We have all seen Player of the week awards before. Our staff at Reaching The Summit wanted to do something similar but put our own spin on it. So here are our first player of the week awards, with a twist. We are going to break the players of the week down by class. So Senior of the week, junior, and so on. Along with the bench player of the week, and the team that exhibited the best defensive performances of the week. This first edition will encompass the first two weeks of play and then will be weekly after that. In our first edition, our writers chose no Jackrabbits which might be to the chagrin of some.
Senior of the week: Matt Pile of Omaha. Pile, who had 11 double-doubles last season achieved his first of the season in a 65-63 win over SIU-Edwardsville. Pile had the game-winning dunk in this game and ended up scoring 13 points and having 10 boards. Previously in a road loss at Drake, Pile tossed in 17 points in just 28 minutes along with 9 rebounds. It was not the best evening for the Mavs though as they took a hard 87-66 loss to Drake. For the season currently, Pile is averaging 10.3 ppg & 9.5 rpg.
Junior of the week: Redshirt Junior Kevin Obanor (ORU) Obanor is averaging nearly a double-double through 3 games. 20.7 ppg and 9 rebounds per. Certainly off to the kind of start that had his name mentioned as a true offensive force in the Summit League.
Sophomore of the week: Abmas is off to a strong start this season, averaging 21 points per game in ORU’s first three contests.
Abmas is not just scoring himself, but he’s getting his Golden Eagle teammates involved as well. Abmas is tops in the league in assists per game, handing out 5.7 helpers per night. Not only is Abmas running the ORU offense, but he’s also taking care of the ball as well, ranking second in the Summit in assist-to-turnover ratio at +4.3. Abmas is also tied for fourth in the league with two steals per game.
Freshman of the week: There are plenty of talented freshmen seeing the floor for Summit League teams so far this season and I think we’ll see some big stat lines going forward from a variety of them for our freshman of the week. Up to this point this season I’m giving the award to Tyree Ihenacho from UND. Like most of the freshman playing he has had his issues with some turnovers but he has done a little bit of everything for the Fighting Hawks and has a nice stat line through the first 2 games he’s played for the team averaging 9.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals while playing 32 minutes per game which is tops among UND players.
Bench player of the week: Marlon Ruffin, Omaha. Ruffin has been the Mavericks leading scorer while coming off the bench. The definition of instant offense. Ruffin has averaged 13.4 points, 3 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game this season. If you take out the last game Ruffin played in where he played only 1 minute before injuring his ankle, Ruffin averaged 16.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.5 steals. Ruffin missed Omaha’s last contest and Maverick fans hope he doesn’t miss many more.
Defense of the week: North Dakota State ranks in the top 4 in scoring defense, opponent field goal percentage, and opponent 3-point percentage. The Bison are holding their opponents to 68.8 points per game along with 41.5 percent from the field and 29.3 percent from beyond the arc. NDSU is 0-4 so far this season but held two top 12 programs in the nation to 70 points or fewer. Dave Richman’s crew held No. 11 Creighton to 69 points and in the Blue Jays’ other two games this season they’ve scored 90 points or more. The Bison followed that defensive performance up by holding No. 7 Kansas to 65 points. The Jayhawks had scored 90, 94, 65, and 89 points entering the game against NDSU. The Bison may rank last in the league in offense but their defense is keeping them in games so far in 2020-21.