Sam Dekker of the London Lions has won the Molten BBL Player of the Year award, following a vote from BBL head coaches and captains where he was near-unanimously among their top three picks and was first for two-thirds of eligible voters.
The 6’9″ Wisconsin native forward has been a talisman for the BBL Championship and BBL Cup double winners, as Lions went 32-4 in league play to pick up the regular season title for the first time since 2019 and second time in their history.
Dekker joined in the summer ahead of Lions’ domestic charge and EuroCup tilt, having previously been a first round NBA Draft pick of the Houston Rockets and playing over 200 NBA games, also featuring for the LA Clippers and Washington Wizards.
Averaging 17.1 points per game he was the league’s sixth leading scorer and most efficient interior scorer at 67.1% accuracy, adding 5.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists in under 25 minutes per outing. He was the second leading scorer in the EuroCup with 18.2 points per game as London became the first British team in history to make the Play-offs of that competition.
His crowning achievement to this point was in their biggest game of the season, as he was awarded MVP of the BBL Cup Final in front of a sell-out crowd at Utilita Arena in Birmingham, live on Sky Sports, as he scored 22 points on 4-8 (50%) three-point shooting and grabbed nine rebounds. Characteristically it was the timing of his scores that proved decisive after Lions led throughout as he hit a trio of first half three-pointers, before a 10-0 start to the fourth saw Leicester Riders come storming back until Dekker made consecutive scores to halt their momentum, among eight points and three boards in the fourth quarter.
Through the season he had big performances in big games, posting his only double-double of the campaign in their first win over defending champions, Leicester, with 18 points, 11 rebounds and six assists in that September game, followed by 21 and 18 points in two subsequent meetings with Riders.
As one of the highest profile signings in BBL history, Dekker joins an illustrious list of BBL stars to have won this award in the past, with no player having won it more than twice and Rahmon Fletcher being the only former MVP currently active in the league. Despite demonstrating some clear ‘point forward’ tendencies this season, amazingly Dekker is the first non-point guard to win this award since Charles Smith in 2015.
A full record of votes can be found below:
|Voter||First Pick||Second Pick||Third Pick|
|Andreas Kapoulas (Bristol Coach)||Tajh Green||Sam Dekker||David Sloan|
|Mike Miller (Bristol Captain)||Sam Dekker||Javion Hamlet||David Sloan|
|Gareth Murray (Caledonia Coach)||Sam Dekker||Kimbal Mackenzie||Aaron Best|
|Jonny Bunyan (Caledonia Captain)||VJ King||Sam Dekker||Tajh Green|
|Ben Thomas (Cheshire Coach)||Sam Dekker||VJ King||Zach Jackson|
|Larry Austin Jr (Cheshire Captain)||VJ King||Sam Dekker||Tajh Green|
|Rob Paternostro (Leicester Coach)||Sam Dekker||VJ King||Tajh Green|
|Darien Nelson-Henry (Leicester Captain)||Tajh Green||VJ King||Sam Dekker|
|Ryan Schmidt (London Coach)||VJ King||David Sloan||Marc Loving|
|Sam Dekker (London Captain)||Tajh Green||Larry Austin Jr||Javion Hamlet|
|Vince Macaulay (Manchester Coach)||VJ King||Sam Dekker||David Sloan|
|Rahmon Fletcher (Manchester Captain)||VJ King||Marc Loving||David Sloan|
|Marc Steutel (Newcastle Coach)||Sam Dekker||Zach Jackson||VJ King|
|Darius Defoe (Newcastle Captain)||Sam Dekker||Marc Loving||Rahmon Fletcher|
|Paul James (Plymouth Coach)||Sam Dekker||VJ King||David Sloan|
|Elvisi Dusha (Plymouth Captain)||Sam Dekker||VJ King||David Sloan|
|Atiba Lyons (Sheffield Coach)||Sam Dekker||VJ King||Zach Jackson|
|Rodney Glasgow Jr (Sheffield Captain)||Sam Dekker||VJ King||Zach Jackson|
|Lloyd Gardner (Surrey Coach)||VJ King||Zach Jackson||Luke Nelson|
|Tayo Ogedengbe (Surrey Captain)||Sam Dekker||VJ King||David Sloan|