Malcolm Heard II had a big Grand Final series to lead his Keysborough Cougars basketball team to the Big V Basketball Div. II Men championship in Australia.
Heard averaged 20.8 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game during the 18-round regular season.
However, he stepped up his play in the three-game Grand Final series to lead Keysborough to the championship over Western Port.
For his efforts, Heard is one of the nominees for the league MVP award.
“‘I feel like I lifted my intensity (in the Grand Final series) because my team needed it more then,” he said. “The little things like diving on the floor, talking it up … I did more of that in those three games.”
The MVP will be announced during a ceremony honoring all of the Big V Basketball award winners. Heard said he would not be able to attend the awards ceremony in Australia.
The 2010 Wilmington High School and Wilmington College graduate did say he could return to Australia next season to play basketball.
“They want me to come back,” he said. “It’s in the negotiating process. I just have to figure out what’s best for me and my family.
“Right now, I’m just taking in everything. I could go back with the team I was just with. That’s set in stone. If I went back, I’d go back around January for a month, then come back (home) for a couple weeks and go back right before the season started (in March 2016).”
Heard mentioned Europe as a possibility as well.
After a 15-3 regular season, Keysborough advanced to the playoffs in the semiprofessional league in Australia. The Cougars advanced to the best-of-three Grand Final series against Western Port.
The series opened with a 79-71 Keysborough win in double overtime. Heard went off for 28 points, 14 rebounds and two assists.
Keysborough seemed to have the title wrapped up, leading Western Port by 15 through much of the second game but the Cougars couldn’t hold the lead and lost 81-80. Heard had 29 points, 13 rebounds and three assists.
So in a winner-take-all final, Keysborough scored the first 18 points and cruised to a 66-53 win with Heard scoring 20 points, grabbing 17 rebounds, handing out three assists and coming up with three steals.
“It was something that opened my eyes to a lot of things in life,” said Heard of his experience in Australia. “I made a lot of connections, met a lot of good people. It’s a place I can always go back to, no matter what happens in the future.”