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Throwdown rival backs pair of United stars for NBL awards

14 Feb
5 mins read

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Melbourne United Media

SEM Phoenix star believes both Shea Ili and Ian Clark should claim awards ahead of the Playoffs

Heading into the final round of the NBL24 regular season, one of Melbourne United’s fiercest rivals has called for a pair of MU stars to take home awards at the league’s Andrew Gaze MVP Awards Night.

Speaking on NBL Overtime, South East Melbourne Phoenix big man Alan Williams praised the efforts of both Shea Ili  and Ian Clark, who he believes should win the Defensive Player of the Year and Best Sixth Man awards respectively.

Touching on Ili’s impact first, Williams broke down why the dynamic kiwi is so effective at the defensive end.

“Anyone that’s watched the NBL this season has seen how dominant the Melbourne United defence has been, and the head of that snake is Shea Ili.

“He picks up full court, is diving on loose balls all the time, finds ways in little niches that he has is his defensive schemes - it’s his timing, it’s his understanding of the game.

“He does it all defensively and that’s why he’s the best defender in this league.”

This comes just days after teammate Jo Lual-Acuil Jr said it was ‘criminal’ that Ili was yet to claim the Damian Martin trophy.

Following this, Williams flew the flag for import guard Ian Clark.

“I’ve got to go with my fellow former NBA player in Ian Clark (for the Best Sixth Man award),”

“Coming off the bench for the best team in the league, he’s just been very special. Any time there’s a lull or there’s a couple of possessions where something’s not going for Melbourne United, they find a way to get him the ball and he makes something happen.

“Everything he brings to that team, his leadership and experience, is really great.”

The Andrew Gaze MVP Awards Night will take place on Monday 19 February, following the final round of the regular season.

First, United will head on the road to face the Cairns Taipans on Friday night from 7:30pm before returning home on Sunday for a matchup with the Illawarra Hawks at 2pm.

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