“This year” player-of-the-year was difficult. Our heart said Bryce Leavitt, our brain said Andy Avgi, and then the numbers said Travante. We get that Andy was surrounded by tons of talented guys and so he didn’t get the focus that he might have, but with our formula that doesn’t matter and this guy epitomizes that. Consistency, commitment to fundamentals, and unselfish play wins the day. Travante took charge of the offense, played defense, made the most of his minutes, and we had a blast watching him this season.
Our GNAC Player-of-the-Year is Travante Williams, University of Alaska-Fairbanks, senior.
When it came down to it, the numbers weren’t close. Travante was nominated for player of the week almost every single week via his efficient shooting, made free-throws, rebounding, and doing the little things. We’re sad that we only got a year with him, but still thank him for bringing his talent to the GNAC and doing so consistently night in and night out.
Congrats Travante!! Good luck overseas!
Alright, we’re back. We know there’s plenty to discuss, but first and foremost:
Our GNAC Men’s Basketblog All-Conference teams. This year pretty much any guy that hit above our minimum for nomination got nominated because in there were tons of at-large spots available. The guys named below are truly a cut above:
Travante Williams -Alaska-Fairbanks; Sr.
Suki Wiggs -Alaska-Anchorage; Jr.
Bryce Leavitt -Seattle Pacific; Sr.
Andy Avgi -Western Oregon; Sr.
Yes. Only four guys are being named to our first team. We heavily debated whether or not to include Brian McGill, but ultimately came to the conclusion that these are collegiate athletics. He didn’t pay close enough attention to his schooling, missed half a season because of it, and it is what it is.
Corey Hammell -Alaska-Anchorage; Jr.
Mitch Penner -Seattle Pacific; Sr.
Julian Nichols -Western Oregon; Sr.
Devon Alexander -Western Oregon; Sr.
Again: We only went with four. Because those four are so far above the rest of the guys that occasionally got nominated for POW. We have all of the numbers right in front of us and we couldn’t justify it; there just wasn’t enough separation outside of the eight you see above. There are guys from each team we love and believe in, but no one more so than those eight. We’re happy to be keeping Suki and Corey -UAA is going to be scaaaary- and while sad, feel blessed having gotten to watch the noted six amazing seniors so closely this season.
Bangaly Kaba, Almir Hadzisehovic, Spencer Svejcar, Brian McGill, Diante Mitchell, Michael Harper, Kyle Impero, Trey Drechsel, Ricardo Maxwell, Fred Jorg, Joe Stroud, Gary Jacobs, Mike Wright, Bouna N’Diaye, Drew Martin, Riley Hawken, and Tanner Omlid.
Sjur Berg -Alaska-Anchorage Fr.
JJ Pankratz -Simon Fraser, RS Soph.
Trey Drechsel -Western Washington, RS Fr.
Riley Hawken -CU-Portland, Fr.
Tanner Omlid -Western Oregon, RS Soph.
There are honestly plenty of other underclassmen that we’re excited to keep watching, but those five had particularly good seasons this year and so we think you should keep an eye on them too.
Tomorrow at 10am we’ll look at Western Oregon’s incredible Final Four run.
It’s that time again… Time for player of the week. To be in consideration guys had to play at least two games in the tournament, and with that we get into the nominees.
UAF: Travante Williams -two good games; 10 rebounds and 23 points against WWU, along with 23 points against WOU before fouling out.
WWU: Ricardo Maxwell -one good, one great game; put the team on his back against UAF, finishing with eight assists and 21 points.
SPU: Mitch Penner -After deferring to David Downs two years ago and Riley Stockton last year, this time it was Mitch’s turn; he finished with 26 points and seven boards against WOU, as well as eight boards and 25 points against CWU.
WOU: Devon Alexander -We’re so proud of him for the way he’s stepped up this year and the tournament was no exception; he received the official conference tournament MVP after having 16 points and 10 rebounds against UAF, as well as 19 points against SPU.
Player of the Week/Conference tournament will be up in an hour. Congrats to all six teams (Central Washington and Alaska Anchorage absolutely included) on six absolutely insane games -best GNAC tournament in many years- and once again: Thanks so much to Saint Martin’s for hosting.
We’ll give you the deets on the Pac-West and CCAA and then do our usual run down of who did what in the GNAC game.
