April 9, 2015
ST. LOUIS – Justin Bocot of the Bloomington Flex has been named the 2015 Midwest Professional Basketball Association Most Valuable Player, following a vote of the league’s coaches and media relations/broadcasting staff.
Bocot was the league’s top scorer with a 26.1 per-game average, and he set several Flex franchise season and career scoring records during the MPBA’s inaugural campaign.
“I’m blessed, that’s all I can say,” said Bocot. “I have a coach and a team that is 100% behind me, and I could not get an individual award without them. But winning a championship is more important, and I’ll help my team any way possible, whether I score or not,” Bocot said.
Al Grushkin of the St. Louis RiverSharks was voted the league’s Coach of the Year. Grushkin’s team finished tied atop the MPBA standings at 16-4 despite losing four players during the season to either foreign leagues or the NBA D-League.
“I’m really grateful and honored to receive this award in this inaugural season of the MPBA,” said Grushkin. “As they say, good players make good coaches, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have gotten to coach some very high-level guys who understand the meaning of ‘team,’” Grushkin said.
Darius Smith of the Chicago Force was named Defensive Player of the Year. Smith led the MPBA with 59 steals – more than 20 better than the player in second place.
The Champaign Swarm’s Aaron Weaver earned Sixth Man of the Year in the voting. Weaver averaged 20.7 points and 4.8 rebounds per game coming off the bench in 16 of the Swarm’s 20 games.
The following players were voted First Team All-MPBA: Justin Bocot, Bloomington Flex (unanimous selection); Jerrold Brooks, St. Louis RiverSharks; Anthony Slack, Bloomington Flex (unanimous selection), Keith DeWitt, St. Louis RiverSharks; Marcus Goode, St. Louis RiverSharks.
The All-MPBA Second Team is comprised of the following players: Nate Fuqua, Windy City Groove; Tarvin Gaines, Gateway Steam; Aaron Weaver, Champaign Swarm; Derrick McDonald, Chicago Force; Matt Salley, Bloomington Flex; Lavante Douglas, Windy City Groove.
Finally, the MPBA All-Defensive Team: Darius Smith, Chicago Force (unanimous selection); Nate Fuqua, Windy City Groove; Terry Evans, St. Louis RiverSharks; Keith DeWitt, St. Louis RiverSharks; Anthony Slack, Bloomington Flex; Marcus Goode, St. Louis RiverSharks.
“I’d like to congratulate all of our award winners,” said C. Edward “Ed” Schumer, Commissioner of the MPBA. “The level of play and coaching was fantastic, especially considering we were a first-year league. Having more than half a dozen guys move on to higher-level leagues is a testament to the talented players we have, as well as the coaching they received while they were here,” Schumer said.