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BASKETBALL

Swedish basketballer wins NBA defensive nod

Chicago Bulls centre Joakim Noah was awarded the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year on Monday, the first Bull to claim the award since Michael Jordan in the eighties.

Swedish basketballer wins NBA defensive nod
Noah averaged 11.3 rebounds per game this season. Photo: AP
   
The son of French tennis legend Yannick Noah and former Miss Sweden Cecilia Rodhe averaged 12.6 points, 11.3 rebounds, 1.5 blocked shots and 1.2 steals a game for the Bulls this season.
   
Twenty-nine-year-old Noah, who  holds Swedish, French, and US citizenship, became the first Bulls player to win the award since Michael Jordan in 1988.
   
"This is very humbling to be in this situation right now," Noah said. "I never thought I would be in this position right now. I just kept working."
 
Noah is in one of only very few Swedes to currently play in the NBA, joining Jonas Jerebko of the Detroit Pistons and Jeffery Taylor of the Charlotte Bobcats.
   
The Bulls are in the first round of the NBA playoffs, having lost their opener to the Washington Wizards, and Noah stressed he owes the honour to the work of his team-mates as well as himself.
   
"This award is not about me. This is about our team. This is a team award," Noah said.
   
When the Bulls lost star playmaker Derrick Rose to injury early in the season after he missed all of last season and later traded away British star Luol Deng, Chicago stressed defensive work and Noah set the tone for the team.
   
"Through all the adversity we went though, we kept fighting. That's something I will never forget," Noah said. "It means more than awards. This game is not about awards. It's about winning. These awards are great but they are not why I play the game."
   
Noah said he owes much of his work ethic to his father and watching his determination on the tennis court.
   
"I watched the way my father worked as a tennis player and subconsciously it taught me work ethic," Noah said.
   
"There are so many distractions out there. You just have to stay focused on your craft. You have to stay focused on your belief in yourself."
   
Noah received 555 of a possible 1,125 points, including 100 first-place votes from a media panel, to defeat runner-up Roy Hibbert of Indiana, who had 166 points and eight first-place votes. The Los Angeles Clippers' DeAndre Jordan was third on 121 points with eight first-place votes.
 

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BASKETBALL

Sweden suspend NBA star over assault charge

The Swedish Basketball Federation has slapped a one-year ban on suspended Sweden basketball player Jeffery Taylor who holds dual US-Swedish citizenship and is at the centre of a probe into a domestic assault charge in Michigan.

Sweden suspend NBA star over assault charge
Sweden's Jeffery Taylor (14) in action against Turkey in 2013. AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis

Taylor was arrested and charged in September in East Lansing, Michigan.

The 25-year-old is accused of one count of domestic assault, one count of assault and one count of malicious destruction of property, a police statement said.

"Violence is not part of our sport, whether on the court or outside the court. On that basis, the committee director has decided that Jeffery Taylor will not play for the national team during the 2014-15 season," said the Swedish Basketball Federation's president Hans von Uthmann in a statement.

Authorities did not outline the circumstances of the case, saying only that police were called after a report of domestic assault at an East Lansing hotel early in the morning.

Taylor was about to enter his third season in the NBA, with the Charlotte Hornets.

He has not played an NBA match for the Hornets since his arrest, and is set to face 18 months under surveillance in Sweden and 26 months in a rehabilitation programme, although the NBA and the Charlotte organisation have yet to hand down their official punishment.

The 25-year-old was born in Norrköping in eastern Sweden and has resided in the US since 2006. 

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