Cal Baptist 101, Azusa Pacific 64
From the GNAC/CBU, Kalidou had seven points and Alex Birketoft had 14, and Joey Schreiber (APU via WWU) had five points. Aside from all of that it was a slaughterfest. We never wanted to say that APU was fully out of it, but… CBU walked it up early and then the Cougars were never coming back. Although we still didn’t believe it going into the second half because anything can happen. Pretty nice rivalry developing between the two programs, so that’s fun.
Humboldt State 80, UC San Diego 68
This is a weird one because UCSD has been part of some really low scoring games and yet the Jacks scored eighty, and so it was kind of this weird suspension of the game was never more than four or so possessions away, but with the way UCSD tends to play it might as well have been ten, and yet reality and so you don’t want to say that. Very, very odd feeling, but super proud of the Jacks -although we still love UCSD and are really excited to watch them in person at the West Regional.
Western Oregon 78, Alaska-Fairbanks 71
Back and forth game until the very end. Really fun to watch. Proud of both teams. We’ll go over our final bracketology stuff in a bit, but… Good game played by both teams.
Nanook highlights: Bangaly had a great game on 8/9 shooting and finished with 19 points and six boards; Joe Slocum finished with 13 points; Travante Williams had a monster game with 23 points; and Brandon Davis had 10 points.
Wolf highlights: Devon Alexander had 16 points and 10 boards; Julian Nichols had four boards and five assists; Jordan Wiley had 16 points and was 5/5 from the line; Andy Avgi had 12 points and six boards; and off the bench Alex Roth went 5/5 from the field, 4/4 from three, and finished with 14 points. Wow.
Really proud of the Wolves for holding Almir to just TWO points and the Nanooks to a collective 20 rebounds -absolutely nuts. Can’t wait to go to Monmouth, very excited for the GNAC to host the tournament again after the dry spell of two full years. Congrats to both teams on a game well played and good luck to the Nooks as they sit on the bubble.
Once again, our biggest of thanks to Saint Martin’s for hosting a fantastic tournament. We look forward to going back next year.
To the blog readers that don’t have a team that ends up continuing in the West Regional -thank-you so much for a brilliant season of loyal readership. Post-season awards will be incoming shortly after the final GNAC-involved men’s basketball game is played for the year.
Up this morning because last night we were celebrating. Pretty sure our alma mater is still headed for an at-large bid, and thanks to the staff at SMU some of the most devastating damage that the former SPU AD had done was finally repaired. Cannot thank the Saints AD enough -wouldn’t have happened without him.
Before talking about our games, let’s check in with the Pac-West and CCAA briefly:
Cal Baptist 90, Dixie State 73
Azusa Pacific 92, BYU-Hawaii 75
Great news for both SPU and Chico State, because the thought is that CBU and APU are both at-large teams.
Humboldt State 79, Cal State LA 54
UCSD 72, Cal Poly Pomona 65
More good news, although slightly frustrating in the same way the GNAC was because you have two at-large teams vs. two auto-bid only teams playing each other. We’ll be rooting like heck for UCSD tonight. Game tips at 5pm; ours starts at 5:30.
Western Washington 90 “@” Alaska-Fairbanks 91
Actually really pleased with this result because the Vikings did a lot of really stupid things and they didn’t deserve to win the game. The number of times we watched them stand around not grabbing the basketball just to have a UAF player come barreling in from way farther away? Congrats to the Nooks on a great performance.
Viking highlights: Ricardo Maxwell had 21 points and eight assists; Kyle Impero had 15 points; Brad Wallace had 14 points and eight boards; Jeffrey Parker had 11 points; and off the bench Brett Kingma had 17 points.
Nanook highlights: Bangaly had seven boards and eight points; Joe Slocum finally got in on the action with 18 points and six boards; Travante Williams had 23 points and 10 boards for the double-double; and Almir Hadzisehovic had 17 points and six boards. Off the bench Neal Chavez had eight points.
If you like defense, this wasn’t the game for you, but we’re super ridiculously proud of the Nanooks -a very deserved win. We look forward to watching them exact some revenge on the Wolves of Western Oregon today.
Seattle Pacific 57 “@” Western Oregon 58
Brutal game for both teams. Back and forth, back and forth. The Wolves #1 seed was never in doubt, but this game would have pushed them in that direction even if it had been. The Falcons… This is what you get for letting off in the latter half of the season. We’re annoyed at them, but as noted above: Can’t get ourselves to care too much, because WOU is a really good team and the Falcons at-large berth should theoretically be safe.
