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Jay’s Summit League Ballot

Another season of Summit League basketball is in the books, and that means it’s time to honor the top players and coaches in the conference.

The official postseason awards will be unveiled Thursday during the annual Tip-Off Press Conference at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center, but I’m sharing my ballot with you a little early.

Keep in mind, these are my opinions. They are based solely on the basketball I’ve seen played this season.    

In other words, I just call it like I see it.

Men

Freshman of the Year

Kevin Obanor, Oral Roberts

Newcomer of the Year

Vinnie Shahid, North Dakota State

  • Voter’s Note: I almost went with South Dakota’s Cody Kelley here. It took a while for the Wyoming graduate transfer to get up to speed with the Coyotes, but he played his best basketball over the last month of the regular season.

Defensive Player of the Year

Brandon Gilbeck, Western Illinois

  • Voter’s Note: Tevin King (SDSU) got very strong consideration here. In the end, it came down to the fact that Gilbeck, who leads the nation in total blocks, impacts an opponent’s offense more than anyone else in the league.  

Sixth Man of the Year

Kevin Obanor, Oral Roberts

Player of the Year

Mike Daum, South Dakota State

  • Voter’s Note: While this may seem like an automatic to most, it really wasn’t. Purdue Fort Wayne’s John Konchar is an elite talent in his own right, and recently became the first player in NCAA Division I history to surpass 2,000 career points, 1,000 rebounds, 500 assists and 200 career steals. Frankly, I wish I could have split my vote in half.

Coach of the Year

Derrin Hansen, Omaha

All-League Team
  • Mike Daum, South Dakota State
  • John Konchar, Purdue Fort Wayne
  • Zach Jackson, Omaha
  • Stanley Umude, South Dakota
  • Kevin Obanor, Oral Roberts
  • David Jenkins, South Dakota State
  • Mitch Hahn, Omaha
  • Skyler Flatten, South Dakota State
  • Triston Simpson, South Dakota
  • Vinnie Shahid, North Dakota State
  • Cortez Seales, North Dakota
All-Newcomer Team
  • Kevin Obanor, Oral Roberts
  • Vinnie Shahid, North Dakota State
  • Cody Kelley, South Dakota
  • Matt Holba, Purdue Fort Wayne
  • Alex Arians, South Dakota State

 

Women

Freshman of the Year

Danni Nichols, Western Illinois

Newcomer of the Year

Hannah Sjerven, South Dakota

Defensive Player of the Year

Allison Arens, South Dakota

Sixth Woman of the Year

Hannah Sjerven, South Dakota

Player of the Year

Macy Miller, South Dakota State

  • Voter’s Note: Like the men’s award, I really wrestled with this one. Miller’s career has been nothing short of incredible. She’s already the all-time leading scorer at South
    Dakota State and will be soon for The Summit League, so it's hard to argue with anyone who wants to immediately pencil her in as the conference’s top player. But South Dakota’s Ciara Duffy is absolutely in that conversation. All she did was finish in the top five in the conference in scoring (16.6 ppg), 3-point percentage (43.9%), free throw percentage (88.1%) and assists (3.6 apg).  

Coach of the Year

Dawn Plitzuweit, South Dakota

  • Voter’s Note: I'm fully prepared to get some push back on this one. The easy choice would be South Dakota State’s Aaron Johnston, who just guided the Jackrabbits to a 15-1 mark conference play and a sixth regular season Summit League title. But when you’ve got your school's all-time leading scorer and three-point shooter, you’re expected to win a lot of games. The thing that separates Plitzuweit a bit is the fact that she had to replace two starters, as well as last year’s defensive player of the year/sixth woman of the year. In the face of that, the Coyotes got better. Did they win all of their conference games like they did a year ago? No. But they did enjoy their most successful non-conference season in the Division I era, which included the program’s first two wins over AP Top 25 teams (vs. Iowa State, at Missouri). They also became the first Summit League team since 2009 to crack that poll, eventually climbing as high as No. 23. I understand and respect the argument for A.J. here. It’s certainly valid. The Jackrabbits played an even tougher schedule than the Coyotes. They pushed national powers like Baylor and Oregon. But they didn’t win. If they had, there would be no argument from me or anyone else.

All-League Team
  • Macy Miller, South Dakota State
  • Ciara Duffy, South Dakota
  • Madison Nelson, Denver
  • Allison Arens, South Dakota
  • Tagyn Larson, South Dakota State
  • Hannah Sjerven, South Dakota
  • Madison Guebert, South Dakota State
  • Lexi Klabo, North Dakota
  • Lakota Beatty, Oral Roberts
  • Maya Mayberry, Oral Roberts
  • Taylor Higginbotham, Western Illinois
All-Newcomer Team
  • Hannah Sjerven, South Dakota
  • Rylie Torrey, Oral Roberts
  • Paiton Burckhard, South Dakota State
  • Danni Nichols, Western Illinois
  • Sh’Toya Sanders, Purdue Fort Wayne
Filed Under Basketball | College | North Dakota State University | South Dakota State University | University of North Dakota | University of South Dakota