He plays the most minutes, scores the most points and maintains a high energy level to be an elite-level defender.
All-Star forward Michael Parker of the Rizing Fukuoka is the key ingredient in the Western Conference team’s recipe for success.
Averaging 28.5 points, 12.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.5 steals in eight March games, Parker maintained his level of excellence as his club won six of eight games.
Parker is The Japan Times’ Offensive Player of the Month for March.
He is, of course, a worthy candidate for the league’s 2009-10 MVP award. His season scoring average (26.9) is No. 1, as are his total minutes (1,688), and steals (2.8).
Parker, who led the league in scoring last season (26.8 ppg), is on pace to repeat the feat this season. If he pulls it off, he would join ex-Tokyo Apache guard John “Helicopter” Humphrey as a two-time scoring champion.
Defensive accolade: Sendai 89ers center Chris Holm is the team’s anchor in the middle.
His imposing size (212 cm) and weight (120 cm) give the necessary physical attributes to be a natural super-sized pest to opponents.
While the 89ers were collecting victory after victory in February and March — a 10-game streak was snapped last Friday by the Tokyo Apache — Holm played at a top-notch level on defense, including during the team’s 5-1 March.
Holm is The Japan Times’ Defensive Player of the Month for March.
During the past month, Holm worked tirelessly in the paint, picked up 95 defensive rebounds, nine or more defensive boards in each of those games. He effectively halted dozens of second-chance opportunities for opponents. He is the league’s No. 2 rebounder (13.4).
With active hands, quick feet, an alert mind and sharp instincts, Holm, a University of Vermont alum, also put forth an exceptional effort in March in other ways on defense. His 11 steals and eight blocked shots serve as a bold reminder that he can help his club in a number of ways on defense.
Gary Hamilton, Shiga Lakestars’ starting power forward, also garnered attention for the March award. He had four games with 10 or more defensive rebounds en route to four double-doubles in the month.
He had two 19-rebound efforts and a 17-rebound outing during the month, evidence of his hard work at both ends of the floor.