Probably about a week late on these awards but it’s worth looking back anyways. Usually, we use the Reaching the Summit voters and will for the end of the year awards, but I alone am to blame here. Here are my picks for the Reaching the Summit Mid-Season Awards
Player of the Year
As I looked at this award it comes down to 2 players and frankly after a lot of back and forth I couldn’t decide between the two. Frankly, I don’t think it’s a cop-out either. Both players are just deserving. They play on the two most accomplished teams in the league so far, both have equal impact on those winning programs, and statistically, both have an equal argument.
Guard Max Abmas Oral Roberts
Guard Baylor Scheierman South Dakota State
Abmas: Last year’s Summit League player of the year last season and preseason player of the year this year, has not disappointed. In fact, in many ways, Abmas is exceeding last year’s incredible season. Abmas continues to dominate on the scoring end and has increased his assist and rebounding averages from last year. Abmas is averaging 23.1 points per game along with 4 assists and 3.5 rebounds on the season. Abmas leads the Summit League in scoring and is second in assists.
Scheierman: One selection for player of the year is one of the best scorers to ever play in the Summit League and is joined by one of the most complete players ever to play in the Summit League. Scheierman leads the league in rebounding, leads the league in assists, leads the league in steals, and is top 10 in scoring. Scheierman does everything at a high level. Oh and while Scheierman isn’t top 5 in scoring, he is one of the most efficient players in the league and is 2nd in field goal percentage in the league. On the season Scheierman is averaging 14.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.6 steals.
All-Summit First Team
Guard Trenton Massner Western Illinois 16.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.9 assists
Guard KJ Hunt Denver 15.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists
Forward Rocky Kreuser North Dakota State 15.5 points, 7.9 rebounds
Forward Douglas Wilson South Dakota State 14.2 points, 5.3 rebounds
Typically the All-Summit 1st Team is 5 players but with co-players of the year, 4 players are the 1st team. While Scheierman gets more publicity, Massner and Hunt are on this team for their all-around play as well. Massner is 5th in the league in scoring, 8th in rebounding, and is 3rd in assists. Frankly, if Massner gets mentioned in the player of the year conversations it’s deserved. Hunt has some similar numbers this year. So far this season Hunt is 6th in the Summit League in scoring, 5th in assists, and top 20 in rebounding. There may be some arguing about additional guards being on the 1st team but I am of the belief that it makes sense to have some big men on the team as well, not to mention it’s hard to argue with the numbers and impact of Kreuser and Wilson this season. Both players are top 10 scorers and two of the best rebounders in the league, Kreuser.
All-Summit 2nd Team
Guard Anders Nelson St. Thomas 17 points, 3.7 assists, and 3.4 rebounds
Guard Riley Miller St. Thomas 17.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists
Guard Kruz Perrot-Hunt South Dakota 14.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists
Forward Grant Nelson North Dakota State 12.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks
Forward Will Carius Western Illinois 16.9 points, 3.2 rebounds
Nelson and Miller are 2nd and 3rd in the Summit League in scoring. So one could argue that they belong on the first team. I went with the more well-rounded performance of Hunt and Massner instead. Miller is one of the best shooters, if not the best shooter in college basketball. Miller isn’t far behind when it comes to shooting. Both have made the transition from Division 3 basketball to Division 1 basketball seamlessly and certainly belong on the second team in my opinion. It was asked who would replace the scoring of Stanley Umude and AJ Plitzuweit on this year’s South Dakota squad and both Perrot-Hunt and Mason Archambault have been up to the task. In fact, in deciding for me it was between the two for this spot. Perrot-Hunt has put up numbers more consistently throughout the season, so Perrot-Hunt it is. Nelson is sidelined with an injury, and this will likely mean he won’t make the postseason team but his first half of the season lands him on the 2nd team. Carius is an elite scorer and one of the best in the conference. Carius is currently 4th in the Summit in scoring.
Newcomer of the Year
Guard Trenton Massner Western Illinois
Much of what has made Massner special this year has been described above. A multi-dimensional, do-everything guard who has easily had the biggest impact of any newcomer in the Summit this year. Massner joined the Leathernecks from Northwestern State this season.
Freshman of the Year
Guard Paul Bruns North Dakota
Bruns has provided scoring punch sorely needed by the Fighting Hawks. The freshman out of South Dakota has looked anything but, poised, confident, and able to finish better than most freshmen entering the league. Bruns is the leading freshman scorer and is second in freshman rebounding to Grant Nelson of North Dakota State.
All-Summit Newcomer Team
Guard Trenton Massner Western Illinois
Guard KJ Hunt Denver
Guard Paul Bruns North Dakota 13.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.2 assists
Guard Evan Gilyard Kansas City 13.1 points, 2.8 assists, 1.2 steals
Forward Luka Barisic Western Illinois 13.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists
The all newcomer team is transfer heavy this year. Newcomer of the year Massner leads the group of transfers but there are many impact transfers this year. Hunt is a transfer from Morehead State. Much of Hunt’s season was described above, but Hunt has jumped at the opportunity to be a primary scorer after being mostly a distributor at Morehead State. Barisic transferred from UTSA where he was used mostly in a reserve role. He has shown that the spotlight is not too bright and he was built for it. I was close to putting Barisic on my all-summit 2nd team so he certainly could find himself there by the end of the year. Gilyard is a transfer from New Mexico State and is relishing his role as Kansas City’s lead scorer. Gilyard is capable of some of the most explosive scoring games in the Summit. Gilyard has scored 28 or more points 3 times this season.
All-Summit Freshmen Team
Guard Paul Bruns North Dakota
Guard Zeke Mayo South Dakota State 9.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists
Guard Tevin Smith Denver 9.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.2 blocks
Forward Frankie Fidler Omaha 9.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 38% from 3
Forward Grant Nelson North Dakota State
Mayo has been a revelation recently. In fact, with his recent trajectory, he may find himself the freshmen of the year by the end of the year. Since the absence of Noah Freidel, Mayo is averaging 13 points per game in his last 5 games, his first starts of the season. Smith not only has been good on the offensive end and a solid rebounder, but the freshmen guard also leads the Summit League in total blocks this season. Fidler has been a bright spot for Omaha this season and gives the Mavericks a bright future. Nelson is the only 2nd-year freshman on this list.