Subscribe for 33¢ / day

With the regular season over, it's awards time for Missouri Valley Conference beat writers.

As the SIU writer for The Southern Illinoisan, I have the privilege of voting for the league's all-conference awards. Per league rules, I couldn't vote for Salukis or coach Barry Hinson for any awards other than the All-Bench Team and the Most Improved Team. Here is my all-conference ballot, with brief explanations of my specialty award winners. 

The MVC All-Conference Team is expected to be announced Tuesday at 10 a.m. The specialty award winners are scheduled to be announced at 2 p.m., with the All-Bench and Most Improved Teams typically on Wednesday. The scholar-athlete of the year (probably Reed Timmer again) and coach of the year (probably Porter Moser) will be announced Thursday.

All-Conference Team (in order)

1. Clayton Custer, Loyola

2. Alize Johnson, Missouri State

3. Phil Fayne, Illinois State

4. Ryan Taylor, Evansville

5. Reed Timmer, Drake

6. Donte Ingram, Loyola

7. Cameron Krutwig, Loyola

8. Jordan Barnes, Indiana State

9. Keyshawn Evans, Illinois State

10. Brenton Scott, Indiana State

All-Freshman Team

1. Cameron Krutwig, Loyola

2. Elijah Childs, Bradley

3. Tywhon Pickford, Northern Iowa

4. Lucas Williamson, Loyola

5. Tyreke Key, Indiana State

All-Newcomer Team

1. Milik Yarbrough, Illinois State

2. Cameron Krutwig, Loyola

3. Elijah Childs, Bradley

4. Tywhon Pickford, Northern Iowa

5. J.T. Miller, Missouri State

Larry Bird Player of the Year: Clayton Custer, Loyola — The leading scorer for the league champs, who won the Valley by four games, Custer was clutch and a fantastic distributor (4.3 assists per game in conference play, third-best in the league). The head of the snake for the league's top offense, Custer and Moser helped Loyola do the impossible: make Rambler basketball important in Chicago.

2. Alize Johnson, Missouri State

3. Reed Timmer, Drake

Coach of the Year: Porter Moser, Loyola — Moser and his staff finally got a big man that can defend, rebound and pass, and helped the Ramblers to their first MVC title in their fifth year in the league. Almost as impressive, he did it with two different lineups, with 6-foot-9 center Cameron Krutwig and four guards, and with four guards and backup forward Aundre Jackson. 

Niko Medved, Drake

Dan Muller, Illinois State

Newcomer of the Year: Milik Yarbrough, Illinois State — I don't like it that Yarbrough is a turnover machine (he had 113 turnovers in 29 games), but he also led the third seeds at this week's MVC Tournament in scoring (17 points per game) and assists (89 in conference games). At times, he's as unstoppable as Indiana State's Jordan Barnes.

Cameron Krutwig, Loyola

Freshman of the Year: Cameron Krutwig, Loyola — Krutwig was fantastic in his first season with the Ramblers. A big man that can catch, pass and shoot, he was also the league's sixth-leading rebounder at 6.4 per game. Forty-three of his 115 boards in league play came at the offensive end.

Elijah Childs, Bradley

Sixth Man of the Year: Graham Woodward, Drake — The senior guard has hit some big shots this season for the Bulldogs, who defied all expectations to finish fourth in the league under first-year coach Niko Medved. Since I couldn't vote for SIU's Tyler Smithpeters, I went with Woodward. 

Markus Golder, Valparaiso

All-Defensive Team

1. Obediah Church, Missouri State

2. Brenton Scott, Indiana State

3. Ben Richardson, Loyola

4. Dru Smith, Evansville

5. Daouda N'Diaye, Illinois State

Defensive Player of the Year: Ben Richardson, Loyola — Richardson is a tough, senior guard who is tough to get around. He and Custer, who I thought could have been on the All-Defensive Team, too, helped the Ramblers lead the league in scoring defense (61.6 points allowed per game) during conference games. 

Obediah Church, Missouri State

All-Bench Team

1. Tyler Smithpeters, Southern Illinois

2. Graham Woodward, Drake

3. Markus Golder, Valparaiso

4. Lucas Williamson, Loyola

5. Taylor Bruninga, Illinois State

Most Improved Team

1. Jordan Barnes, Indiana State, team captain — One of the best, if not the best, contested shot-maker in the Valley, Barnes went from a good shooter to an elite scorer as a sophomore. His 110 3-pointers this season were a single-season record at ISU. Barnes scored 10 or more points in 28 of 29 games.

2. Aaron Cook, Southern Illinois

3. Nick McGlynn, Drake

4. Dru Smith, Evansville

5. Sean Lloyd, Southern Illinois


On Twitter: @THefferman


Sports reporter

Todd Hefferman has covered SIU athletics since 2008. A University of Iowa grad, he is a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and a Heisman Trophy voter.

Load comments