National League

Apr 26 2024

National League ‘Player and Coach of the Year’ awards announced for the 2023/24 season

Basketball Ireland are pleased to announce the ‘Player and Coach of the Year’ awards for the 2023/24 season. 

Unsurprisingly, it's Griffith College Éanna who dominate the Super League awards. Josh Wilson has been named 'Player of the Year', while Darren McGovern scoops 'Coach of the Year' honours. Wilson showed all his on court leadership qualities as the South Dublin side won their first ever league crown at the National Basketball Arena earlier this month. He averaged 15.9 ppg, 6.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists this year, shooting 70% from the free-throw line in the process and came up big in crucial moments during their playoff run.

McGovern led his team to a 15-4 record and second place in the North Conference for a second consecutive season, before wins against Garvey's Tralee Warriors, Maree BC and Pyrobel Killester in the playoffs brought the championship to Griffith College Éanna for the first time in their history. 

Rapolas Buivydas first season back with Garvey's Tralee Warriors ends with him being named 'Young Player of the Year' in the Super League. Buivydas played 18 games averaging 11 points, 6 boards and 1.3 assists, earning his first senior international caps for his performances. A season ending injury to team-mate Ryan Leonard in January thrust him further into the spotlight in Tralee and he stood up to that extra responsibility throughout the remainder of the campaign. 

Josh Wilson of Griffith College Éanna won the Super League 'Player of the Year'.

Double winners UCD Marian pick up two of the three honours in the Division One. Jonathan Jean is named ‘Player of the Year’, having been a crucial element in both their promotion campaign and an Presidents’ Cup win since his return to the club in January. Jean had a 34 point double-double in UCD Marian's 94-81 win over Moy Tolka Rovers in the promotion playoff and finished 30th in scoring in the Division One, despite featuring in just 11 games.

Elijah Faapito of Moy Tolka Rovers has been awarded ‘Young Player of the Year’. He was among the standout performers in an 13-9 team narrowly missed out on promotion to the Super League. The Ireland U20 international checked into 20 games during the league season, averaging 14.5 points and 3 assists while shooting 47.5% from beyond the arc. 

Ioannis Liapakis takes the coaching gong having led UCD Marian back to the Super League at the first attempt. The Dubliners finished the regular season with a league best 15-4 record and top spot in the North Conference, before embarking on a dominant playoff run including wins against Scotts Lakers Killarney, SETU Carlow and Moy Tolka Rovers by an average of 12 points. They had previously captured the Presidents’ Cup in January with a 13- point win against Limerick Sport Eagles at the National Basketball Arena.

UCD Marian head coach Ioannis Liapakis scooped the Division One Coach of the Year. 

Irish players pick up both the 'Player and Young Player of the Year' awards in the Super League. Claire Melia wins her second Player of the Year award following a season in which she helped lead Pyrobel Killester to a double, including a first Super League title in two decades. Most recently she took MVP honours in their Champions Trophy win over SETU Waterford Wildcats, posting a ridiculous stat line of 12 points, 19 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 blocks and 2 steals. Throughout the season though she proved to be a swiss army knife for head coach Mark Grennell, scoring and facilitating when her team needed her most. 

Sarah Hickey of SETU Waterford Wildcats is named 'Young Player of the Year' for a third successive season, as the club took another leap forward with a young up and coming group of players. A sustained title challenge coupled with a semi-final appearance in the Paudie O'Connor Cup and a final in the Champions Trophy layed down a marker for the coming season. Hickey was a central figure for head coach Tommy O'Mahony, contributing 12.4 points and 6.8 rebounds in her usual all action style. She also was a leading player for her mother Jillian Hayes as they took the U20 Women's National Cup in January. 

It won't be a shock that Pyrobel Killester head coach Mark Grennell has been named Super League ‘Coach of the Year’. Grennell gelled a stacked squad of players together into a more formidable force with each passing week of the season, bouncing back from an exit in the last four of the Paudie O'Connor Cup to a 17-3 record in the league and a historic tiebreaker win over FloMAX Liffey Celtics to seal the Super League.  They also won the Champions Trophy dispatching Gurranabraher Credit Union Brunell by 6 points and SETU Waterford Wildcats by 25 points live on TG4 in April. 

Sarah Hickey celebrates with the U20 Women's National Cup for SETU Waterford Wildcats. 

Three teams are celebrating honours in the Division One. Jensen Caretti of iSecure Swords Thunder is the 'Player of the Year.' Caretti finished second in scoring in all competitions this year with 425 points, also picking up the MVP award in the club's Division One League Trophy win over St. Pauls Killarney, forming an impressive connection with Jasmine Walker that catipulted the club from second last to first in the North Conference of the league in 2024. 

 The ‘Young Player of the Year’ gong goes to Emma Tolan of McEvoy’s Cavan Eagles, following in the footsteps of her sister Ciara, who picked up the award a year ago. The teenager featured in 16 games for the 10-6 North Conference side under Meave Coleman. Tolan averaged 11.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game this campaign and looks set for a growing role alongside her sisters in Cavan in the coming years.

Jensen Caretti dribbles by Leah McMahon in the Women's Division One Final at the National Basketball Arena. 

James Fleming is given the nod as Division One ‘Coach of the Year’, guiding St. Pauls Killarney to an almost flawless 15-1 record in the regular season, landing them a South Conference, before a promotion playoff success against iSecure Swords Thunder at the National Basketball Arena and a runners up spot in the aforementioned Division One League Trophy. Fleming will now have the challenge of establishing his team as a mainstay of the Super League during the 2024/25 season. 

National League Award Winners Men’s Super League:

Player of the Year – Josh Wilson (Griffith College Éanna)

Young Player of the Year – Rapolas Buivydas (Garvey's Tralee Warriors)

Coach of the Year – Darren McGovern (Griffith College Éanna) Men’s Division 1:

Player of the Year – Jonathan Jean (UCD Marian)

Young Player of the Year – Elijah Faapito (Moy Tolka Rovers)

Coach of the Year – Ioannis Liapakis (UCD Marian) Women’s Super League:  

Player of the Year – Claire Melia (Pryobel Killester)

Young Player of the Year – Sarah Hickey (Waterford Wildcats)

Coach of the Year – Mark Grennell (Pryobel Killester) Women’s Division 1: 

Player of the Year – Jensen Caretti (iSecure Swords Thunder)

Young Player of the Year – Emma Tolan (McEvoy’s Cavan Eagles)

Coach of the Year – James Fleming (St. Pauls Killarney)