Falcon highlights: Bryce Leavitt had five boards; Brendan Carroll had 14 points and five boards; Gilles Dierickx had seven boards; and Mitch Penner had a monster game with 26 points and seven boards while going 9/9 from the line.
Wolf highlights: Devon Alexander had a monster game with 19 points; Julian Nichols had 14 points; Tanner Omlid had 7 boards; and Andy Avgi had 10 points and seven boards.
Really great defensive grind-it-out. Proud of the Wolves for shutting down Bryce Leavitt, and proud of the Falcons for finally showing some resistance against Andy Avgi. This was very reminiscent of the Chico State and UCSD games, respectively, which is awesome to see before the tournament because those games were both nuts. From here on out, the Wolves and Falcons are BFFs until they meet again, so… We’ll see.
Game preview will be up at noon. We’ll talk about the Pac-West and CCAA briefly too. Probably wait until tomorrow to throw up an official final pre-bracketology post, although we suspect it’ll be discussed in the Conference Championships preview as well.
Congrats to all four teams on a couple of crazy games.
It’s a day later than intended, but oh well. So many great candidates this week, so let’s talk about them!
UAF: Travante -you could set your watch by this kid, he’s so consistent in terms of doing what it takes to win.
UAA: Suki -We say this all the time, but as bad as he shoots he does help his teammates at almost every opportunity.
SFU: N/A —> Donated to UAA’s Corey Hammell, big Corey, down in the paint, picking up boards all day long.
WWU: Jeffrey Parker -played almost every minute of every game, doing the little things, great hustle.
SPU: Bryce Leavitt -Bryce gonna Bryce.
SMU: N/A —> Donated to SPU’s Mitch Penner, who actually decided to rebound this week!
MSUB: Preston Beverly -two good games, nice way to end the season.
CWU: Joe Stroud -great game against Alaska-Anchorage, decent game against UAF.
NNU: N/A —> Donated to Andy Avgi of Western Oregon, not his best week but still very effective.
CU-P: Drew Martin -fantastic end to the season, two good games full of rebounding, assisting, and good shooting.
WOU: JULIAN NICHOLS!! Kept the Wolves from a couple of would-have-been-slightly-questionable losses. Awesome.
Winner’ll be up shortly
WOU lost to UAF and UCSD lost to San Marcos, but none of it surprises us any more because that is life in the D2West right now. Before we get into how it affects bids and things like that, we’re going to go over some NIGHTLIGHTS!!!!!! Yay. GNAC Men’s Basketball players are AWESOME. Not sarcastic, promise.
CWU @ WWU
Really sloppy game by both teams, but:
- KYLE IMPERO (WWU) HAD 15 REBOUNDS.
- JOE STROUD (CWU) HAD 11 BOARDS!!!!!!!
- Both favored the defensive side of things, interestingly enough.
MSUB @ SMU
The Saints fought valiantly after being down by a lot but ultimately couldn’t complete the come back.
- PRESTON BEVERLY HAD 13 BOARDS!!!!!!
- EMMANUEL JOHNSON HAD 22 POINTS!!!!!!! On roughly 80% shooting.
- Mr. Sneeze (aka Sven) shot 100%.
- TYLER COPP WAS 8/8 FROM THE LINE!!!!!!! If the Saints had pulled it off, he’d be our MVP.
It’s interesting Preston (we swear we didn’t forget you in frosh of the year stuff, only that you’re a freshman) responded huge to a completely unintentional overlook (you follow us on twitter, that gets you uuuuber bonus points with us, duh) and yet Rhett Baerlocher had a terrible game. We didn’t watch, but we’ll credit Preston with the defensive shut down of Rhett, just ’cause congruence.
CU-P @ UAA
- COREY HAMMELL HAD 13 BOARDS. Aka played typically for Corey. We heart that kid soooo much.
- BRIAN MCGILL HAD NINE ASSISTS. And is benefitting because we can’t find his listed turnovers, so that may or may not deserve to be highlighted, but oh well.
CU-PORTLAND DIDN’T SEND SUKI TO THE LINE 20 MILLION TIMES!!!!!!!!!!!! They limited him to four free throws, which is a miracle and amazing and congrats Cavaliers, ridiculously proud of you.
WOU @ UAF
- TRAVANTE HAD 11 BOARDS AND 25 POINTS!!!!! While going 10/12 from the line.
