The last BBL All-Star 5 of January includes the MVP from the BBL Cup Final – the first showpiece event of the season played out in front of a record crowd to end the month – but is led by a pair of London Lions after their BBL Championship win over the weekend.
Kylor Kelley – London Lions
London’s seven-footer, the league-leader in field goal percentage and blocked shots, makes the weekly team for the first time this season as Lions made it three straight wins and went through the century for the second game in a row, beating Plymouth City Patriots on the road. The former NBA G-League man had a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds, alongside a career-high six blocked shots, including the scores that started and finished an 8-3 third quarter run that put Lions up for good in an otherwise tight game.
Isaiah Reese – London Lions
Making his second All-Star 5 appearance of the campaign, but first since week two, Isaiah Reese also had a double-double in that game as Lions improved to a 5-2 league record. He’s third in the BBL in scoring and fifth in assists, and finished this one with 22 points, including 4-9 (44%) three-point shooting, and 13 assists. Lions had trailed for much of the first half and were still behind at the six minute mark of the third, but finished it 20-13 as Reese hit a trio of three-pointers for nine points and four assists in that decisive spell.
Hakeem Sylla – Thames Valley Cavaliers
The third-placed side in National Basketball League Division 1 have made it through to the BBL Trophy quarter-finals, where they will face Glenn Luss Glasgow Rocks, after that league’s leading rebounder, Hakeem Sylla, saw them past Hemel Storm with a double-double. He finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds – an amazing nine of which were at the offensive end – along with four steals, including two significant ‘and-one’ plays in the fourth quarter as Cavaliers came from behind to win it with a 27-17 final period, with Sylla grabbing an offensive board and putting it back, with the foul, to put his team ahead for good with three minutes to play.
Larry Austin – Cheshire Phoenix
Cheshire continued their good form with back-to-back wins on the road making it five in the last six games for them, with Austin’s performance in the first of those, a win at Plymouth, earning him weekly honours for the second time. He came from the bench to change this game, finishing with 16 points, seven rebounds, six steals and three assists, checking in after four minutes with his team behind and having an instant impact with eight points and three steals in the first quarter, with all three of those steals leading to scores as Phoenix had 22 points from turnovers – they finished the first 16-4 and stayed ahead thereafter.
Geno Crandall – Leicester Riders
Leicester Riders won the BBL Cup for the first time in eight years by beating Manchester Giants in front of a record crowd of around 10,000, and live on Sky Sports, at Utilita Arena Birmingham on Sunday, with the reigning league MVP taking over the game to add Cup Final MVP honours to his list of accolades. He scored 26 points, with six rebounds and five assists, including telling contributions as he scored 12 points in a decisive second stanza that Leicester won 30-8, followed by a steal and score to open the third to keep the momentum in Leicester’s favour. It is his seventh All-Star 5 appearance of the season, now two ahead of his opponent on the day, Tyrik Armstrong.
Off the bench: Kofi Josephs (Plymouth City Patriots), Legend Robertin (Surrey Scorchers), Rashad Hassan (Plymouth City Patriots), Stanley Davis Jr. (Surrey Scorchers), Taylor Johnson (Hemel Storm), Noah Dickerson (Cheshire Phoenix), AJ Roberts (Thames Valley Cavaliers).