Feb. 26, 2007
Bearcats Land Three on 2007 All-MIAA Team; Tappmeyer Earns Coach of the YearOVERLAND PARK, Kan. - No. 15 Northwest Missouri State men's basketball, co-champions of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA), was represented with three student-athletes on the 2007 All-MIAA Team to go along with MIAA Coach of the Year, Steve Tappmeyer, which was announced today by the league offices. Sophomore Hunter Henry (Lenexa, Kan.) was the MIAA Player of the Year as well as one of two unanimous picks on the First Team; red-shirt freshman Lance Sullivan (Columbus, Ohio) was the MIAA Freshman of the Year in addition to Second Team honors; junior John Hawkins (Independence, Mo.) gathered All-Defensive Team accolades.
"These awards are well deserved and I am pleased for all three of the players," said Tappmeyer. "These guys recognize that the awards were based on the team and could not have come without the players and success around them."
Tappmeyer has taken his team to a 22-5 overall record and a share of the MIAA title with Central Missouri. The Bearcats have been ranked as high as No. 11 (Jan. 9) in the NABC Coaches' Poll and are currently No. 15 having won nine of their last 10. Sitting at No. 3 in the South Central Region poll (Jan. 21), Northwest was picked to finish fifth (tie) in the MIAA Coaches' Preseason poll after returning just one starter from a 2005-06 club to make it to the Sweet 16. This award is Tappmeyer's fourth such honor having shared it his first season (1988-89) and claiming it outright in 1997-98 and 2000-01.
Henry enters the MIAA Tournament ranked second in the league in field goal percentage (.582), third in scoring (17.7), fourth in rebounding (7.8), sixth in blocked shots (1.15) and 10th in free throw percentage (.755). He currently stands with a 23-game streak of scoring 10-plus points and has nine double-doubles to his credit on the year. His career-high 33 point effort against Washburn (Feb. 14) ties for the single-game high in the conference and personal-best 16-rebound performance versus Fort Hays State (Feb. 24) ties for 10th all-time on the single-game list at Northwest.
In available records, Henry is the fourth Bearcat in history to win the prestigious MVP award. Kelvin Parker won it in 2004 as well as the Defensive MVP. Shakey Harrington did so in 1998 while Carl Jenkins did it in 1971.
"The one thing I am the most pleased about was Hunter's consistency," said Tappmeyer. "I can't remember a night in the MIAA when he had a bad night. He was always the No. 1 guy on every team's scouting report. Not only is he a great player, but he is such a quality young man and well-grounded."
Sullivan becomes the first Bearcat to be the Freshman of the Year since Matt Redd was named in 1996 -- the only other in Bearcat history. The Wheeling Jesuit (W.V.) University transfer finished the regular season as the top scoring MIAA freshman (11.3) and averaged 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals per contest. In league statistics, Sullivan ranked eighth in steals, eighth in 3-pointers made (1.70/game) and ninth in 3-point percentage (.362). He tied for 10th in the Northwest record books with 10 assists in the double-overtime win over Washburn (Feb. 14). He has gone over 10 points in 14 games including a career-best 24 on 9-of-15 shooting in the upset win over No. 2 Central Missouri (Feb. 3).
In his first season as a Bearcat, Hawkins has seen his playing time increase near the stretch run. Typically the first or second player off the bench, he has averaged 28 minutes in his last 10 games -- up from his 20.0 minutes per game average on the year. He ranks fifth on the team in steals (29) and is part of a defensive unit to rank first in the MIAA in field goal percentage defense (.403) and scoring defense (59.2).
Northwest secured the No. 1 seed in the MIAA Tournament to be played at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City. The Bearcats will take on No. 8-seed Missouri Southern on Thursday at 12 p.m. in the opening round. The two teams split the season series.
Theo Jones of Central Missouri was tabbed the MIAA Defensive Player of the Year to round out the major awards. A complete list of the All-MIAA Teams can be found at www.themiaa.com.
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