- EVERY SINGLE PLAYER IN THE GAME HAD A REBOUND. That’s huge.
- THE NOOKS COLLECTIVELY HARASSED ANDY AVGI INTO BEING 2/11 FROM THE FIELD. Worst performance of the year. By far.
- DEVON ALEXANDER HAD A FULL HOUSE AND PLAYED REALLY SMART BASKETBALL.
West Region Stuff to Know
On Monday Cal Baptist beat Concordia-Irvine by 10, but we wonder if CU-Irvine is just tanking at this point to try and make sure the Pac-West gets more than merely their conference tournament auto-bid.
San Marcos upset UC San Diego, but San Marcos is ineligible for a bid to the tournament because they’re also in a transition year. They’re currently fifth in the CCAA so wouldn’t be looking at an at-large bid anyway. We don’t think it affects UCSD in any meaningful way because everyone has weird losses and San Marcos is a good team.
WOU lost to Alaska-Fairbanks. That means both the Falcons and the Wolves have losses to UAF and CWU. We’re still fully in the camp that WOU is pretty much hosting no matter what, because SPU just lost to CWU and SMU. Had the Falcons won, we’d still say that we’re all trooping down to Monmouth, but it would be much more of a discussion.
UAA beat CU-Portland, the Seawolves are still in contention for at-large bid, but who knows.
We honestly won’t have any real idea of non SPU/WOU/USCD/Chico bids until after the conference championship games have been played. It’s actually kind of a good year for whoever’s on the selection committee because it’ll be really hard to truly screw up our region. There are so many solid arguments for about 10 different teams, so… Provided those four are in, from where we stand now we’re prepared to not complain about any of the seeding nor any of the teams that get the nod/don’t get the nod.
See y’all tomorrow morning for a bigger run down of the GNAC games.
A beautiful, fantastic mess, and one in which bubbles don’t have to burst because we rule the world! Er, blog.
There was no separation. No separation what-so-ever. We had six guys end up within a point or two of each other and we don’t feel like separating it, so we’ll simply give you the list:
Travante Williams (UAF)
Brian McGill (UAA)
Ricardo Maxwell (WWU)
Trey Drechsel (WWU)
Devin Matthews (CWU)
Andy Avgi (WOU)
All six had some amazing weeks, we feel lucky to get to watch this group play, our conference finally started functioning as a conference with lots of hard play, and tough games. It’s the dog days of the season and people are digging in, shots are being made, rebounds are being grabbed, and it’s an awesome time to be in the GNAC, let alone the West Region. The West Region is nuts this year and we’re looking forward to getting to hopefully watch a few of those guys compete in Monmouth in just under a month.
Congrats to all, and we’ll see you Wednesday for our weekly ‘Discussions’ post.
Really fun week for player-of-the-week, so much parity, lots of guys had two great games which is awesome.
UAF: Travante Williams -was in both games the whole time, helping his teammates. Awesome.
UAA: Brian McGill -‘scuse us Brian “Consistency” McGill. The more he plays, the more we wished he cared about his education.
SFU: Michael Harper -couple of really solid and well balanced games.
WWU: Ricardo Maxwell & Trey Drechsel -both were on it in terms of shooting and Trey is perhaps the only guy on that team besides Kyle Impero that legitimately attempts to rebound; and yeah, they have two centers, so we don’t know what gives either; Not Mac nor Blake, clearly.
SPU: Bryce Leavitt -is back!!! His shots were finally falling again, not that he’s not productive when he’s not shooting.
SMU: N/A —> Donated to Suki Wiggs of UAA. Usual stuff. Boards. Assists. You know.
MSUB: Marc Matthews -does what it takes, decent shooting, smart play, assists, rebounds.
CWU: Devin Matthews -he’s quickly becoming one of our favorites because dude drops dimes like WHOA.
NNU: Bouna + Detwon both had a couple of super consistent, good games, and were very responsible for never letting SPU relax.
CU-P: Riley Hawken -rebounding, smart shooting.
WOU: Andy -put the team on his back during the WWU game, although SFU did do a good job in limiting his touches on Saturday. Still, Andy gonna Andy.
Winner’ll be up in an hour.
First things first: Sonoma State killed San Marcos.
Now onto GNAC stuff.
Alaska-Fairbanks 66 @ MSU-Billings 61
Good game, lots of back and forth, lots of clutch shots by MSUB to keep them in it, but ultimately they couldn’t overcome a Nanook team that just got beat by those pesky Seawolves.
