins in the club's history.
Receiving nine votes from a possible ten and making the team for the second year in a row, Hamilton averaged 16 points - good enough for seventh in the league - with seven rebounds and two assists, and he also drew the second-highest number of fouls of any player. He had to bounce back from a mid-season injury and adjust to a role as sixth man in the latter stages of the campaign, relishing in that by upping his averages to 17 points and eight rebounds off the bench in eight games over the last month of the season.
Justin Robinson - London Lions
The two-time Molten BBL Player of the Season has continued to be Lions' talisman despite adjusting to a new role on a stacked roster that began the campaign competing in the Basketball Champions League. He also received nine votes from BBL Head Coaches as, having played more than 30 minutes per game in each of the last three seasons, he remained highly productive in an average of 26 minutes this time around.
Robinson averaged 13 points and five assists per game, shooting a career-high 47% from beyond the three-point line, which is his best in 14 years across the BBL, Greece, Cyprus, Ukraine, Hungary, France and college in America. He has already lifted the BBL Trophy this season, and he scored 17 points with six assists as the Covid-struck Lions ran Newcastle close in the BBL Cup Final. It's a third consecutive All-British team appearance for Robinson, who next up leads Lions into the play-off semi-finals.
Jordan Williams - Worcester Wolves
The third player to receive nine votes is the youngest player to make the team and is elected for the first time, but with Williams in his sixth BBL campaign at the age of just 25 his leadership with the Wolves has belied his years. He has played the fourth-most minutes per game (34) of any BBL player, led the league in defensive rebounding (7.6) and was second in total rebounds per game (9.2), while averaging 13 points.
In the rare style of a modern 'point forward', the 6'8" big man was also eighth in the BBL in assists per game (5.1), that and his rebound numbers marking career highs. There were four occasions during the season that saw him one or two assists or rebounds shy of a triple-double, including both of his last two games of the regular season. In all he finished the regular campaign with 10 double-doubles, second only to Rahmon Fletcher in that regard.
Conner Washington - Leicester Riders
Returning to Leicester for an eighth campaign after a season in Hungary and Germany, the GB international guard was a BBL Championship winner for the fourth time in his career. Consistently one of the best shooters in the BBL, he was seventh in total three-pointers made (53 makes at 38 percent), and sixth in both two-point percentage (60.6 percent) and free-throw percentage (87.0 percent), while averaging 10 points and four assists per game for the season.
Playing in all 30 league games, he was particularly pivotal when Geno Crandall went down with an injury during a crucial run of games in March, when Washington stepped up to play 39 minutes in each of those three contests, averaging 17 points, eight assists and six rebounds as Leicester won two of those to keep the title charge on course. After receiving eight votes, this is a fourth appearance in the All-British team for Washington - but first since 2016-17 - which is a mark that is only bettered by Drew Sullivan (7) and Kieron Achara (5).
David Ulph - Manchester Giants
It's been a breakout season for 6'7" David Ulph, who gained votes from six BBL Head Coaches to make the All-British Team in his first full campaign in the top-flight, having stepped up through National Basketball League Divisions 1 and 2 representing North West teams such as Liverpool. Ulph led the league in field goal percentage (64.9 percent) and rebounds per game (9.2), while averaging 11 points per outing as Giants fell just short of the Play-offs and made a BBL Cup semi-final.
Perhaps his best performance of the season came in Manchester's comeback win on the road at Newcastle Eagles in April, as he shot 10-14 (71 percent) en route to 20 points alongside nine rebounds and four assists. Ulph showed consistency and tenacity all year. Having missed the first six games through injury, he made waves in the second half of the season as he stepped into the breach to start ten straight games and average 30 minutes when Giants suffered the departures of other key big men.Molten WBBL All-British Team of the Year
Holly Winterburn - Leicester Riders
The election of Leicester's star guard to the All-British team was unanimous among WBBL Head Coaches, and Winterburn features among the best British five for the second consecutive time after a year out in between at the mighty University of Oregon. Stepping up to captain the league's second-placed team at just 20 years of age following the departure of Kate Oliver, she lifted the WBBL Cup in February and had a near triple-double in that game of 16 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
The do-it-all guard is a match-up challenge and finished the season third in the WBBL in assists per game (6.2), sixth in steals (2.1), ninth in defensive rebounds (6.1) and tenth in fouls drawn, while putting up 15 points per game and shooting 36 percent from the three-point line. Her assist and rebound numbers are highs in her young career as she continues to develop her all-around game.
Kennedy Leonard - London Lions
New to the WBBL this season after an amazing career at Colorado University, where she finished as the all-time leader in assists, and a debut professional season in Germany, Leonard received nine votes after making a lasting impression during the Lions' hunt for the WBBL Championship title. London finished third in the league, with Leonard leading the league in assists (11.3 per game) and steals (3.9) while also scoring 16 points and grabbing five rebounds per outing as one of only five players to average a double-double.
She had 11 double-doubles in the regular season and finished it with a triple-double of 24 points, 17 assists and 10 rebounds against Durham, nabbing eight steals for a near quadruple-double. Leonard led Lions to WBBL Trophy glory, lifting the MVP award with 21 points, nine assists, seven steals and six rebounds in the final. She also broke records along the way with the highest number of total assists in a season (225), and in a single game with an astonishing 21 against Caledonia Pride.
Georgia Jones - Manchester Met Mystics
Jones is an ever-present in the Molten WBBL All-British Team of the Year since the league's formation in 2014, receiving nine votes to make her sixth straight appearance. The 31-year-old GB international captained Mystics to a fifth-place finish and was herself fourth in the WBBL in assists (5.3) and sixth in scoring (17.2), while playing the fifth-most minutes per game (36.3).
She made the most three-pointers of any player in the league, knocking down 63 to edge out Cassie Breen (61), at an accuracy of 36 percent - a career high, with her points tally being a personal best since 2016. She scored in double-figures in all but one league game, and had her two best performances of the campaign in a pair of victories over Essex Rebels that proved crucial as they took the head-to-head to edge Rebels out of fifth place - Jones averaged a near triple-double in those games of 30 points, nine assists, nine rebounds, hitting six triples each time at 48 percent.
Claire Paxton - Durham Palatinates
With six votes, Paxton makes the All-British team for the first time in her fourth campaign in the WBBL having joined Durham from Leicester, and she has really stepped up into a leadership role averaging double-figure scoring for the first time with 15.7 points per game getting her into the league's top 10. She also finished the season first in defensive rebounds (8.3), seventh in total rebounds (9.0) and third in blocked shots per game (1.4).
With four wins, Palatinates fell short of the Play-offs, but they finished strong with three of those wins coming in April as Paxton posted six of her eight double-doubles in the final month. Best of all, she had a career-high 34 points along with 10 rebounds in winning a North East derby 75-70 against Newcastle Eagles, including seven points in the final three minutes of that contest.
Azania Stewart - Leicester Riders
The London 2012 Team GB Olympian came out of retirement to represent Leicester Riders this season, and received four votes to take the final spot. Leading the league with 1.9 blocks per game, she was the defensive lynchpin on the best defensive team in the WBBL, and was also eighth in the league with 8.8 rebounds per outing.
Stewart got her work done efficiently at the offensive end too, averaging 11 points per game and leading the league in field goal percentage (61.1 percent). She had five double-doubles, saving her season-highs for the biggest games with 17 points in one clash with London Lions and five blocks in another that secured Leicester's second-place finish, while she had 18 rebounds as Leicester were the only team to beat the champion Sevenoaks Suns in league play.
The BBL and WBBL play-off finals will take place at Leicester's Morningside Arena on Sunday, May 16, live on Sky Sports.