Today, we honor the top individual players and there should be no surprises to who we've named. Find out who took home the hardware right here in the Can Ball Report's NC-Double-Eh Player of the Year Awards ...
NC-Double-Eh (co)Player(s) of the Year
Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure
Key Stats: 20.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1 apg, 1.5 bpg, 57.1 FG%, 71.1 FT%, 33.8 mpg
Major Honors: All Atlantic 10 First Team, USBWA District II First Team, NABC All District IV First Team
Tyler Murray, Wagner
Key Stats: 16.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.5 spg, 1.3 spg, 43.9 FG%, 82.8 FT%, 41.5 3PT FG%
Major Awards: All Northeast Conference First Team, USBWA All District XVIII First Team
This season, there were no two players that were more important to their teams than Andrew Nicholson and Tyler Murray. Though others may have garnered more attention and honors, these two players were the heart and souls of their respective teams.
Predicted to finish last in the Atlantic 10 in the pre season standings, Nicholson led St. Bonaventure to 16-15 record this year ahead of storied conference programs like UMass, Saint Joseph’s and a 22 win Dayton team. He became the focal point of the offense and showed that he was a big time talent particularly late in games when he would carry the Bonnies on his back to some late game wins, some of which were in multiple overtime sessions like the quadruple overtime win over Ohio. Nicholson led his team in scoring, rebounds and blocks and looked like he was turning into the star that his coach predicted he’d be after his freshman season.
Murray on the other hand helped Wagner to a 6 game turnaround in the Northeast Conference (9-9), and an 8 game improvement overall (13-17). Murray displayed an all around game that was hidden before this year and it earned him a leadership role on his team as well as the respect of opponents. He led the team in scoring and steals while placing second in both rebounds and assists.
Both players ranked in the top ten in their respective conferences in several statistical categories including scoring, rebounding, field goal percentage and free throw percentage.
Runner Up – Tristan Thompson, Texas
NC-Double-Eh Rookie of the Year
Tristan Thompson, Texas
Key Stats: 13.1 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.3 apg, 0.9 spg, 2.4 bpg, 54.6 FG%, 30.9 mpg
Major Awards: All Big 12 Second Team, All Big 12 Freshman of the Year, Big 12 All Rookie Team, All Big 12 Defensive Team USBWA All District VII Team, NABC All District XXIV First Team, Honorable Mention All American
We had said at the beginning of the season that if Cory Joseph wasn’t the NC-Double-Eh Rookie of the Year, it would be Tristan Thompson. Well, it’s Tristan Thompson. He had an incredible season for Texas giving them a legit post presence on offense and defense that helped get the Longhorns to the NCAA Tournament. He handled himself well all season having very few down games and when he played against some of the top tier teams he would play at his best, like the double-doubles he had against Michigan State, Kansas State, Texas A&M and Baylor, twice. He was named Big 12 Conference Rookie of the Year, 2nd Team All Big 12 and was even an honorable mention All American and thus there is no player more deserving of this honor this season.
Runner Up – Cory Joseph, Texas
NC-Double-Eh Defensive of the Year
Tristan Thompson, Texas
There was no other defensive player this season that had more of an effect on the defensive end than Tristan Thompson. He’s been the middle man that Texas needed this year and he made sure that every player coming down the lane or putting up a shot within 10 feet had to think twice about the long arm of the block. He’s mobile enough to guard the perimeter and big enough to defend in the paint, all of which he did very well as a freshman game after game. There is no doubt that Thompson was the best NC-Double-Eh defensive player this season.
Runner Up – Olu Ashaolu, Louisiana Tech
NC-Double-Eh Most Improved Player of the Year
Tyler Murray, Wagner
Tyler Murray last season was a productive guy on the team. This season, he’s the most productive guy on the team. Murray had improved every aspect of this game and it shows in his stats where he’s improved in every category. He’s almost doubled his point total from a year ago as well as improving a full rebound per game. He has shot a better percentage from both the floor and the free throw line and all while playing 37.1 minutes per game which is up by 7 minutes. To cap it all off, Murray was the first option on offense and would often draw the best perimeter defender or have zones geared to stop him. Without a doubt, he deserves this award more than any other player in the 2010-11 season.
Runner Up - Nemanja Mitrovic, Portland