Nanook highlights: Travante Williams had 26 points and seven boards; Almir had 10 boards; and off the bench Isaac Ladines had six boards. Lots of little contributions from a number of guys as well as some bad shooting numbers.
Yellowjacket highlights: Preston Beverly had eight boards; Marc Matthews had six boards; Emmanuel Johnson went 9/10 from the line and finished with 21 points and seven boards. Off the bench Jordan Perry had six points and six boards.
Hard defensively fought game, pretty good to see. Less than desirable shooting numbers, but nothing horrible so that’s good. Good game played by both teams.
Saint Martin’s 98 @ Northwest Nazarene 68
A full on blowout? Yup. We credit it with the high that the Saints had to be on after winning at CWU. Not too much to say, so we’ll get right into the numbers.
Saint highlights: Victor Ieronymides had 17 points; Cole Preston had six boards and nine assists -shots weren’t falling so he said “whatever” and got the rock to his teammates, awesome; Jordan Kitchen had 15 points; Rhett Baerlocher had 14 points and four assists. Off the bench Trey Ingram had 12 points and four assists; Isaac Bianchini had six points; Rojhai Colbert had eight points; Michael Painter had nine points; and Brandon Kenilvort had six points. Huge performance from the bench.
Crusader highlights: Bouna had 18 points and six boards; Detwon Rogers had 11 points and six boards; and coming off the bench Joel Devastey had 21 points on dynamite shooting.
This game epitomized the idea that basketball is a team game. We’ve like the Saints all year and are happy to finally see them clicking. Fred has been out; we’re not sure why, we don’t particularly care why, we’re just thrilled that their line-ups are finally working.
Western Washington 76 @ Concordia-Portland 80
Um, well, we said the Vikings were a mess. Case in point. But Concordia is getting better and losing by 20 to a no-win team had to be some nice motivation to at least try harder than WWU. They tried, they succeeded, and they looked good. It was a good game.
Viking highlights: Ricardo Maxwell had 13 points and four assists; Kyle Impero had 17 points; Trey Drechsel had eight boards, four assists, and three steals; Blake Bowen had four assists; and Jeffrey Parker had eight boards and 25 points. No real bench play.
Cavalier highlights: Drew Martin had 15 points and 10 boards for the double-double, looking like the real deal; Latrell Wilson had 14 points; Riley Hawken had 22 points and eight boards. Off the bench Davis Nuaimi had eight points.
Good game, very good game, lots of back and forth. The Cavs play basketball in the right way and should be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years.
Simon Fraser 67 @ Western Oregon 77
Actually a really good game. The Clan is waking up and while they didn’t get the win, this is still super good progress.
Clan highlights: Michael Harper had 18 points and 10 boards for the double-double; Graham Smith had nine points and six boards. Off the bench Oshea Gairey had 17 points; and Hidde Vos had seven points.
Wolf highlights: Janvier Alaby had 12 points; Julian Nichols had seven rebounds; Tanner Omlid had 17 points and nine boards, rounded out with a full house; Jordan Wiley had 10 points while going 5/6 from the line; and Andy Avgi was held to eight points and nine boards. Best we’ve seen a team get to him this year. Off the bench Alex Roth had five points; Kadeem Strickland had seven points; and Nick Nestell had five points.
Congrats to the Wolves on getting it done, but definitely a hearty congrats to the Clan for keeping the Wolves honest. We rarely see Andy pick up four fouls and he did last night, so that’s huge.
Seattle Pacific 68 @ Central Washington 71
CWU is a hard place to play. We say it regularly. Definitely top three in terms of homecourt advantage if you count the Alaskas as one (which you should) and that was on display tonight. Two years in a row the Falcons have gone into Nicholson and walked away with an ‘L.’
Falcon highlights: N/A, author’s discretion.
Wildcat highlights: Terry Dawn had nine points; Gary Jacobs had 10 points; Joe Stroud had 20 points and five boards; and Devin Matthews had five boards, nine assists; and eight points. Off the bench Drake Rademacher had nine points; and Chris-Michael Garret had 10 points.
Hard fought game, proud of the Wildcats for getting it done -great win CWU. Bubble burster for SPU? Maybe. To be discussed on Wednesday.
Sorry about the lack of nightlights. Blame the Falcons; we sunk into a deep, dark depression -although were very satisfied with how the night went overall. POW noms up at 10am tomorrow.