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 will start today by unveiling the Mid-Major Madness All-American honorable mentions, with our breakout player of the year being announced later on.
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
We have four honorable mention players this year — those who appeared on multiple ballots but did not earn enough votes to be selected to the third team. What I like about this group in particular is that only one of these players was in the 2018 NCAA Tournament — so you’re getting a group that maybe didn’t get the appreciation that it deserved from a national audience.
In alphabetical order:
Chris Clemons (Campbell): The 5’9 scoring sensation was as important to his team’s success as just about anybody in the mid-major game. He ranked seventh nationally in usage percentage and fifth in percentage of shots taken, and for good reason. He shot 45 percent from the field and averaged 24.9 points per game. Clemons also had one of the best individual performances in the country this year when he scored 42 points at Liberty in January, making 10 threes and shooting 11-16 overall. We should also note his teammate, Marcus Burk, ALSO HIT 10 THREES IN THAT GAME IT WAS BONKERS. Read more about it here.
And just for funsies, here’s his game-winner against High Point:
Brandon Goodwin (Florida Gulf Coast): Goodwin’s shooting numbers were down a little bit compared to last year, but he made up for it elsewhere. While still scoring better than 18 a game, the 6’2 senior placed third in the ASUN in assist rate and averaged 5.5 rebounds per game. Though he couldn’t lead the Eagles to another NCAA Tournament appearance, FGCU still went 23-12 and gave us a memorable conference title game against Lipscomb.
Jordan Howard (Central Arkansas): Yeah, we love little guys that put up stupid numbers, and that’s a big reason why Howard made the cut. He ranked third in the nation in scoring average at 25.3 points per game. How’d he do it, you ask? By shooting 90 percent from the foul line and a touch under 40 percent from three. Howard finished his career by scoring in double figures in 36 consecutive games — a streak that goes back to the end of his junior year.
Jonathan Stark (Murray State): I came REALLY close to picking Murray State as a Cinderella in the NCAA Tournament and Stark is the reason why. It’s a shame that in his only game on the national stage he shot 1-10 from three. But that shouldn’t take away from the year that he had. The OVC Player of the Year actually posted numbers similar to Howard: 21.4 points per game with shooting percentages of .451/.399/.893. Stark also never came off the court. Almost literally. He played at least 37 minutes in every game from Jan. 4 to the end of the year.