Illawarra Hawks’ Rotnei Clarke is the winner of the 2016-17 NBL Best Sixth Man Award as the league’s best player in a reserve role, the NBL announced today.
Clarke becomes the third Hawks player to win the award, joining Adris Deleon (2013) and Kevin Tiggs (2014).
To be eligible for the Best Sixth Man Award, players had to have come off the bench in more games than they started.
Each club nominated one player for the Award with the Head Coach, one Assistant Coach and the Team Captain then voting in a 3-2-1 format (3 votes being indicative of the most deserving). Voters were not allowed to vote for players from their own team.
Clarke, who was named NBL MVP in 2014, received a total of 46 votes to win the Award.
Clarke came off the bench in 18 of his 28 appearances and finished the season averaging 17.4 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.1 steals per game. He scored in double-figures in all but one game this season and led Illawarra in scoring as a reserve 11 times.
Assigned to a reserve role midway through the season, the 183cm guard quickly found his rhythm and established himself as Illawarra’s scoring punch off the bench. It’s a role he has grown accustomed to, having played as a reserve for Germany’s Telekom Baskets Bonn in 2015-16.
In his 10 games a starter, Clarke averaged 13.7 points per game on 39.5 percent shooting from the field and 31.7 percent from three-point range. Those numbers increased dramatically as a reserve, with Clarke averaging 19.3 points on 50.8 percent shooting from the field and 43.2 percent from deep in his 18 games off the bench.
Clarke will now turn his attention to the upcoming Swisse NBL Finals, with his Illawarra Hawks set to battle the Adelaide 36ers in a best-of-three semi-final series. Game one tips off at 7:30pm (AEDT) on Thursday 16 February at Titanium Security Arena in Adelaide.
All-Time NBL Best Sixth Man Award
1996 – Mike McKay, Brisbane Bullets
1997 – Ben Pepper, Newcastle Falcons
1998 – Jason Smith, South East Melbourne Magic
1999 – Bruce Bolden, West Sydney Razorbacks
2000 – Ben Knight, Townsville Crocodiles
2001 – Chris Anstey, Victoria Titans
2002 – Jamahl Mosely, Victoria Titans
2003 – Stephen Black, Perth Wildcats
2004 – Darryl McDonald, Melbourne Tigers
2005 – Brad Newley, Townsville Crocodiles
2006 – Stephen Hoare, Melbourne Tigers
2007 – Stephen Hoare, Melbourne Tigers
2008 – Dontaye Draper, Sydney Kings
2009 – Phill Jones, New Zealand Breakers
2010 – Erron Maxey, Gold Coast Blaze
2011 – Kevin Braswell, New Zealand Breakers
2012 – Jesse Wagstaff, Perth Wildcats
2013 – Adris Deleon, Wollongong Hawks
2014 – Kevin Tiggs, Wollongong Hawks
2015 – Cameron Tragardh, Cairns Taipans
2016 – Hakim Warrick, Melbourne United
2017 – Rotnei Clarke, Illawarra Hawks