Sport

Award for Gators’ big V

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June 12, 2018

Shepparton Gators import Cameron Vines was named the Big V’s most outstanding player in May, with his coach Leigh Bathman receiving the nod as best coach in the same period.

The Big V competition has recognised Shepparton Gators’ sensational start to the season.

Leigh Bathman was named coach of the month for May and import Cameron Vines player of the month.

The Gators have lost just one game for the season across 14 matches and went unbeaten last month.

With five wins coming against some of the best sides in the competition, Vines scored 135 points at an average of 27 for the month.

The American import has played in Spain and Germany and is dominating the Big V’s division one, but Vines said he had just been the benefactor from a strong patch of play from his side.

‘‘It was great to get the honour, but more than anything it was one of those situations where anyone in the team could have gotten it each week or each month,’’ he said.

‘‘I really thank my teammates more than anything, I’ve been in situations in previous teams in other countries where an American is doing pretty well and their ego comes into play where they try and overshadow, but with our team that never happens.

‘‘When someone’s doing well, we just try and encourage them to keep going because that’s important.’’

The Gators’ standing on top of the table was not what Vines expected as Bathman has pulled together a strong side following big roster changes in the off-season.

‘‘Matt (Bartlett), our veteran, took a year off, so only one or two guys played the previous year and we expected to have some miscues and chemistry problems, but looking at this point of time it’s amazing that we’ve lost only one game and everyone’s coming together great,’’ Vines said.

Vines said his son Nathan and partner Alexus were enjoying their time in Shepparton, but the import has not made a decision on his future.

‘‘I told myself coming into this season I wasn’t going to set expectations. I just wanted to focus on this season and who I am as a player, so I haven’t thought beyond this season,’’ he said.

Bathman praised Vines’ influence, with the coach’s effort rewarded with the league acknowledgement.

‘‘My job is pretty easy, I just have to put the team in the right position and let them showcase their skills,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s been a bit tough with some of the injuries and who’s on the floor each week.

‘‘He’s got a good motor, he can log big minutes and his work rate is phenomenal, what we were looking for (in an import) was a guy that was flexible and we told him before the season he’d be playing on the opposition’s best player each week.’’

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