Perth Wildcats star Bryce Cotton has added another accolade to his outstanding career and shown his class in recovering from the injury which ended his previous season by winning his fourth club MVP award.
Cotton won the Gordon Ellis Medal with 328 votes to finish clearly in front of import Vic Law on 209.
The brilliant shooter endured major surgery on his leg during 2021 but returned to produce the remarkable form which has been a staple of his time in the NBL. He joined Ricky Grace, Shawn Redhage and James Crawford as players to have won four MVP trophies.
Cotton also won the Eric Watterson Medal which is voted on by the players. His awards followed being named in the All-NBL First team and placing runner-up in the league’s MVP award.
Mitch Norton was named Perth’s Best Defensive Player, Luke Travers won Most Improved and Jack Purchase received the Coaches’ Award.
Meanwhile, Wildcats captain Jesse Wagstaff insists his decision to play on for a historic 14th NBL season wasn’t motivated by not wanting to retire after the team’s 35-year finals streak came to an end.
Wagstaff has re-signed with the club and will add to his 416 NBL games as a 36-year-old.
But the veteran said his decision came down to still feeling he could contribute instead of feeling he had a point to prove.
“That’s always going to pop up this season. But I don’t think we look at years when you make the semi-finals and get bundled out in two games too much differently,” Wagstaff said.
“You’re still not achieving your goal. Your goal is to win a championship. We can’t really say we failed less. The ultimate goal is to win a championship and we didn’t achieve that last year and we didn’t achieve it the year before.”
Wagstaff joined Mitch Norton, Bryce Cotton, Todd Blanchfield, Luke Travers, Majok Majok, Kyle Zunic and Corey Shervill as players from last season to suit up again for the 2022/23 season.
He said a decision on the captaincy would be made in consultation with coach Scott Morrison.
But Wagstaff said he made sure he had plenty of time to consider whether playing on was the correct decision.
“I switched off for a month. I got away from basketball and hung out with the family. It’s been a long two years,” he said.
“I put it on the back burner. But once the offer came up – it’s a great opportunity.”