The National Lacrosse League has announced three finalists for the 2014 NLL Most Valuable Player award. Toronto Rock forward Garrett Billings joins two Rochester Knighthawks players, forward Cody Jamieson and goaltender Matt Vinc, on the MVP ballot as candidates for one of the league's top honors.
Billings led the NLL in average points-per-game (6.73) and finished third in the league with 101 points (32+69) despite just 15 games played with his season cut short due to injury. The fifth-year pro finished fourth in the league with 69 assists, his 32 goals ranked 14th overall, and his 86 loose balls ranked ninth among NLL forwards. Billings posted six or more points in nine games this year and 10-plus points in three contests, including a 12-point performance which tied the single-game high by an NLL player in 2014. Billings, who was the runner-up for the NLL MVP award in both 2012 and 2013, became the first player in league history to record three-straight 100-plus point seasons. Billings is also among the three finalists for the 2014 NLL Sportsmanship Award after winning it in 2013. The Langley, B.C. native, who played collegiately at the University of Virginia, was the Rock's first-round (6th overall) selection in the 2009 NLL Entry Draft.
Jamieson won the 2014 NLL scoring title with 108 points, tied for second in the league in assists (72) and tied for sixth overall with 36 goals. Jamieson recorded at least six points in a game nine times and 10-plus points a league-high four times. The fourth-year pro scored eight power play goals, tied for 10th-most in the league, and recovered 70 loose balls which were 17th-most among NLL forwards. Jamieson helped lead the Knighthawks to the top of the East Division and second in the NLL with a 14-4 overall record. Jamieson, who hails from Six Nations, Ontario and played collegiately at Syracuse University, was the first overall pick in the 2010 NLL Entry Draft.
Vinc, the defending 2013 NLL Goaltender of the Year who is a finalist for the award again this season, finished second in the league in save percentage (.798), tied for second in wins (12), and third in goals against average (9.56), saves (595) and minutes played (947:43) in 2014. The Knighthawks allowed the second-fewest goals in the NLL (167) and finished atop the East Division with a 14-4 record as Vinc allowed 10 or fewer goals in 10 games this year. The nine-year NLL veteran is the only goalie in league history to win the Goaltender of the Year award three times (2010, 2011 & 2013). The St. Catharines, Ontario native played collegiately at Canisius College and was drafted in the first round (6th overall) of the 2005 NLL Entry Draft.
The 2014 NLL Season Awards are determined by a vote of the league's Board of Governors, General Managers and Head Coaches at the end of the regular season. The winners will be announced at the first-ever NLL Season Awards Ceremony on Sunday, Sept. 21 in Oakville, Ontario.
Remaining schedule of finalist announcement for the 2014 NLL Season Awards:
Monday, June 23: Executive of the Year award finalists
Tuesday, June 24: Media Person of the Year (The Tom Borrelli Award)