The National Lacrosse League has announced that Colorado Mammoth forward John Grant Jr. has won the league’s Most Valuable Player Award, presented by Reebok Lacrosse, for the 2012 season.
Selected first overall in the 1999 NLL Entry Draft, the 37-year-old Grant set the league’s new single-season scoring record with 116 points (league-high 50 goals, 66 assists) to break John Tavares’ mark of 115 with Buffalo in 2001. Making the feat even more impressive was that Grant did it in just 14 games – matching what Tavares did more than a decade ago. Grant missed two games in March due to an upper-body injury.
The Mammoth was the league’s most improved team this season record-wise, improving their win total by six games from the previous season. After a 5-11 record in 2011, the Mammoth went 11-5 this season, good for second place in the Western Division. Colorado hosts a Western Division Semifinal matchup Saturday night against the Minnesota Swarm that airs live on CBS Sports Network.
“This is a tremendous honor, especially after being written off as an elite player by some in the past few years,” said Grant. “This is a team award more than an individual award, and it wouldn’t have happened if [Mammoth president & general manager Steve Govett] hadn’t put great pieces around me.”
The scoring record was the last in a series of accomplishments for the Mammoth assistant captain. In a win over Calgary on Jan. 21, Grant became the fifth player in league history with 1,000 career points.
He then joined Tavares and Hall of Famer Gary Gait as the only players to reach the 500-goal plateau in a win over Buffalo on March 3.
“It’s a real pleasure to be around him,” Mammoth coach Bob Hamley said after Grant reached the milestone against the Bandits. “He’s a great lacrosse player and an even better person.”
It's the second career MVP Award for Grant, who also won it while playing for the Rochester Knighthawks in 2007.
Garrett Billings of the Toronto Rock was runner-up for the MVP followed by Dan Dawson of the Philadelphia Wings. League awards are determined by a vote of the league’s Board of Governors, General Managers and Head Coaches.
Billings set a new NLL record for assists in a season by registering 82 for the East Division-champion Rock, and his 114 points eclipsed current Toronto captain Colin Doyle’s club record of 111.
Dawson, who broke his own league record for assists in a season on April 7 before being overtaken by Billings, finished with 103 points (25 goals, 78 assists) in 2012. That bettered Athan Iannucci’s club-record of 100 set four years earlier.
The announcements of 2012 NLL Season Awards continues tomorrow with the Rookie of the Year, presented by Thunder Tribe Energy Shot.