Our 2016-17 season awards continue with the Newcomer of the Year, Game of the Year, and Best Individual Game. All awards were voted on by our staff.
Newcomer of the Year: Nigel Williams-Goss, Gonzaga
Gonzaga players are cleaning up the postseason awards, and rightfully so. To be fair, Williams-Goss had an advantage over just about every newcomer at this level this year, after staring at Washington. Still, as a transfer, he qualifies.
His 16.8 points and 4.7 assists per game were both team highs, and he ranked second on the team in rebounds per game with six. Something tells me we’ll be writing about Williams-Goss again when we reveal our All-Mid-Major Madness teams, so for now, just a quick word on how he ended up at Gonzaga:
Williams-Goss played two seasons for the Huskies and earned second-team all-Pac-12 honors as a sophomore. He was, however, reportedly unhappy with the direction of the program and found a better fit in Spokane. He told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman:
“I feel that their track record of winning at a high level, developing players during their redshirt year and their up-tempo offense that includes a ton of ball screens is an overall good fit for me.”
Williams-Goss sat out last season, but made an immediate impact this year as the Bulldogs raced out to a 17-0 start. He was the best free throw shooter in the West Coast Conference and ranked seventh in two-point percentage. He also placed in the top five in true shooting percentage, assist rate, and steal percentage. Williams-Goss was an all-around force, and he still has a year of eligibility remaining.
Game of the Year: Kent State vs. Central Michigan, MAC Tournament First Round
Final: Kent State 116, Central Michigan 106 (OT)
This game featured the nation’s leading scorer, a double-digit second half comeback, and overtime, all in conference tournament play. What more could you ask for in a college basketball game?
Central Michigan’s dynamic duo of Marcus Keene and Braylon Rayson got the Chippewas out to a 13-point lead at halftime. However, their defense let them down in the second half, as it did for much of the season. Kent State came all the way back to tie the game and then scored 25 points in overtime to advance in the MAC Tournament. In total, the two teams combined for 34 made threes. Keene had a game-high 41 points in the loss while Jimmy Hall led the Golden Flashes with 33 points.
Aside from being an offensive spectacle, this game was significant because it set the tone for Kent State’s MAC Tournament run. The Golden Flashes avoided the upset and went on to win the tournament as the 6 seed. Without this comeback win, they would not have been dancing.
Best Individual Game: Chris Clemons (Campbell) vs. UNC Asheville, Big South Tournament Quarterfinals
Stats: 51 points, 18-32 FG, 8-14 3PT
Chris Clemons was outstanding all year, but on quarterfinal day of the Big South Tournament, he had an opportunity to show his skills on a bigger stage. The Big South Tournament is traditionally one of the first to begin, and is the first to play a weekday afternoon game, meaning thousands were streaming from work.
Needless to say, they got a show.
Clemons took more than half of the Camels’ field goal attempts and three-point attempts to score 51 of Campbell’s 81 points. The 5’9 guard set both the school individual scoring record and Big South individual scoring record in the process.
Full highlights from Chris Clemons record-setting performance and the Fighting Camels upset win over No. 2 seed UNC Asheville. Campbell Basketball will play tomorrow night at 6 pm! #GoCamelsPosted by Campbell University Fighting Camels on Thursday, March 2, 2017
Up Next: Player of the Year, All-Mid-Major Madness teams