I took Saturday off and listened to Mike Kennedy and Dave Dahl call the second half. I’m watching the replay, but it’s time to get the regular season behind us and move to St. Louis.
The Shockers looked like the January Shockers against a fading SIU team. We don’t know how that effort translates to St. Louis, but it has to be a much better feeling taking some momentum there. WSU has a few days to practice, rest and try to keep that mojo in their locker room.
The play of J.T. Durley and Garrett Stutz is the most promising development. The Shockers can beat any MVC team if those two are scoring, drawing fouls and rebounding.
Durley is 12 of 18 and 10 of 11 from the line in the past two games. 43 points, 18 rebounds. Stutz is 7 of 11, 8 of 8 from the line. 22 points, 11 rebounds.
Doing that against Bradley and SIU is easier than doing it against Illinois State or Northern Iowa. My All-MVC picks (due Sunday and I cannot vote for WSU players)
First team Adam Koch, UNI Dinma Odiakosa, Illinois State Josh Young, Drake Sam Maniscalco, Bradley Kyle Weems, Missouri State
Second team Jordan Eglseder, UNI Osiris Eldridge, Illinois State Adam Templeton, Drake Kenny Lawson, Creighton Andrew Warren, Bradley
I think Clevin Hannah will be a first-team pick. J.T. Durley and Toure Murry should get some votes. I will be interested to see if Murry makes the All-Defense team. I think he is deserving, but there are a lot of guards with good defensive reputations.
Player of the Year Adam Koch, UNI
Not an easy choice. I also considered Illinois State’s Dinma Odiakosa. I’m not sure any player in the MVC had a great year. Koch was the most solid and most consistent player on the best team. His ability to draw fouls is quite disruptive, he can shoot and rebound. I won’t argue with choosing Odiakosa, who played great basketball the final month. Eglseder may have been the choice before his suspension. Missing three games in late February for drinking and driving dropped him to my second team. You can’t make that mistake. Bradley’s Taylor Brown also lost ground with me in All-MVC voting for three separate suspensions.
Coach of the Year Kevin McKenna, Indiana State
I voted WSU coach Gregg Marshall second. In many seasons, I think Marshall wins it by finishing second after being picked fifth. McKenna, however, gets my vote for keeping that team afloat despite three injuries to starters. The Sycamores, despite losing Jake Kelly for the season and Harry Marshall and Dwayne Lathan for multiple games, finished in a tie for fifth and won’t play on Thursday. McKenna did an outstanding job adjusting and motivating in a difficult circumstance. Marshall will win his share of MVC Coach of the Year honors. Having said all, that UNI’s Ben Jacobson will probably win.
Newcomer of the Year - Jermaine Mallett, MSU
Freshman of the Year - Colt Ryan, Evansville
All-newcomer Colt Ryan, Evansville Gene Teague, SIU Tony Freeman, SIU Jermaine Mallett, Missouri State Adam Leonard, Missouri State
All-Freshman Ryan Teague Seth VanDeest, Drake Jackie Carmichael, Illinois State Ned Cox, Evansville
All-bench Lucas O'Rear, UNI Gabe Blair, Wichita State Nafis Ricks, Missouri State Anthony Booker, SIU Austin Hill, Illinois State
Most Improved Team captain – Taylor Brown, Bradley Adam Templeton, Drake Graham Hatch, Wichita State Garrett Stutz, Wichita State Denver Holmes, Evansville