Time to make the picks
Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall often talks about leaving no doubt in a basketball game — his way of saying his team won convincingly and didn’t leave its fate to a miracle play or whistle. The Shockers did that often this season, and they will do it again when Missouri Valley Conference honors are announced next week.
Here my unofficial picks. The official votes are due Sunday, and the 40 voters (two media members per team, coach, sports information director) aren’t allowed to vote for the schools they are associated with.
Player of the Year: Creighton F Doug McDermott, who operated at a high level from start to finish. He averages 23.1 points and 8.2 rebounds, making 61.4 percent of his shots. WSU C Garrett Stutz and G Joe Ragland are good candidates with numbers that win the award most seasons.
Coach of the Year: Marshall. His team will win the MVC in one of its stronger recent seasons. WSU’s road record is testament to the toughness he built into the Shockers. Missouri State’s Paul Lusk and Drake’s Mark Phelps will also get my votes. MSU recovered nicely in a major transition. Phelps kept the Bulldogs relevant despite injuries and illness.
All-MVC: WSU last put two players on the first team in 1983, Antoine Carr and Xavier McDaniel. Stutz and Ragland will make it this season, and it’s not nutty to think G Toure Murry will receive some votes for his all-around game. I’m going with Stutz, Ragland, McDermott, Missouri State F Kyle Weems and Evansville G Colt Ryan. Murry, Creighton G Antoine Young, Creighton C Gregory Echenique, Northern Iowa F Seth Tuttle and Illinois State F Jackie Carmichael are my second team.
Newcomer of the Year: Illinois State G Tyler Brown averages 13.1 points and is the only newcomer in the top 15. MSU G Anthony Downing is close behind.
Freshman of the Year: Tuttle, who led the MVC in shooting percentage (66.4) entering Wednesday.
Defensive Player of the Year: Echenique. Check the stats of other MVC big men against Creighton.
One to watch
Creighton at Indiana State, 3 p.m., Saturday (ESPN2, Ch. 33). The Sycamores could finish a disappointing regular season on a good note. The Bluejays could move back into the top 25 with a win.
In their words
“I still don’t know what I’m going to do once I have to clean out my locker. It’s just been awesome these last five years. It’ll be weird once it’s all said and done. But until then, I’m gonna keep giving it my all and try to work on that last piece.”
— Missouri State forward Kyle Weems, in the Springfield News-Leader, on his final home game.