The MVC regular season is all wrapped up and Arch Madness is beginning in a few days. The conference will be announcing its season awards Tuesday, so here are The Catch and Shoot’s all-conference picks.
Fred VanVleet, Wichita State
- The reigning MVC Player of the Year saw some of his numbers dip this season but still had a very strong junior season. Even with his offensive rating dropping to 122.1, he ranks in the nation’s top 75 and leads the MVC for players with at least 20 percent of possessions used. His assist rate is top-20 in the nation, and his steal percentage ranks No. 57. Talk about a well-rounded player.
Daishon Knight, Illinois State
- Knight was Illinois State’s best offensive weapon all season long. He’s best at creating his own shot, scoring 13.9 points per game, but he can also find teammates at an efficient rate, as evidenced by top-20 assist and turnover rates in conference play. The 6-foot-1 guard has always been a good scorer, but he’s much more effective now in terms of field-goal percentage (42.7) and 3-point percentage (36.0)
Ron Baker, Wichita State
- Baker improved his offensive efficiency as a junior following an incredible sophomore year. He is right behind his teammate VanVleet with an 120.6 offensive rating. Baker’s assist-turnover ratio (2.03 to 1) and 3-point shooting percentage (40.6) also improved.
Seth Tuttle, Northern Iowa (Player of the Year)
- Tuttle, a 6-foot-8 senior, is a potential All-American. He is one of the nation’s leaders in effective field-goal percentage thanks to his ability to score efficiently in a variety of ways. He is also a terrific rebounder (6.6 rpg) and passer (3.3 apg). Even though he is a big man, he has the fourth-best assist rate in the MVC and ranks top 100 in the nation as well in that category at 29.7 percent.
Egidijus Mockevicus, Evansville
- This final frontcourt spot nearly went Wichita State’s Darius Carter, but Mockevicius gets it thanks to his presence defensively and on the glass. The Lithuanian center had his down moments in MVC play but still finished No. 1 in the league in defensive rebounding percentage, No. 5 in offensive rebounding percentage, No. 2 in block percentage and No. 6 in free throw rate. He also missed out on averaging a double-double in the regular season by 0.1 rebounds (12.0 ppg, 9.9 rpg).
Reed Timmer, Drake
- Drake exceeded expectations slightly with a 7th place finish. The addition of Timmer certainly helped. He led the Bulldogs in scoring (11.6 ppg) and assists (2.5 apg) and had a 106 offensive rating.
Brenton Scott, Indiana State (Freshman of the Year)
- Indiana State finished 11-7 in the MVC despite losing Jake Odum and Manny Arop, and this kid is a huge reason why. He averaged 11.4 points per game and shot 44.9 percent from the field. Scott, a 6-foot-1 guard from Fort Wayne, also had the ninth-best effective field goal percentage in the MVC at 55.0 percent.
Chris Kendrix, Missouri State
- It was a rough season for Missouri State, but Kendrix was a fairly bright spot. The 6-foot-5 guard averaged 6.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in 23.6 minutes per game. In conference play, he led Missouri State in offensive rating with at 112.
Josh Cunningham, Bradley
- Cunningham was a top-100 recruit out of high school and had a very strong freshman season. The 6-foot-7 forward averaged 7.6 points, 7.6 boards and 1.0 steals in 30.0 minutes per game. Consistency, as with most freshmen, was the problem, but he had a few monster games. In a loss to Drake, Cunningham posted 16 points on 7-of-14 shooting along with 15 rebounds. Last week against Missouri State, he had 15 points, 21 rebounds and 3 steals in 52 minutes, as the game went to triple overtime.
Jordan Caroline, Southern Illinois
- Caroline, like Cunningham, is a 6-foot-7 forward, although Caroline’s game is more around the rim. Caroline is another young frontcourt player with a bright future in this league. He averaged 9.5 points and 6.4 boards his freshman season while recording three double-doubles. Caroline also led the MVC in free throw rate.
Newcomer of the Year
DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell, Illinois State
- Akoon-Purcell has been a huge difference maker for Illinois State in his 24.8 minutes per game. The junior college transfer averaged 13.0 points and 5.7 rebounds this season. He scored as many as 24 points in a game and really hit stride during the second half of the conference season. At 6-foot-5, Akoon-Purcell is also one of the league’s better rebounding guards.
Defensive Player of the Year
Wes Washpun, Northern Iowa
- Everyone thought at the start of the season this award would go to Wichita State guard Tekele Cotton. He is certainly worthy of the honor, but this year Washpun outdid him on the defensive end. Washpun is a ferocious lockdown defender, and he is also a pretty good shot blocker considering he is just 6-foot-1. In MVC play, he ranked No. 7 in steal percentage and No. 11 in block percentage.
Sixth Man of the Year (Must have more bench appearances than games started)
Wes Washpun, Northern Iowa
- Washpun’s defense is what makes him a great player, but his offensive game is solid as well. He came off the bench all 30 games for Northern Iowa and averaged 8.2 points along with 2.8 assists, posting a top-10 assist rate in MVC play.
Coach of the Year
Ben Jacobson, Northern Iowa
- Jacobson’s Panthers were supposed to be good and contend for the MVC title like they did, but no one expected them to be a top-15 team. Because of that, Jacobson beats out Greg Marshall, who continues to have an amazing run at Wichita State, and Greg Lansing, who lost his star point guard and a second starter but still led his team to a top-three finish.