The Summit League announced their 2011-2012 postseason awards. It was a clean sweep for league champ Oral Roberts grabbing the player of the year, coach of the year, and sixth man of the year. The Golden Eagles were the preseason favorites and they lived up to the hype by earning a 17-1 league mark. Without further adieu here are the best in the Summit League:
Coach of the Year:
Scott Sutton, ORU
Player of the Year:
Dominique Morrison, ORU
1st Team All-Summit:
Reggie Hamilton, Oakland
Nate Wolters, South Dakota St
Alex Young, IUPUI
Frank Gaines, IPFW
Taylor Braun, North Dakota St
2nd Team All-Summit:
Ceola Clark, Western Illinois
Charlie Westbrook, South Dakota
Michael Craion, ORU
Jordan Dykstra, South Dakota St
Jackson Stevenette, Southern Utah
Sixth Man of the Year:
Steven Roundtree, ORU
Defensive Player of the Year:
Newcomer of the Year:
Lawrence Alexander, North Dakota St
Ian Chiles, IUPUI
Obi Emegano, Western Illinois
Corey Petros, Oakland
Terrell Parks, Western Illinois
Two Jaguars earned postseason awards and it’s the third straight year Alex Young is named to the first team. Sophmore Ian Chiles averaged 11.3 points per game and has started 27 straight games for the Jags.
For Alex the news didn’t come as a surprise, but he knows it’s a big deal. “That’s a great honor and looking back on it my first (sophomore year) was the easiest. That year I just rode Rob’s (Glenn) coat tails. I really earned it last year and this year the league had some really nice scorers. The award I really wanted was the defensive player of the year. That’s the one award I’ve wanted over any of the others and I was bummed to not be nominated. I thought I improved on my defense and did some good things.” Players are nominated by their head coaches and then the league places the top names on the ballot.
At the beginning of the season Ian Chiles wrote down one individual award and he earned it. “I wanted to make the all-newcomer team. I knew if I made that team then I was contributing to the team in a positive way. It’s cool to have the other coaches and such vote for you and recognize you. Now next year I need to find a way on to that first team.”
At the start of the year Head Coach Todd Howard was stressing how special it is to have a single player make the first team three straight seasons. Someday we’ll look back on how special AY5 was when his #5 hangs on the walls of the Jungle next to George Hill’s #3 and Carlos Knox’s #34.
Here is the ballot that I submitted and I’m sure you’ll pick apart. I don’t have to put my picks out there, but I think it’s nice for the fans to find out why I voted the way I did and who I thought were the best in the Summit League.
COY: Jim Molinari, Western Illinois
–Sutton was my second choice, but in my opinion Molinari did a masterful job getting his team to finish in 4th place. WIU was picked to finish in 9th place and they surprised a lot of teams thanks to the two newcomers and a healthy Ceola Clark. I kept thinking about Joe Torre when I was thinking about Scott Sutton for COY…he coached the favorites and the favorites won. I like his style and I like how he lets his very veteran group play through any rough patches without using a timeout. In the second meeting with IUPUI he was calling plays for his star Morrison and everything was working. A great, great coach. In the end for me it was Molinari followed by Sutton and Scott Nagy at South Dakota St. WIU plays a deliberate style that is tough to watch, but he gets his players to buy in and they were rewarded with a fourth place finish.
POY: Reggie Hamilton
–By far the toughest call in the three years that I have been voting. For me it was between Morrison and Hamilton. Morrison was the best player on the best team, but that’s not enough for me. Frankly it shouldn’t be for you. For instance, Kevi Luper won the women’s POY for a third straight year and her club finished second. The preseason player of the year on the men’s side was Alex Young and his team was picked fourth in the preseason. So it’s more than who’s the best on the best and there is no question that Morrison is a special player. I witnessed that first hand during the second half of the ORU/IUPUI overtime thriller in Tulsa. What it came down to was, who was the best player in the league…a league with four studs…and for me Hamilton was the biggest stud. As Alex Young told me “it’s tough to argue with Morrison, but Hamilton can score at any time and he scores a ton.” 790 points this season to be exact.
–This was a weak category. I didn’t think this was a strong defensive year for the league and was disappointed Alex Young was not even nominated. He led IUPUI 29 steals and 16 blocks (most in the league). I voted for Clark based on reputation (he won in ’09-10…and was very good that year) more than what he did because the other 4 nominees didn’t merit the top vote.
Newcomer of the year:
Congratulations to IUPUI Junior Kerah Nelson for making the women’s first team. She had a wonderful year and for the first time in her career she will compete in the league tournament. Sophomore Katie Comello made the all-newcomer team for Austin Parkinson’s team. The Jags face North Dakota State on Sunday in the 5 seed-4 seed game.
IUPUI is on their way to Sioux Falls for the tournament and they tip off Saturday night at 9:30 EST against South Dakota State. Right now we are enjoying a brief stay at Chicago Midway before flying to Omaha and riding a bus the rest of the way to Sioux Falls.