The WCU men’s basketball team wrapped up its tumultuous season last week by losing to Millerville 90-81 and adding to a skid that saw them drop seven of their final eight games. The team says goodbye to seven seniors this year but they are already looking forward to next season. Point guard Kevin Stokes said, “I’m probably going to take a week off or so, then we’re going to start lifting together to get better for next season.” Officially, the team doesn’t start conditioning drills until next semester. However, it is a good bet to assume this team won’t be too rusty heading into next season. With that being said, let’s take a look back at the season by doling out a few individual awards.
Rookie of the Year:
Winner: PG Kenneth St. George
Runner-up: SF Sam Scott
St. George is the runaway winner for this award. The freshman stepped into the Rams starting lineup a few games into the season and never looked back. St. George averaged 10.4 points per game in addition to 2.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists (to go with it.) He also picked up head coach Dick Delaney’s offense rather quickly and has already established himself as one of the more vocal leaders on the team. Scott gets the runner-up for the outstanding hustle and spark he provided off the bench. The freshman appeared in 17 games in his rookie season.
Sixth Man Of The Year:
Winner: PG Kevin Stokes
Runner-up: SF/PF Nathan Wingerd
Wingerd gets the edge over Stokes in almost every statistical category, but on a team that struggled with finding scoring from its bench, the stats aren’t as big an indicator of Stokes’ play. Stokes displayed outstanding defense throughout the year, even when matched up with much bigger guards. Stokes averaged nearly a full steal per game in limited minutes, with only 15.6 per game. Wingerd also averaged 15.6 minutes per contest and added 5 points per game and 2.4 rebounds.
Defensive Player of the Year
Winner: PF Lenwood Greenwood
Runner-up: C/PF Aaron Williams
Greenwood gets the edge for his better play down the final stretch of the season. The junior forward was the team’s rebounder in six of the final eight games, stepping up his game when Williams was injured and not playing at full strength. Had it not been for his slower than usual second half, Williams would have been a clear-cut winner for this award. Greenwood averaged nearly two rebounds less than Williams over the course of the season but did it in four to five minutes less per night.
Offensive Player of the Year
Winner: C/PF Aaron Williams
Runner-up: Donnell Butler
If we couldn’t give Williams the defensive player award we should probably give him the offensive player honors. Williams averaged 14.3 points per game. He also attempted and made the most free throws on a per game basis. His field goal percentage of 61.2 percent trumped his closest competitor, Greenwood, by 10.5 percent. Butler was the most versatile piece of the Rams’ offense. He was a player who could either go inside with his 6’5″ frame and get to the line nearly four times per game, or he could step back from outside the arc and be one of the more feared three point shooters on the team.
Most Valuable Player
Winner: C/PF Aaron Williams
Runner-up: PF Lenwood Greenwood
This was the easiest choice other than the rookie of the year award. Williams averaged 14.3 points, 10.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game, all while playing around 35 minutes per game. Perhaps the most telling stat about Williams is that when he was injured early in the second-half in a double overtime loss to Kutztown and was never the same for the remainder of the season, the Rams proceeded to lose seven of their last eight games and played their way out a playoff spot. Greenwood averaged 11.6 points per game and 8.7 rebounds to become the team’s second best inside player. He also saw his offensive game grow by leaps and bounds and projects to be a 15 point, 12 rebound kind of player next season.
While the Golden Rams will lose the leadership of seven seniors , the opportunity exists for players to step up and fill the roles of Williams, Butler, Werdt, Wingerd, Geiger and Westmorland. If players such as St. George, Scott, Caldwell and others play to their roles and buy into Head Coach Dick elaney’s system early in the season, there is no reason why this club can’t compete for a division title in 2008.