Horizon League Season Awards: All-Conference Team, Coach of the Year, and more

The Horizon League regular season wrapped up yesterday, and the conference will be announcing season awards this week.

Here is how The Catch and Shoot voted, along with the addition of some of its own awards that the Horizon League does not officially give out.

 

All-Horizon League Team

Kahlil Felder, Oakland

  • Felder, only a sophomore, has emerged as one of the Horizon League’s top playmakers thanks to his ability to score and facilitate. The 5-foot-9 guard led the Horizon League with 7.7 assists per game, and he was No. 3 in scoring with 17.4 points per game. Felder is No. 5 nationally in assist rate, per kenpom.com.

Keifer Sykes, Green Bay (Player of the Year)

  • Sykes was phenomenal again his senior season, although it doesn’t quite seem that way all the time because of the preseason expectations. Even with his offensive rating and assist rate dropping and his turnover rate rising since last year, he is still the best player in the Horizon League. Sykes will go down as one of the best players in the conference’s history.

Trey Lewis, Cleveland State

  • Lewis, a junior, is another great scorer in this conference. He finished the regular season averaging 16.9 points per game and made it rain on a consistent basis with 2.9 3-pointers per contest.

Alec Peters, Valparaiso

  • Peters was right up there with Felder and Sykes for Player of the Year. The sophomore averaged 16.8 points and 6.8 rebounds while shooting 47.2 percent from beyond the arc, which is particularly impressive for a 6-foot-9 forward. Ultimately, Sykes’ ability to impact a game in several ways aside from scoring were what put him ahead of Peters, but the Valparaiso product is certainly one of the favorites to win Player of the Year next season.

Corey Petros, Oakland

  • This final frontcourt spot came down to Petros and Cleveland State big man Anton Grady. While Grady is a better defender, Petros was just such a dominant offensive force. His effective field-goal percentage is in the nation’s top 100 at 58.8 percent. The 6-foot-10 senior also posted 10 double-doubles.

 

Honorable mentions:

Anton Grady, Cleveland State (13.7 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.6 spg)

  • I think Grady actually had a better season than Lewis, but when I make an all-league team, I like the team to have the makeup of a lineup that would actually be usable in a game. Having Peters, Petros and Grady on the floor together would never work.

Juwan Howard Jr., Detroit (17.8 ppg, 42.3 3P%)

  • Howard has been one of the Horizon League’s most dominant scorers for two seasons and became even more deadly this season with an improved 3-point shot.

Ahman Fells, UIC (120.0 ORtg, 41.8 3p%)

  • Fells flipped the switch after getting inserted into the starting lineup right before conference play, and he became one of the Horizon League’s most efficient offensive players.

Steve McWhorter, Milwaukee (14.2 ppg, 4.6 apg, 1.6 spg)

  • McWhorter made the admirable decision of sticking with Milwaukee through the APR postseason ban for his senior season. We already knew from last year he was a great point guard, but he also made great strides as a scorer this season.

Charlie Lee, Cleveland State (117.3 ORtg, 62.1 TS%, 4.1 apg)

  • Lee was one of the top distributors and outside shooters in the Horizon League this season. When his team needs a bucket, he can either take matters into his own hands or set up a teammate.

 

All-Freshman Team

Tevonn Walker, Valparaiso

  • Walker provided Valparaiso with a scoring threat from day one. The two guard is averaging 10.7 points per game, and if he keeps that up it will the second straight year the Crusaders have had a freshman double-digit scorer (Peters, 2013-14).

Grant Benzinger, Wright State

  • Benzinger is instant offense for Wright State. The 6-foot-3 guard has proven he will be a deadly scorer in this league in years to come. Since being inserted into the starting lineup Feb. 7, Benzinger is averaging 17 points over seven games.

Nick Daniels, Oakland

  • Daniels was the Horizon League’s top 3-point shooter in the regular season at 49.3 percent. He averaged 6.4 points per game.

Paris Bass, Detroit (Freshman of the Year)

  • Bass, a 6-foot-7 forward, was a monster this season. He averaged 12.5 points and 5.8 rebounds, making him pretty clearly Detroit’s second-best player after Howard.

Jalen Hayes, Oakland

  • Hayes struggled to put together big numbers on a consistent basis, but the 6-foot-7 freshman had a few eye-popping performances. He posted 27 points in an overtime win against Wright State. He also recorded a pair of double-doubles, which highlighted his versatility — one was in points and rebounds, the other was in points and assists.

 

Defensive Player of the Year

Vashil Fernandez, Valparaiso

  • Not much competition here for the 6-foot-10 Jamaican center. Fernandez made great improvements to his offensive game as a senior, but his calling card is still defense. He led the league with 2.9 blocks per game, which also ranks No. 10 in the country.

 

Sixth Man of the Year (Must have more bench appearances than games started)

Anton Wilson, Detroit

  • Wilson was a starter for most of non-conference play, but he came off the bench for all but four Horizon League games. In conference play, the 6-foot-5 junior guard averaged 7.6 points and 2.1 assists while shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc. He finished the season with a 112.8 offensive rating to lead Detroit.

 

Coach of the Year

Bryce Drew, Valparaiso

  • Valparaiso was supposed to be solid, but the Crusaders appeared to be a year away from competing for a league title when everyone was making preseason picks. That didn’t stop Drew. His Crusaders won 26 games overall and ultimately held off Green Bay by one game to give Drew his third outright Horizon League title in four seasons as a head coach.

Author: Jesse Kramer

Jesse Kramer is the founder of The Catch and Shoot. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He has had work featured on SI.com, College Insider, The Comeback/Awful Announcing, and 247Sports.

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