Once this week’s games have been completed, we will have passed the midway point of the Summit League season. There’s been plenty of offense so far, and the middle of the league standings are as cluttered as any in the country. Rather than breaking down where each team stands in the rankings, let’s hand out some hardware for some of the league’s best players.
Player of the Year: Paul Miller, North Dakota State
This was the hardest of the awards to pin down, but it’s hard to argue against Paul Miller. He’s the best player on the league’s best team, and he’s taken his game to a new level since conference play began. He’s averaging 21.6 points per game in conference play and is shooting an absurd 55 percent from three on 7.6 attempts per game. He’s the focal point of the Bison’s offense, and his play so far is one of the biggest reasons that they have a two game lead in the standings.
Honorable Mention: Mike Daum, Mo Evans, Daniel Amigo
Newcomer of the Year: Matt Mooney, South Dakota
The sophomore transfer from Air Force has become a jack-of-all-trades for the Coyotes. The guard leads them in scoring at 20.7 points per game and has become a pest on the other end with 3.4 steals. Add in 4.9 rebounds per game and a 40 percent mark from three, and Mooney is one of the most well-rounded players in the league. His play is one reason that the Coyotes are in third place in the league and have a chance for their best finish since joining the Summit League.
Honorable Mention: Bryson Scott, Ron Patterson, A.J. Hess
Defensive Player of the Year: Tra-Deon Hollins, Nebraska Omaha
Hollins has become one of the best pickpockets in not just the Summit League, but all of college basketball. The sophomore led the country last year in steals per game with four per contest, and is averaging 3.2 per game this year. In conference play, that number is increased to 3.9. Hollins is an absolute beast, and is the league’s biggest nightmare for opposing ball-handlers.
Honorable Mention: Brandon Gilbeck, John Konchar, Marcus Tyus
Sixth Man of the Year: Dexter Werner, North Dakota State
Werner hasn’t started a game yet in conference play, but has still played a major role in the Bison’s success. The senior big man is one the country’s most efficient players, per KenPom, and is the backbone to the Bison’s defense. He’s nearly averaging a double-double in league play at 11.6 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Add in 1.3 steals and a block per game, and you have one of the best weapons around coming off the bench.
Honorable Mentions: Ron Patterson, Xzavier Taylor
Coach of the Year: Dave Richman, North Dakota State
When your team is 6-1 in league play and has the best record overall, you’re well on your way to a Coach of the Year Award. Since arriving in Fargo in 2015, Richman’s Bisons have been a model of consistency in the Summit League. This year’s team boasts the best offense he’s coached, and its defense is as stingy as ever. If North Dakota State wins the league by two or three games, as projected, Richman will run away with this award.
Honorable Mention: Rodney Billups, Craig Smith, Jon Coffman
Last week’s power rankings can be found here.
1. North Dakota State (14-6, 6-1, Previous: 2)
2. South Dakota (13-9, 4-3, Previous: 1)
3. Denver (12-8, 4-3, Previous: 4)
4. Nebraska Omaha (11-10, 4-4, Previous: 5)
5. Fort Wayne (14-7, 3-4, Previous: 3)
6. IUPUI (9-12, 3-4, Previous: 6)
7. Oral Roberts (7-14, 3-4, Previous: 8)
8. Western Illinois (6-12, 3-4, Previous: 7)
9. South Dakota State (9-13, 2-5, Previous: 9)