The 2015-16 basketball season is over and man, was it a crazy one. We've once again compiled the brightest and most passionate mid-major minds from across the land to come up with our postseason awards.
Player of the Year
Jameel Warney, Stony Brook Seawolves
This was the closest Player of the Year race in Mid-Major Madness history as our super delegate voters had to decide the winner between Warney, Kay Felder, and Thomas Walkup. Warney gets the nod as best all-around player in the the mid-major ranks. Warney lead the Seawolves to an America East title this year and a trip to the "Big Dance" by averaging 19.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game. You'll be hard pressed to find a guy that contributed more on both sides of the floor. His outstanding career won't soon be forgotten by all college hoops fans.
Coach of the Year
Chris Beard, Little Rock Trojans
This race came down to two guys who have already left their mid-major schools: Chris Beard and Brad Underwood. Little Rock was a 13-win team a year ago and Chris Beard came in and won 30 games, won the Sun Belt, grabbed a 12-seed in the NCAA Tournament, and knocked off Purdue to make it to the Round of 32. The former Angelo State head coach has parlayed his one year of success with the Trojans to a higher profile gig at UNLV.
Defensive Player of the Year
Vashil Fernandez, Valparaiso Crusaders
When you talk about the Valparaiso Crusaders usually the first name that pops up is Alec Peters, but the heart and soul of Valpo may just be defensive titan Vashil Fernandez. While the 6-10 senior isn't a huge offensive threat for the Crusaders, Fernandez owns the paint where he lead the nation in blocks averaging over three per game. He also grabbed a hefty 7.3 rebounds per contest. Fernandez edged out Jameel Warney and Egidijus Mockevicius from Evansville to claim this award.
Freshman of the Year
Mike Daum, South Dakota State Jackrabbits
South Dakota State made it back to the NCAA Tournament this year and one of the biggest reasons was the addition of freshman big man Mike Daum. The 6-9 Nebraska native averaged 15.2 points and 6.1 rebounds during his freshman campaign to run away with this year's award.
Conference of the Year
This is a new award this year where we honor what conference was the most fun to follow and watch. Our first ever Conference of the Year goes to the Atlantic 10. Has the Atlantic 10 emailed us before to tell us they're not a mid-major? Yes, but we still love them despite their semantics battle. This year the A-10 was a dogfight as Dayton, VCU, and St. Joseph's, made the NCAA Tournament and St. Bonaventure got a big time snub. George Washington also made noise by winning the NIT and six teams total ended up participating in the postseason where the conference went 7-5.
First Team All-American
Guard: Kay Felder, Oakland Golden Grizzlies
Guard: AJ English, Iona Gaels
Guard/Forward: Thomas Walkup, Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks
Forward: Jameel Warney, Stony Brook Seawolves
Forward/Center: Domantis Sabonis, Gonzaga Bulldogs
Second Team All-American
Guard: Fred Van Vleet, Wichita State Shockers
Guard: Kyle Collinsworth, BYU Cougars
Guard/Forward: DeAndre Bembry, St. Joseph's Hawks
Forward: Kyle Wiltjer, Gonzaga Bulldogs
Forward/Center: Alec Peters, Valparaiso Crusaders
Honorable Mention: Egidijus Mockevicius (Evansville), Pascal Siakam (New Mexico State), Vashil Fernandez (Valparaiso), John Brown (High Point), Ron Baker (Wichita St.), Shawn Long (Louisiana), Justin Robinson (Monmouth), DJ Balentine (Evansville), Chris Horton (Austin Peay), Trey Freeman (Old Dominion), Joel Bolomboy (Weber St), Wes Washpun (Northern Iowa)
Voters: Ben Miraski, Parks Smith, Kaleb Carter, Will Maupin, Jimmy Kelley, Evan Burlingame, John Parker, Michael Mallory, John Hooper, Andrew Evans, Harry Schroeder, Tyler Bennett (College Court Report), Jordan Majewski (Staring at the Floor Boards), John Templon (NYC Buckets), Cam Newton (@morrisoncrying), Joseph Burkland (@jburks3), Michael James (@ivyball), Matt Adkins (LumberjackFans.com), Kevin Whitaker (NYC Buckets)