Praise Egharevba of Nottingham Wildcats has been awarded the Molten WBBL Young Player of the Year award after averaging a double-double for the WBBL Championship campaign and helping Wildcats to a fifth-placed finish and the Play-off semi-finals.
The 18-year-old 6’3″ German national, who has represented her country at various age groups, now heads to Oklahoma State University to compete at the highest levels of college basketball in the USA, playing in the formidable Big 12 Conference.
In her third season competing with Wildcats at the WBBL level, she upped her production across the board and was one of just four players to average a double-double on the season by putting up 11 points and 12 rebounds per game, shooting 50% from the floor. She led the league in offensive rebounds with six per game – two clear of her nearest rival in that regard – and was third in total rebounds, while also being eighth among all players in field goal percentage and third in fouls drawn, proving to be a handful for opponents in the paint.
Her prowess on the offensive glass was particularly productive for her team, as the Wildcats were second in the WBBL in offensive rebounding and second-chance points, a big chunk of their offensive output as they were the third highest-scoring team in the league.
She finished the season with ten double-doubles and got stronger as the campaign went on with six double-doubles in her last nine games. That came at a crucial time from the start of April as Wildcats bounced back from ninth in the table, and outside of the Play-off spots, to shoot up the table and finish fifth before beating East Midlands rivals Leicester Riders in the Play-off quarter-finals.
That run started with a huge performance of 21 points and 20 rebounds in the victory over Oaklands Wolves, and was followed soon after with a first-half double-double on her way to 17 points and 20 boards as Wildcats surprisingly blew away title-contending Sevenoaks Suns to spark a run of five straight wins towards the end of the campaign.
From April onwards she averaged 13 points and 15 rebounds over the last nine games, also including 12 points and 12 boards in the big Play-off win over Leicester.
The award is voted for by WBBL Head Coaches, who pick their top three candidates, with Egharevba gaining the top vote from eight of the twelve eligible coaches to take the award ahead of Holly Winterburn of the London Lions – who had won it for each of the last three seasons – and Katie Bennett of Durham Palatinates, as just the fifth different player to have won it since the league’s inception in 2014.