The Horizon League pushed the envelope this year and developed a 12-minute video to reveal its all-league selections and award winners.
While the eye candy didn’t quite match the Oscars (no slight intended to Will Haskett), it was a solid broadcast nonetheless.
And the awards went to…Cleveland State guard Norris Cole.
That’s right. The senior who produced this season’s most ridiculous stat line (41 points, 20 rebounds and 9 assists, 3 steals on Feb. 12 against Youngstown State) swept everything there was to sweep.
Cole became the first Horizon League player to earn the Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors. Accordingly, he also received spots on the first-team squad and the all-defensive squad. I’m going to consider him for my Associated Press All-America ballot that must be filed on Selection Sunday.
Here’s Cole’s supporting cast:
G Norris Cole, Cleveland State.
He led league in scoring (21.6 ppg), assists (5.5 apg) and steals (2.2). He also grabbed 6.0 rebounds per game.
F Matt Howard, Butler. That makes three first-team honors for the big man, who averaged 16.8 ppg and 7.9 rpg.
G Vaughn Duggins, Wright State. Second to Cole in scoring (18.0 ppg). Added 1.5 bpg.
F Anthony Hill, Milwaukee. Tied for seventh in scoring (15.3 ppg) and fifth in rebounding (6.4 rpg) for league champs.
G Brandon Wood, Valparaiso. SIU transfer produced 16.2 ppg, 3.3 apg and 1.7 spg.
G Shelvin Mack, Butler.
G Rahmon Fletcher, Green Bay.
G Ray McCallum, Detroit.
C Eli Holman, Detroit
G N’Gai Evans, Wright State.
G Ray McCallum (Newcomer of Year)
G Kaylon Williams, Milwaukee.
F Paul Carter, UIC.
C Alec Brown, Green Bay.
C Damian Eargle, Youngstown State.
Sixth man of the year:
Geoff McCammon, Loyola: The league leader in 3-pointers (83) succeeded teammate Walt Gibler as the league’s top sixth man. He leads the Ramblers in scoring (14.5 ppg), minutes (30.9 mpg) and FT% (.836).
Norris Cole, Cleveland State
Eli Holman, Detroit
Trevon Harmon, Cleveland State
Ronald Nored, Butler
Matt Howard, Butler
Coach of the Year:
Rob Jeter, Milwaukee
In case you forget, the Horizon League kicks off March Madness with four first-round games Tuesday. Here’s the bracket. The first two rounds can be found on horizonleague.com:
Game 1: No. 10 UIC (7-23, 2-16) at No. 3 Cleveland State (24-7, 13-5), 6 p.m.
Game 2: No. 7 Green Bay (14-17, 8-10) at No. 6 Wright State (18-13, 10-8), 6 p.m.
Game 3: No. 9 Youngstown State (9-20, 2-16) at No. 4 Valparaiso (21-10, 12-6), 7 p.m.
Game 4: No. 8 Loyola (16-14, 7-11) at No. 5 Detroit (16-15, 10-8), 6 p.m.
FRIDAY (at Milwaukee):
Game 5: Game 1 and 2 winners, 5 p.m.
Game 6: Game 3 and 4 winners, 7:30 p.m.
SATURDAY (at Milwaukee):
Game 7: Game 5 winner vs. No. 2 Butler (21-9, 13-5), 5 p.m. (ESPNU)
Game 8: Game 6 winner vs. No. 1 Milwaukee (18-12, 13-5), 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
TUESDAY (at better-seeded finalist):
Game 9: CHAMPIONSHIP, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Judging by the power rankings, it’s dicey for Cleveland State (37 RPI) or Butler (45 RPI) to expect at-large berths if they don’t win the title. Their KenPom rankings (Butler 60 and CSU 72) don’t suggest they deserve such a nod. That figures to add a touch of desperation to these games.
Ah, the Madness…welcome back.