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Basketball MVP honors go to Ryukyuユs Jeff Newton

Date Posted: 2009-05-07

It wasnユt really a surprise, but the Ryukyu Golden Kings are celebrating the announcement that center Jeff Newton is the Basketball League Japanユs Most Valuable Player for 2008-2009.
The team knew that Newton, who joined Okinawa in the off season and led the two-year-old expansion club to a 41-11 season, was championship material. Newton, who was instrumental in leading his former team, the Osaka Evessa, to three championships, says, at least, メI was so surprised when I heard that news.モ The shy Newton gave credit to the team, noting メI think itユs the result because we played every game just for the teamユs win.モ
Newton, whoユs been playing in Asia since starring at Indiana University, was also named to the 2008-2009 Best Five team. メThe awards are not mine,モ he said, メbut also to every member of my Golden Kings team, and also to our supporters.モ Newtonユs team-high 17.9 points average was 10th in the league, while his average of 13.1 rebounds made him third in the league.
Heユs also credited with aiding with 79 blocked shots and 47 steals during his team-high 1,844 minutes on the court during the season. Before Newtonユs arrival last summer, Okinawa was 10-34 in its inaugural season.
Newton wasnユt the only one honored by Commissioner Toshimitsu Kawachi, the 12 head coaches and players themselves, who cast votes for MVP and other individual awards, as well as the Best Five Team. Joining him on the Best Five Team is point guard Naoto Takushi, while Shigeyuki Kinjo won the Most Improved Player of the Season award. Anthony McHenry won the Award of the Commissioner, while the Golden Kings coach, Dai Oketani, won Best Head Coach award. Even the fans were winners, with Golden Kings boosters being given the Best Booster Award.
Rounding out the Best Five team are Michael Gardener, point guard with the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix, power forward Lynn Washington of the Osaka Evessa, and Bobby St. Preux, forward for the Sendai 89ers.

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