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Each BBAL Team’s 2023 Most Valuable Player

With the end of the regular season wrapping up, end of the season awards will soon be announced. However, I feel that it’s important to not only highlight the league’s MVP, but also each team’s most valuable player.

With that being said, I complied what I believe is each team’s MVP. Whether it was their impact in the scoring column, on the defensive side, or just being a vocal leader to the squad, here are my picks for each team.

(DISCLAIMER: I’m talking about VALUE in this post, not skill. So, remember that as you read through this post.)

8 Balls – Luke Pierson

With all due respect to Ross Conway, I’m giving the 8Ball’s MVP to Luke Pierson.

In his first year in the BBAL, Pierson suited up for every single game and quickly climbed the ladder as one of the best two-way players in the league. He nearly averaged a double-double with points and rebounds and was a pest on defense where he led the team in steals and blocks with 10 and 4, respectively.

In a season where the 8Balls were without their MVP to start the season, Pierson provided a much-needed spark that allowed the team to gain an identity and remain competitive despite the loss of such a star player.

Bullies – Marqel Wansley

Marqel Wansley is the MVP of the league, so it’s no question that he is the most valuable player on the Bullies.

Qel only lost one of four games he was in, but when he did play, he was a spectacle for all fans at the Sport Court. He finished the summer averaging 27.0 PPG, 4.5 APG, 6.0 RPG, 2.5 APG, and shot 50% from the field and 40% from deep. Just insane numbers for his first season in the league. He could’ve shot 50/40/90, but with just 11 free throw attempts, he just didn’t have the opportunity to bump those numbers up.

Despite not being there every week, Qel brought a different attitude and the old swagger of the Bullies that everyone in the league loves hates. When all the drama, and losing, haunted the Bullies early in the season, Marqel took it upon himself to will the Bullies into one of the most dangerous teams in the league. When Mr. MJM steps on the court, the Bullies are a force to be reckoned with and because of that, he is the Bullies MVP.

Cherrypickers – KJ Brownlee

Now, this pick was tough, but at the end of the day, I’m giving it to KJ Brownlee. Brownlee was the ONLY Cherrypickers player to play all seven games for the squad. In all honesty, sometimes the most value is availability, but Brownlee was more than just substitution piece for the ‘Pickers.

Through those games, he averaged 12.3 PPG and 5.1 RPG, but where he was a true threat was beyond the arc. On his 32 attempts, Brownlee made 41 percent of them, making him one of the best three-point marksman in the league. He also led the team in blocks with three.

Do not get me wrong, you could argue that Devonne Pinkard or John John Gillespie could be a candidate, but Brownlee was a crucial reason why the Cherrypickers kept winning week-in and week-out, and ultimately, clinched the second seed in the team’s first ever season in the league.

Dragons – Ricky Cruz

This Dragons team was unlike any other years as they were riddled with drama and losing throughout the regular season. However, their only positive came when Jeb Besecker traded away Cole Portz for Ricky Cruz.

Cruz kept the Dragons competitive and put on a clinic whenever he stepped on the court. He averaged a team-high 24.0 PPG (nearly doubling the second-best scorer) and collected 6.6 boards. More importantly, this team would have been a repeat of the 2022 Gremlins if it weren’t for Cruz.

Gremlins – Ajani Simmons

Now, Ajani Simmons wasn’t the leading scorer for the Gremlins, statistically, he wasn’t the best defender either, and he wasn’t even drafted by the team to start the season (he was traded from the Titans); however, he brought something to the Gremlins that was severely lacking last season: energy and heart.

Whether he was on or off the court, Ajani was directing and hyping up his team from start to finish. Dare I say, he made every Gremlins game exciting to watch with just his presence. Sure Makai Ortiz-Gray had another MVP-esque season and Elijah Terry became the perfect Robin alongside Makai, but Ajani just completely changed the vibe, attitude, and more importantly, record to the Gremlins that just makes me pick him as the MVP.

Since I mentioned everyone’s stats so far, here was Ajani’s: 14.4 PPG, 2.7 APG, and 3.4 RPG. He had the most assists on the team, collected eight steals, and was the best free throw shooter as well.

Huskies – Timmy Edwards

I give credit to Justin Baker and Jordan Tyson for showing up to every single game, but Timmy Edwards is arguably the best scorer this league has ever seen.

Despite missing a game, Edwards led the league in scoring as he averaged 26.0 PPG. Even more so, I believe he dunked the ball at least once every week. He also shot the ball efficiently as he made 64% of his shots. Along with that, he averaged 7.2 RPG and stole the ball a total of 10 times.

Edwards spearheads the best trio in the league of Eli Washington and Tyson, and as long as he is on the court, this Huskies team is a force to be reckoned with.

Lanc Show – Jack Engle

This might be the easiest MVP pick out of any team in the league. Although Lanc Show struggled with team attendance all season long, Jack Engle continued to be a killer whenever he decided to show up.

He finished the year averaging 20.2 PPG, 4.0 RPG, and 1.8 SPG. He led his team with 17 assists which was 11 more than the second highest player in that category. He was also highly efficient from everywhere on the court as he shot 45% from the field, 39% from deep, and 84% from the charity stripe.

Even though the Lanc Show struggled with attendance, they have a franchise cornerstone in Jack to build on through many seasons to come.

Titans – Antanee Pinkard

The Titans only won two games this season and both games came on the shoulders of Antanee Pinkard.

Whether it was last second free throws or a dominating performance against the best team in the league, there’s no doubt that Antanee was the most valuable player for the Titans. Pinkard finished the season with 22.3 PPG and 7.5 RPG. As far as averages go, he led the team in steals, too. However, the biggest value Pinkard brought to the team was his collegiate experience as he was able to completely takeover games whenever he saw fit.

With the Titans getting hot at the right time, Ant Man may be able to lead his team on an historic run in the playoffs.

Tropics – Ronnie Swatner

This Tropics team was a disappointment; however, when your team’s best player goes down with an injury, it’s bound to happen.

Now, I could give this award to Brad Atkinson who led the team in points, rebounds, and assists, but I’m going to switch it up. Why? Because I can.

That is why I am giving the Tropics’ MVP to Ronnie Swatner.

Swatner was the only player to play all seven games for the Tropics, and honestly spearheaded the “never give up” mantra that I was harping on about the Tropics on my last blog post. He only averaged 10.9 PPG and 3.4 RPG, but he was the best shooter in the league. With a minimum of 30 attempts, Swatner had the highest percentage of 53% from beyond the arc. That’s crazy. I mean, the whole reason why the Tropics were competitive was because of their three-point shooting and Swatner was the BEST.

Sure, Brad is the best player, but I wanted to give some love to Ronnie. Besides, Brad is mean to me.

Woodpeckers – Devin Atkinson

There is no doubt that Devin Atkinson is the Woodpeckers’ MVP.

He led the team in scoring as he averaged 21.6 PPG, led in assists with 5.6 per game, led in steals with nine total, and had only four less rebounds than Elijah Eberly as he finished averaging 11.0 boards per game.

Devin is the fearless leader of the Woodpeckers and isn’t afraid to take over a game in crunch time, especially if an opposing player pisses him off. Devin may not win an MVP this regular season, but he may just be the face of the BBAL as he continues to dominate each and every season.

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