With the offseason now upon us, Mid-Major Madness will dedicate this week to honoring the players, coaches, and games that stood above the rest in 2017-18. We continue our series today with the Second-team All-Americans. Freshman of the Year will be announced later today.
Here’s the full schedule for the week:
MONDAY: Honorable mentions and Breakout Player of the Year
TUESDAY: Third-team All-Americans and Game of the Year
WEDNESDAY: Second-team All-Americans and Freshman of the Year
THURSDAY: First-team All-Americans and Coach of the Year
FRIDAY: Mid-Major Madness Player of the Year
It’s time to reveal the Mid-Major Madness Second Team All-Americans, and this list includes some absolute stars, with four out of the five honorees being named Player of the Year in their conferences. Even better, three out of the five still have collegiate eligibility, which means there’s a good chance we’ll get to watch them again next year.
In alphabetical order:
Peyton Aldridge (Davidson)
The Atlantic 10 co-Player of the Year was at his best when his team needed him the most. After a shaky 5-3 start to the conference season, the Wildcats lost just two more league games the rest of the way as Aldridge brought Davidson from a middle-of-the-pack A-10 team to the NCAA Tournament. His finest performance came in our Game of the Year, which we highlighted yesterday — Davidson’s triple-OT loss at St. Bonaventure, where he scored 45 points and hit eight threes. In the A-10 Tournament, he went 12-14 from three (seriously), while averaging seven rebounds and just over three assists per game. Aldridge was, as a wise man would call him, a PTPer.
Clayton Custer (Loyola University Chicago)
Custer, much like his team, went from mid-major darling to national story this March during the Ramblers’ run to the Final Four. But while Custer may have been excellent in the tournament, including his game-winner over Tennessee, he was a star long before that. During Missouri Valley play, he led the league in effective field goal percentage (67.4), true shooting percentage (68.7), and three-point percentage (50), while also ranking in the top five in assist and steal rate. The Ramblers lost just three times all season in games that Custer played, including their Final Four defeat against Michigan. He was, simply, one of the best point guards in college basketball.
Jon Elmore (Marshall)
We couldn’t wait to see Elmore play in the tournament because we couldn’t wait for the rest of the world to get to know him. We got our wish in Marshall’s First-Round upset win over Wichita State. Elmore scored 27 in that one on 4-8 three-point shooting and 11-15 shooting from the line. Our own Ellie Lieberman was there for that game and wrote this excellent feature about his strange road to the Thundering Herd. Elmore recently declared for the NBA Draft but did not sign with an agent, meaning he could be back next year to terrorize CUSA again.
Nick King (Middle Tennessee)
King’s wild college basketball career, which took him from Memphis to Tuscaloosa to Murfreesboro, ended on a high note as he finally found the perfect fit with the Blue Raiders. A year after scoring just three a game for Alabama, King exploded, posting 21.0 points and 8.4 rebounds per contest en route to being named CUSA Player of the Year. Kermit Davis’s system was perfect for a player as versatile as King, letting him play in the post or step out onto the wing where he shot nearly 39 percent from three. With King leading the way, the Raiders won nine of their final 10 regular season games and entered the at-large discussion before an early exit in the CUSA Tournament.
D’Marcus Simonds (Georgia State)
This year, Georgia State was D’Marcus Simonds. It’s not just that he led the team in scoring (21.2 ppg), assists (4.4), steals (1.7), and minutes (34.9). It’s that he was the team’s source of offense. He attempted 601 field goals, while the next-highest number of attempts on the team was 323. He was the only Panther to take more than 100 free throws and he made 146. Sure, there were times when he wasn’t shooting well. But even then he still managed to get buckets. If he can become a more efficient player, he will be in the first-team discussion next year.