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Jackson dominates Breakers awards night

Published: 10:41PM Saturday April 27, 2013 Source: ONE Sport

The NZ Breakers celebrated a night to cap all celebrations so far with their annual awards dinner in Auckland tonight.

Looking back on a third championship in a row, the franchise also bid farewell to head coach Andrej Lemanis and veteran forward Dillon Boucher.

It was an emotional night for those reasons, with standing ovations and heartfelt speeches the order of proceedings.

The big winner on the night though was Cedric Jackson who fittingly took out a trifecta of awards on a night when a third consecutive championship was being toasted, the American named MVP's Most Valuable Player (members vote), Players' Player of the Year, and the top award, the club MVP.

Other awards were presented to club physio Anousith Bouaaphone (Clubman of the Year) and Tai Webster (Paul Henare Award for Young Players) while each player was presented with their playing singlet and gift from directors Paul and Liz Blackwell.

It was always going to be a charged moment, when both Boucher and Lemanis said their final goodbyes as player and head coach respectively of the club.

Boucher is a foundation player who returned to the club and Lemanis bowed out after eight years in charge to take on the Australian national team coaching role.

For both their commitment to the club and value as people to the organisation and the community was acknowledged with the retirement of Boucher's number 24 and the announcement of Lemanis as a life member of the club.

Boucher joins his former team-mate in Paul Henare in having that honour bestowed upon him, while Lemanis joins a select club of two alongside Dennis Jones as being named life members of the club as they celebrate 10 years of history.

But it was not all about the past, the dinner was a chance for the club to officially welcome Dean Vickerman as the new head coach of the club, an honour he was humbled and proud to take on.

"Wow! That was my first reaction once the deal was all signed," said Vickerman.

"I look at my own journey and I have bounced around New Zealand, Australia and Singapore to get experience for this role, now I have reached it, it all starts again.

"This is the dream job, the support around this team and coaching staff is second to none. You are given every opportunity with this team to be successful and we have been in a position to win three championships.

"For me now to take that over and try to win another one is an amazing challenge but one the whole club is up for.

"My immediate focus is to build our coaching team. Judd Flavell will be a huge part of that in his academy and offensive coordinator roles, but there are a couple of others to include on the coaching staff, I aim to get them sorted out quickly.

"Player-wise, we don't have much to fill, that will play out over time. We had two fantastic imports this year; those guys are in the mix for next year."

The club enjoyed a great night together for the last time this season as players head to their NBL clubs, off on breaks in the off season or in the case of Will Hudson and Cedric Jackson, back home to the States and for Jackson a shot at a return to the NBA.

SKYCITY Breakers 2012/13 Awards

MVP - Cedric Jackson
Players' Player - Cedric Jackson
MVPs' MVP (members vote) - Cedric Jackson
Paul Henare Award - Tai Webster
Clubman of the Year - Anousith Bouaaphone
Number retired - Dillon Boucher, #24
Life Member - Andrej Lemanis (joins Dennis Jones as the only two)