Kimberley home grown basketball hero Keanu Pinder has made National Basketball League history by being the first player to win Most Improved Player twice. On February 7, Pinder was awarded the Most Improved Player title for the second consecutive year after receiving 48 votes, making NBL history. Taipans coach Adam Forde collected Pinder’s award on his behalf as the player was recovering from facial surgery after copping an elbow to the face in round 17. The son of former Perth Wildcats MVP and two-time NBL champion Tiny Pinder, Keanu has managed to make his way to the top echelons of the sport proving himself to be a basketball star in his own right. The 206cm powerhouse forward averaged 17 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, up from 10.9 points and 7.6 rebounds a game last season and was among the NBL’s Most Valuable Player conversation for much of the season. It comes as the Taipans made a miraculous improvement over the past year, fighting their way from the second worst record in the league last season with 18 losses and 9 wins to the third spot on the ladder ahead of the upcoming NBL Finals series this season with 18 wins and 10 losses. Unfortunately due to his injuries, the Taipans will have to do without Pinder potentially for the rest of the season as the star froward recovers from surgery. Pinder joined the Taipans in mid 2021 after being forced to return home to Australia from Europe when the COVID pandemic hit, first signing a one-year deal with the Adelaide 36ers before moving to the Cairns Taipans on a two year contract.