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Thursday, March 02, 2006 | Men's Basketball
Wichita State's Miller, Turgeon Named Player, Coach of the Year
After helping Wichita State win its first regular-season title in 23 years, Paul Miller has been named the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year by a vote of league coaches, media and sports information directors. Miller is the first Shocker since 1985 to earn Valley Player of the Year plaudits (Xavier McDaniel). In fact, he's only the third Wichita State player to earn the award (Antoine Carr, 1983, and McDaniel in 1984 and 1985) since the MVC began selecting a Player of the Year in 1969.
Meanwhile, Wichita State's Mark Turgeon has been named the Missouri Valley Conference's Rawlings Coach of the Year by a vote of the league’s coaches and media. Turgeon, in his sixth year with the Shockers, becomes the first Wichita State head coach to earn the league's top honor since Eddie Fogler shared the award with Tulsa's J.D. Barnett in 1987.
Under Turgeon's leadership, Wichita State has earned the top seed for the State Farm MVC Tournament for the first time since 1981. After being picked fifth in the league's pre-season poll, the Shockers won the title (14-4 in the MVC) by a margin of two games. It marked the first regular-season title for Wichita State in 23 seasons (1983).
LARRY BIRD PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Paul Miller, WSU
2006 All-MVC Men’s Basketball Team
Blake Ahearn, Missouri State, Jr., Gd.
Karon Bradley, Wichita State, Jr., Gd.
Josh Dotzler, Creighton, Gd.
All-Defensive Team (selected by coaches)
PJ Couisnard, Wichita State, So., G/F
Miller leads the Shockers in both scoring and rebounding and is one just five players in the league to rank in the top 10 in both categories. He is the league's active career leader in rebounds, with 690, and he has 1,245 career points -- one of seven current Valley players to have eclipsed the 1,000-point mark.
Miller has helped the Shockers to a 14-4 conference record and a 23-7 overall mark. The 14 conference wins are the most for a Wichita State team since the 1983 team won the regular-season title with a 17-1 record. The 23 wins are the most at Wichita State since that 1983 team won 25 contests en route to a 25-3 overall mark.
The league's Newcomer of the Year is Nick Porter of Creighton. In his first year as a Bluejay, the junior from Compton, Calif., has averaged 9.6 points and 4.9 rebounds. He started 23 of Creighton's 27 regular-season contests and his role steadily increased throughout the season due to injuries to the Creighton backcourt. Porter was fourth-best among all first-year players in scoring and fifth-best in rebounding.
This year's Freshman of the Year is Bryan Mullins of Southern Illinois. Mullins was inserted into the Saluki starting lineup after SIU started the season 1-2, and he helped Southern Illinois run off an 11-game winning streak to improve to 13-3 in mid-January. He is the first freshman in the history of the league to lead the conference in steals, with 83 in 29 games for a 2.86 average.
Patrick O'Bryant of Bradley highlights the five-person all-Defense Team and is this year's Defensive Player of the Year. The 7-footer from Blaine (Minn.) High leads the conference with 3.1 blocks per game, and will become the first Valley player to top the conference in blocked shots per-game average in back-to-back seasons since Chad Gallagher of Creighton led the league in successive seasons in 1990 and 1991.
For the 10th-consecutive season, the league's head coaches selected a "Sixth Man Award" recipient, and this season’s honor goes to Missouri State's Kellen Easley. The honor is presented to the league's top reserve player (one who has started fewer than 25 percent of his team's games). Easley started just one game this season, but averaged 8.7 points and 5.6 rebounds in helping the Bears post their first 20-win season since 1999-00.
In addition to the specialty awards, the conference announced it's all-conference units (first-team, second-team and honorable mention), all-newcomer team, all-freshman team, and all-defense team -- as selected by the league coaches.
2005-06 MEN'S BASKETBALL