The winners of the 2022 WABL Annual Awards have been announced and were recognised on WABL Grand Final day.
All candidates were nominated by their Association. The chosen winners are listed below.
From the Willetton Tigers, Joshua Ibukunoluwa was named Male WABL Player of the Year. The 6’9″ forward was a key contributor for the Under 18 Boys Championship team, averaging 22 points per game and helping them reach the grand final and win the title with Grand Final MVP honours. He also had the opportunity to play a handful of games for the Tigers’ WABL Championship Men’s team and made his debut in the NBL1 West, playing 12 games as a 16-year-old. He was also a leader on the WA U18 Metro team at the national championships in April and earned the 2022 BWA High Performance Male Athlete of the Year.
From the Mandurah Magic, Sydney Meares was named Female WABL Player of the Year. The 180cm guard was a key contributor for the Magic in Under 18 Girls Championship Division. She has had to shoulder a lot of the responsibility and has shown great character and loyalty to the Magic. Meares has proven consistently throughout her Junior Basketball journey that she is a dedicated athlete who shows great leadership and sportsmanship and constantly strives to improve her game. She is a great role model for younger female athletes and has also consistently made the WA Country State teams, including this year for the 2022 U18 Country girls team.
From the Cockburn Cougars, Tyrone Thwaites was named Male WABL Coach of the Year. In 2022, Thwaites guided the Cougars Under 18 Girls Championship team to an undefeated 20–0 record and championship victory in the grand final with an average winning margin of 37 points per game. He has juggled coaching the U18 Girls alongside the Cougars’ Championship Women’s side as well as the Cougars’ NBL1 West Women’s side. He is the guiding force for the Cougar Pride girls program which is a select program for girls progressing from Under 16s to NBL1 West.
From the Cockburn Cougars, Jess Van Schie was named Female WABL Coach of the Year. As coach of the Cougars Under 14 Boys Championship team, Van Schie has guided this group to the title and earned qualification to the U14 National Club Championships, marking Cockburn’s first female touring coach in 10 years. She prides herself on her weekly training sessions that promote leadership, with her coaching attributes ensuring each athlete became better individuals both on and off the court this season.
From the Warwick Senators, Ethan Lloyd was named WABL Referee of the Year. Lloyd’s consistent and outstanding high-level basketball officiating in 2022 led to him being nominated for this award. Lloyd expressed reliability, maturity and outstanding communication to players, coaches and other officials. He has continued to develop his skills through completing further accreditations through the Basketball WA referee qualification system and has been a member of the State Referee Development Program in 2022. The 2022 season saw Lloyd consistently officiate WABL Championship Men and Women and was rewarded with being selected to officiate the Championship Women’s grand final as well as the U14 Championship Girls grand final.
From the South West Slammers, Jeneen Divitini was named WABL Volunteer of the Year. A beloved member of the Slammers, Divitini takes a leading role in both the junior and senior programs of the club, with a few of her roles including arranging all preseason and regular season trainings and bookings, as well as supporting travelling families from as far away as Manjimup and Albany. She also volunteered to be team manager of the Slammers’ U16-3 Boys team of which she has no children playing in.
Congratulations to the each of the deserving winners.
Full list of award winners:
Male WABL Player of the Year – Joshua Ibukunoluwa (Willetton Tigers)
Female WABL Player of the Year – Sydney Meares (Mandurah Magic)
Male WABL Coach of the Year – Tyrone Thwaites (Cockburn Cougars)
Female WABL Coach of the Year – Jess Van Schie (Cockburn Cougars)
WABL Referee of the Year – Ethan Lloyd (Warwick Senators)
WABL Volunteer of the Year – Jeneen Divitini (South West Slammers)