Fazekas named NBL MVP

by Kaz Nagatsuka

Staff Writer

Toshiba Brave Thunders center Nick Fazekas was voted the NBL’s Most Valuable Player for the 2013-14 regular season, the league announced on Thursday.

The 210-cm Fazekas led the 12-team league with 26.4 points and 13.5 rebounds per game for the Brave Thunders, who had an NBL-best 46-8 record. His season-high point total was 47, achieved in a Jan. 25 game against the Wakayama Trians.

“It feels good,” Fazekas, who is in his second year with Toshiba, told the Japan Times. “It’s nice that I got the recognition, but also that Toshiba and the team got the recognition. There’s no winning the MVP without your teammates and the staff, so the credit goes to them.

“We had a great regular season and hope to ride that into the playoffs.”

Fazekas, 28, is the first player from Toshiba to be named MVP since Tom Kleinschmidt, a DePaul University product, during the 2004-05 campaign.

The Aisin SeaHorses’ J.R. Sakuragi won the award the previous three seasons in the JBL, the predecessor of the NBL.

The NBL also revealed the members of its all-league team: Fazekas and Brave Thunder teammate, guard Naoto Tsuji, a pair of Trians in forwards Takuya Kawamura and Michael Parker, and former NBA guard Yuta Tabuse of the Link Tochigi Brex.

While Fazekas guided Toshiba to the top seed in the Eastern Conference, Parker led Wakayama to the West’s best record (41-13) with his all-around skills.

The ex-bj-league player finished in the top three in five individual categories, including points (23.2, third), rebounds (12.5, second), field-goal percentage (62.1, first), steals (2.0, first) and blocks (2.1, second).

Parker’s teammate Kawamura, who won multiple scoring titles in the JBL, was the highest-scoring Japanese player with 19.2 points (eighth), and was third in assists (5.1) behind Tabuse (5.9).

Tsuji, a second-year NBL player, was the runnerup in NBL 3-point percentage (46.0).

The players will officially receive their awards before Game 1 of the NBL Finals at Yoyogi National Gymnasium No. 2 on May 21.