HORSHAM’S Mitch Creek capped off a big National Basketball League season for the Adelaide 36ers when he claimed the club’s most valuable player award on Friday night.
He said while it was a massive honour to be given the award, he was more focused on taking out the ultimate team prize come the end of a finals campaign.
“It’s something special to be amongst some of the greatest players in NBL history from our club,” he said.
“To be in that category as an MVP is an absolute privilege, just to be named along some of the guys that have come before me.
“It’s a pretty amazing feeling but at the same time we have to remember that our biggest focus is on winning the title.”
Creek averaged 14.5 points at 63 per cent from the field while grabbing 5.4 boards and 2.4 assists through his 23 games in his eighth season at the club.
He has continued to boost his averages in recent seasons. During his career at Adelaide he has scored 8.4 points a game, and had lifted that to 12.1 points a game during the 2016-17 season.
He said he had no expectations heading into the awards night because he thought any number of players could have won the honour.
“I really hadn’t thought about it a whole lot,” he said.
“We had such good depth and were so talented across the board so it could have gone to anyone.
“We needed to find a balance with our extremely high calibre players and we did, and it has been working well for us.”
The 36ers finished the regular season in second place on the ladder, meaning they will face the Perth Wildcats in a best of three semi-final series.
Creek said it would be all about playing good basketball for his side to win its way into the grand final series.
“It will be all about playing great defence, communicating with each other early and being precise,” he said.
“If we can do that then we give ourselves every chance to rebound then push the tempo of the game.
“If we don’t get stops and it becomes a shoot-out then they have some guns and so do we; then it will be anyone’s game.”
Prior to switching his focus fully to the first semi-final contest on March 3, Creek was in action with the Australian Boomers.
Creek recorded a double-double in the side’s win against the Philippines on Thursday night.
“It’s tough to separate your mind from one system to another which means adjusting and adapting,” he said.
“At the end of the day I’m representing my country right now, which is a huge honour, and then we’ve got some business to take care of in the semi-finals next week,” he said.
“I’ve had to switch my mind across to be in ‘Boomer mode’ and I’m sure come Monday, when I’m back with the 36ers, I’ll be able to switch back again to prepare for the weekend.”
Prior to the Boomers game on Thursday, Creek spoke to The Age about how much of a thrill it would be to play for Australia in Victoria. He said would love to bring an exhibition game to Horsham.
“I can remember when the Melbourne Tigers came to play in Horsham,” he said.
“I think a Melbourne versus Adelaide game in Horsham would be great.
“The teams could meet half way and take in that country trip.
“I’d be more than happy to take everyone around to the Oven Door and show them what a coffee scroll is.”
He said he always wanted to find ways to give back to the community he developed his game within.
“It would be really nice to bring a bit of that basketball suave into the country and show people what can be done,” he said.
“Your life can change by having a dream, focusing on it and dedicating yourself to it at all costs.
“It’s been a very hard journey for me and I’ve missed out on a lot of things but the reward I get is that I now get to play for my country, I can call myself an MVP of an NBL club and hopefully, one day, a champion.”