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With the OVC set to announce their all-conference teams tomorrow (on Twitter? Seriously? That sounds like something I’d do…) I figure I’d announce my end of season awards.

If for no other reason so that I can complain when there’s are released tomorrow.

Player of the Year: G Isaiah Canaan (Murray State) 19.4 PPG, 3.8 APG, 3.2 RPG, 1.4 SPG

Canaan has been the lifeblood of one of the best teams in the schools, and the OVC’s history. Kevin Murphy may have outscored Canaan this year, but took 131 more shots in doing so. Canaan was an outstanding 48.4% from 3-point range, and finished 2nd in the OVC in both scoring and assists, while also finishing in the top 10 in steals, free throw percentage, and in assist to turnover ratio. He’s been an outstanding player in all facets of the game, and I would be amazed if anybody else won this award this season.

Rest of the First Team (in alphabetical order)

F Robert Covington (Tennessee State) 18.1 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 1.6 SPG, 1.3 APG, 1.3 BPG

In TSU’s first game this season, Covington finished with just 9 points. It was his only single-digit scoring night of the season. Much like Dillard, Covington was a consistent scorer and rebounder, who finished with 9 double-doubles on the season. He was a great shooter, with surprising range, who also hit big shots late to help his team be the only team to down the Racers. Covington was a great defensive threat, finishing in the top 5 in the conference in both steals and block.

G/F  Jud Dillard (Tennessee Tech) 18.0 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 1.0 SPG, 1.2 APG

Dillard was 2nd in the OVC in rebounding, 4th in scoring, and while he didn’t have the amazing games that teammate Kevin Murphy did, Dillard was a consistent double-digit scorer who had 8 double-doubles on the season. He wasn’t flashy, but he was a consistent threat night in and night out for the Golden Eagles.

G Kevin Murphy (Tennessee Tech) 20.6 PPG, 2.4 APG, 5.5 RPG

2 players from a 9-7 team? Yep. There was a point this season where I criticized Murphy’s inconsistent play, which at the time was true. Then he put together a streak of 6 games where he averaged 30 points, including the first (and only?) 50 point performance in college basketball this season against SIU Edwardsville. And when Murphy did struggle, so did his team, only showing how valuable he was to the Golden Eagles.

F Tyler Stone (SEMO) 14.3 PPG, 7.1 RPG

This is likely the first of my picks that will raise some eyebrows. Not Leon Powell? I hear you saying. Stone outscored Powell, out rebounded Powell, didn’t foul out of a single contest compared to 6 for Powell, shot 10% better from the free throw line than Powell, even committed fewer turnovers. Powell will likely get the nod over Stone because everyone knew who he was going into this season. But Stone was the better player this year, and that’s why he gets my first-team nod.


Second Team Selections (in alphabetical order)

C John Fraley (Austin Peay) 11.9 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 1.6 BPG
G Jaron Jones (Eastern Kentucky) 16.7 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 1.9 APG 1.5 SPG
F Leon Powell (SEMO) 10.9 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 1.3 BPG
G Zac Swansey (Tennessee Tech) 8.2 PPG, 5.9 APG, 2.2 SPG
F Mark Yelovich (SIU Edwardsville) 14.9 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 1.2 APG, 1.0 SPG

Fraley was a near first-team selection in my mind, but the injury-shortened season and more consistent scoring gave the edge to Stone in my mind. Jones is one of the best surprises in the conference this year, but there were just too many dominant guards. Powell might have underachieved expectations, but he’s still a solid player. Swansey is the best passer in the league, and surprisingly quick on both sides of the ball. He makes an excellent point guard. Yelovich could get looked over by many, for the simple fact that he played in Edwardsville, for a team that wasn’t tournament-eligible, but that shouldn’t overshadow an otherwise solid season.


Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order)

F Ivan Aska (Murray State) 11.3 PPG, 5.8 RPG – Lost 6 games to Injury
G Kris Davis (SIU Edwardsville) 11.7 PPG, 2.5 APG, 2.7 RPG – Outstanding Freshman, amazing shooter (59.8% from 3)
G Jeremy Granger (Eastern Illinois) 15.9 PPG, 3.0 APG, 3.4 RPG, 1.0 SPG – Solid Player, just a good year for guards.
F Alfonzo McKinnie (Eastern Illinois) 10.2 PPG, 7.0 RPG – Just a sophomore, good rebounder.
G Donte Poole (Murray State) 13.9 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2.0 SPG, 1.5 APG 2nd in OVC in Steals, underrated defender.

Freshman of the Year –
Myles Taylor (UT Martin) 13.7 PPG, 5.2 RPG.

I nearly gave this to Kris Davis, but I feel Taylor is a bit more complete, where as Davis is mostly a great shooter. He pulled down solid numbers despite just playing 24.4 minutes a game this year (often to foul trouble) The next step for him is to become a bit more athletic to pull down rebounds and provide more help defensively, but he a rising a star on a team that mighty struggled this season.


Coach of the Year – Steve Prohm (Murray State)

Not much of a debate here. A small case could be made for John Cooper at Tennessee State, but you simply can’t argue with 28-1 in my mind.


OVC Ball Unsung Hero – Mike Liabo (UT Martin) 15.3 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 2.6 APG

There are a lot of reason to knock Liabo, given his team’s 0-16 performance in conference play this year, but Liabo was thrown 2 major curveballs: his own injury over the past summer, and the injury to his team’s point guard, forcing Liabo to play a different role this season than he likely expected. He even lost his starting spot 3 games into the season. Yet he persevered, and led the Skyhawks in scoring posting 6 20+ scoring games. All in all, not a bad year personally, given all that he went through.


Teams left off: Morehead State, Jacksonville State

These teams had good years, and did so without a true “star,” a testament to great teamwork.

  1. msueagles24:
    The fact that Drew Kelly is no where on this list is a travesty. Kelly averaged 6.4 points per game and 4.0 rebounds before the Hill injury, since he has averaged 13.8 points per game and 5.7 boards. He started the year as a player who was passive to a player demanding the ball. He is a more unsung hero that Mike Liabo. How can an 0-16 team have an unsung hero of the conference??? Also can not argue with Coach of the Year, but I would argue Donnie Tyndall before John Cooper. If Murray State had not gone on their huge run and getting ranks, you have to give DT strong consideration giving that this team lost Faried, Harper, Goodman, and then lose Hill 15 games into the season, to still finish 3rd? It's either a testament to the program or shows how weak this conference really is. I think it is the former.
  2. You make a very good point on Tyndall, honestly, and you're right, you could make an argument for him had Prohm not had the season he had at Murray. As for Kelly, I did consider him, but he missed honorable mention based on the season as a whole. I agree that what he's done since Hill has been out has been impressive, but he didn't do enough before that point. He was also considered for Unsung Hero, but simply put, Liabo has gone through more adversity than Kelly in my mind. Not only was UTM's top player injured (like Morehead's) but Liabo himself  was hurt this summer and played on a team that put it kindly, not very good. Simply put, in my mind, he went through more adversity than Kelly, hence why I gave the award (which I made up) to him.
  3. Lee Hargis:
    Who is your Defensive Player of the Year & what would be your All-Defensive 1st Team? I'm just curious
OVC Ball
Compiling all OVC non-conference games

2016 Football Standings

OVC Overall
Jacksonville State 7-0 10-2
UT Martin 6-2 7-5
Tennessee Tech 5-3 5-6
Tennessee State 4-3 7-4
Eastern Illinois 4-4 6-5
Murray State 4-4 4-7
SEMO 3-5 3-8
Eastern Kentucky 2-6 3-8
Austin Peay 0-8 0-11

2016-17 Basketball Standings

OVC Overall


Belmont 15-1 23-7
Morehead State 10-6 14-16
Jacksonville State 9-7 20-15
Tennessee State 8-8 17-13
Tennessee Tech 8-8 12-20
Eastern Kentucky 5-11 12-19


UT Martin 10-6 22-13
SEMO 9-7 15-18
Murray State 8-8 16-17
Austin Peay 7-9 11-19
Eastern Illinois 6-10 14-15
SIUE 1-15 6-24