The National Basketball League wishes to announce the All-NBL First Team for the 2014/15 season with the line-up all coming from different clubs.
Most Valuable Player Brian Conklin of the Crocodiles has already been confirmed as centre while Brock Motum of the Adelaide 36ers, Josh Childress of the Sydney Kings, Cedric Jackson of the New Zealand Breakers and Scottie Wilbekin of the Cairns Taipans form the rest of the team.
Conklin had a stunning second season with the Crocodiles and after receiving the NBL's MVP award, was named as All-NBL First Team centre. The 25-year-old from Eugene, Oregon who attended college at St. Louis and started his career overseas in New Zealand, averaged 18.9 points and 6.4 rebounds for the 2014/15 season while shooting an outstanding 50.7 per cent from the field.
Conklin is joined in the front court by Adelaide's Motum who came aboard the 36ers five games into the season after only narrowly missing out on earning a full NBA contract with the Utah Jazz. Motum has had a remarkable last 12 months having represented the Australian Boomers at the FIBA World Cup, played in the NBA Summer League and then the NBA's pre-season before joining the Sixers ahead of his NBL debut on November 9 against Sydney.
He scored 28 points, but his first seven games were a rollercoaster ride personally and disastrous team-wise with each of them being losses. However, Motum then found some dominant form and over the next 13 games he averaged 21.4 points and 8.2 rebounds.
Adelaide won 12 of those 13 games and finished the regular season on a 10-game winning streak to storm into the Finals and Motum was a major reason for that.
In terms of centres, Townsville's Mickell Gladness, Cairns' Matt Burston, Melbourne's Daniel Kickert, New Zealand's Ekene Ibekwe and Perth's Matt Knight were in the hunt.
Power forwards including Adelaide's Anthony Petrie, Cairns' Tragardh and Alex Loughton, Melbourne's Mark Worthington and New Zealand's Mika Vukona were also in the mix, but in the end both Conklin and Motum were deemed the best two bigs in the NBL this season.
Childress arrived at the Sydney Kings at the start of the season likely as the best credentialed NBL recruit in history. In his 18 games before a season-ending injury he showed just exactly how much of a dominant all-round presence he could be. The 31-year-old veteran of 391 NBA games averaged 21.1 points, 9.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists while shooting 51.1 per cent from the field, and when he was firing the Kings were a genuine Finals threat.
Childress' main competition in the small forward spot was from the NBL's Most Improved Player Todd Blanchfield from the Crocs along with New Zealand's Tom Abercrombie and Perth's DeAndre Daniels.
Wilbekin and Jackson were named to the two guard spots and it is no coincidence that the two stars have led their teams into the Grand Final.
Wilbekin arrived at the Taipans fresh off an outstanding college career at the University of Florida and has proven himself to be a match-winner in the NBL capable of delivering big plays under pressure at both ends of the floor.
It started with 50 points, eight rebounds and nine assists in his first two NBL appearances in wins over Adelaide and Melbourne, and then when he led Cairns to a huge win in New Zealand with 24 points, nine assists and six boards, it became obvious that he was the real deal.
The 21-year-old went on to average 15.1 points, 4.3 assists and 3.3 rebounds, and based on his form in the NBL on the back of his college career, he could very well end up in the NBA before long.
Jackson joins Wilbekin in the back court of the All-NBL First Team and his importance to the Breakers can be summarised by the fact that with him they won Championships in 2012 and 2013, without him in 2014 they missed the Finals and now with him they are back in the Grand Final.
Jackson won the NBL MVP award in his second Championship-winning season in New Zealand in 2013, and now after a season in Slovenia he returned and has shown why he is one of the very best players in the league, and capable of contributing in all areas.
The 29-year-old ended up averaging 14.6 points, 6.0 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 2.1 steals, and even more importantly made his teammates better through his presence and leadership.
Other guards in the running to claim a spot included Adelaide's Jamar Wilson, New Zealand's Corey Webster and Melbourne's Jordan McRae, but it's hard to go past Wilbekin and Jackson for leading their teams into the Grand Final.
ALL-NBL FIRST TEAM
Cedric Jackson (New Zealand Breakers)
Scottie Wilbekin (Cairns Taipans)
Josh Childress (Sydney Kings)
Brock Motum (Adelaide 36ers)
Brian Conklin (Townsville Crocodiles)
ALL-NBL SECOND TEAM
Jamar Wilson (Adelaide 36ers)
Jordan McRae (Melbourne united)
Todd Blanchfield (Townsville Crocodiles)
Ekene Ibekwe (New Zealand Breakers)
Matt Knight (Perth Wildcats)