Horsham basketball product Jannik Blair has been rewarded for a stellar 2018, winning the Sandy Blyth Medal at the Basketball Australia awards on Friday night.
The medal is awarded to the best player in Australia's men's national wheelchair basketball team. It is Blair's second time winning the award.
Blair starred with the Australian Rollers as they won a bronze medal at the World Championships in 2018. As Blair is abroad for his regular season commitments in Spain, Blair's close friend Nathan Hill accepted the award on his behalf.
"We don't play sport for the individual accolades of course, but it's always nice to receive recognition," Blair said.
Blair has also had a terrific season at club level with Bilbao in his second year in the Spanish Wheelchair Basketball League.
Blair helped guide Bilbao to the Euro League 1 title earlier this month with a four point victory against Turkish club Besiktas.
Blair said it was particularly special after the side lost the final by just two points last season.
"It was the first title our team has ever won, and it was one hell of a weekend," Blair said. "To be able to get to the final again and actually win it this time was really exciting.
"Winning that effectively makes us the fifth best team in Europe."
The two-time Paralympian said the side overcame a mental hurdle to claim victory.
"There were multiple moments where we could have easily lost it, and I think had we played this same game earlier this season, I think we probably would have lost," Blair said.
"Heading into this we'd lost three consecutive finals ... our weakness is sometimes we have issues keeping our composure.
"We play well in the regular season when the pressure is lower, but once we get to a final, I think mainly because we had never won one, we changed how we play slightly.
"Overall for me, I was stoked that we were able to keep it together."
Blair and Bilbao are now preparing for the Spanish league finals beginning at the weekend.
Blair was hopeful his side could cap off a historic season with a league title.
"We lost our first two league games ... but since we've had a full side, we've won 16 consecutive league games which I think is some sort of record. It certainly is for us," Blair said.
"We're hoping that when we play the final four next weekend, we'll be able to play a bit freer now that we've got a cup in the trophy cabinet.
"Everyone is a bit more relaxed ... you notice a change or a shift in the emotional atmosphere at the club."
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