Leicester Riders’ guard Kimbal Mackenzie has completed a month of personal highlights with the Molten BBL Player of the Month award for February, gaining such recognition for the first time – in his second season in the BBL – along with some other firsts in recent weeks.
Mackenzie has been instrumental in a run of three straight BBL Championship wins in February that has seen the third-placed Riders bounce back from defeat in the BBL Cup Final and elimination from the BBL Trophy.
Most notably he scored a professional career high of 31 points in a road win at Cheshire Phoenix, shooting 11-15 (73%) from the floor and a perfect 7-7 at the free-throw line, along with five assists and four rebounds, including an incredible buzzer-beating triple on half time among 12 second stanza points in a spell that all but settled the game.
For the month, he averaged 20 points, five assists and three rebounds per game, shooting an excellent 60% from the field, an eye-watering 53% from three-point range, and 82% from the free-throw line.
That efficiency, in particular, has been a hallmark for Mackenzie in his second BBL campaign as, overall, he ranks within the top ten in the league for field goal percentage (53.5%) and three-point percentage (43.5%), and top five for free-throw percentage (88.3%).
Of particular significance for his team, Mackenzie has stepped up his performances at a time when they have needed it due to injuries at the guard spots to fellow GB internationals Conner Washington and Patrick Whelan. As such, he started all of the games in February at the point guard position and saw his minutes increase to 30 per game from just over 20 per game previously.
In a high-scoring month for Leicester, Mackenzie also had 16 points on 6-10 (60%) shooting in a comprehensive 104-84 home defeat of Manchester Giants at Morningside Arena, and the same points total again on 6-9 (66%) shooting, with six assists, as they scored 99 points in another big victory over Surrey Scorchers.
In addition to those achievements, the 26-year-old native of Oakville, Canada, who possesses British dual nationality, made his debut for Great Britain in FIBA World Cup qualifier action in Belgrade at the end of February, scoring six points with three assists on the road in GB’s defeat to Serbia.
Mackenzie and his team now look forward to a big start to March, as they first host the league-leading London Lions live on Sky Sports tonight, before back-to-back games against old rivals Newcastle Eagles.