It’s the first full week of March and the regular season is over in the Missouri Valley Conference. With Arch Madness beginning Thursday, here are The Catch and Shoot’s MVC awards.
Please note: These are not the official awards from the Missouri Valley Conference. These awards are given by The Catch and Shoot.
All-MVC First Team (Co-MVC Players of the Year in bold)
Fred VanVleet, Wichita State—11.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 5.3 apg, 1.9 spg, 42.7 3P%
D.J. Balentine, Evansville—22.3 ppg, 4.3 apg, 40.0 3P%
Ron Baker, Wichita State—13.1 ppg, 3.3 apg, 36.3 3P%
Cleanthony Early, Wichita State—15.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 35.8 3P%
Seth Tuttle, Northern Iowa—15.4 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 52.4 FG%
Choosing one MVC Player of the Year was too difficult this year, and Fred VanVleet and Cleanthony Early were both very deserving of the honor. VanVleet as one of the nation’s top point guards, averaging 5.3 assists and only 1.3 turnovers per game. His ability to create off ball screens is better than anyone else’s in college basketball. Early leads the undefeated Shockers in scoring and has been their go-to man all season.
All-MVC Second Team
Jake Odum, Indiana State—13.0 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 4.6 apg
Walt Lemon Jr., Bradley—17.8 ppg, 3.8 apg, 2.4 spg
Desmar Jackson, Southern Illinois—18.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.4 spg
Jarmar Gulley, Missouri State—14.9 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.6 spg
Egidijus Mockevicius, Evansville—10.2 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.9 bpg, 63.1 FG%
All-MVC Third Team
Richard Carter, Drake—16.3 ppg, 3.7 apg, 1.8 spg
Manny Arop, Indiana State—11.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 35.5 3P%
Khristian Smith, Indiana State—11.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 49.2 FG%
Christian Thomas, Loyola Chicago—13.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 54.4 FG%, 38.5 3P%
Nate Buss, Northern Iowa—10.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 53.2 FG%, 50.2 3P%
All-MVC Defensive Team (MVC Defensive Player of the Year in bold)
Walt Lemon Jr., Bradley—0.1 bpg, 2.4 spg
Tekele Cotton, Wichita State—0.3 bpg, 1.4 spg
Desmar Jackson, Southern Illinois—0.4 bpg, 2.4 spg
Reggie Lynch, Illinois State—2.6 bpg, 0.5 spg
Egidijus Mockevicius, Evansville—1.8 bpg, 0.7 spg
It didn’t take long for Illinois State freshman Reggie Lynch to cement himself as a defensive stalwart. Lynch had at least two blocks in every MVC game. His 2.6 blocks per game look good but not special, but in MVC play he averaged 3.0 rejections. Factor in that the freshman played only 22 minutes per game during the MVC season, and that’s pretty impressive.
All-MVC Freshman Team (MVC Freshman of the Year in bold)
Duane Gibson, Evansville—6.8 ppg, 4.0 apg
Austin Ruder, Missouri State—8.6 ppg, 41.7 3P%
Milton Doyle, Loyola (Chicago)—15.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.5 apg
Sean O’Brien, Southern Illinois—7.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg
Reggie Lynch, Illinois State—8.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.6 bpg, 62.3 FG%
Choosing between Reggie Lynch and Milton Doyle for Freshman of the Year was almost as difficult as choosing between VanVleet and Early for Player of the Year. Both Lynch and Doyle have future stardom in this league, but Doyle’s ability to control a game on both ends gave him the edge for this award. Doyle’s offense stumbled in the final games of the season, but he was Loyola’s best scorer and he also led the Ramblers in assists. He also averaged 1.3 steals per game. His length and athleticism allowed him to disrupt defenses, although he wasn’t quite as impactful as Lynch was on that end.
MVC Sixth Man of the Year
Nate Buss, Northern Iowa
Buss came off the bench in all but four games this season. Although he played only 20.5 minutes per game, he was a big reason why Northern Iowa earned a top-3 seed for the MVC Tournament. The junior averaged 10.7 points and shot 55.0% on 2-pointers and 50.6% on 3-pointers.
Coach of the Year
Gregg Marshall, Wichita State
As if this award could go to anyone else. Gregg Marshall’s Wichita State Shockers went 31-0 and are favored to enter the NCAA Tournament 34-0 as a No. 1 seed. In 18 MVC games, only three teams (Missouri State, Indiana State, Northern Iowa) came within single digits of the Shockers. Even out of conference, only St. Louis, Tennessee and Alabama came within 10 points of Wichita State.