The All-Missouri Valley Conference teams come out Tuesday. Wichita State’s Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet will be on the first team. Tekele Cotton is a likely choice and Darius Carter will probably be a second-teamer.
Cotton should win his second straight Defensive Player of the Year honor to join Southern Illinois’ Ashraf Amaya, Illinois State’s Dan Muller, SIU’s Darren Brooks and SIU’s Bryan Mullins as two-time winners.
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Baker and VanVleet will become the 15th and 16th Shockers with two or more first-team honors. That sets up senior seasons in which they can join Cleo Littleton (four), Dave Stallworth, Warren Armstrong, Robert Elmore and Xavier McDaniel (three) as Shockers with more than two All-MVC seasons.
The MVC’s Coach of the Year award is announced Thursday. Coach Gregg Marshall’s chances of passing Henry Iba, which is about as good a marker as a coach can set, are above-average.
Marshall enjoys a good shot at his fourth straight MVC Coach of the Year honor, an unprecedented run since the Valley began that award in 1949. However, there will be support for Northern Iowa’s Ben Jacobson and his team’s rise from 10-8 last season to 16-2. He also stands a good chance to win, and grab his third COY honor.
It usually goes to the championship coach (although Marshall won in 2013 after finishing second). Loyola’s Porter Moser will pick up votes for his team’s improvement, despite losing star guard Milton Doyle to injury for most of the MVC schedule.
Should Marshall win, he will tie Drake’s Maury John for the most COY honors in the MVC (John did not win his in consecutive seasons). Iba and Ken Hayes are the only other coaches with three.
UNI’s Seth Tuttle will win Player of the Year. Baker and VanVleet finished strong and probably made some voters think more about the choice than they would have a month ago. In my mind, and in the minds of most voters I’ve talked to, it’s hard to pass up a 6-foot-9 center who makes 63 percent of his shots, 44 percent of his threes and ranks in the top four of the conference in scoring, rebounds and assists, all while leading his team to a No. 10 national ranking.
VanVleet can come back as a senior with a chance to be the first player to win two Larry Bird awards in non-consecutive seasons.
Some other MVC ballots: