MRO announces its 2009-2010 hoop awards Print E-mail
Written by J. Scott Fitzwater   
Sunday, March 07 2010
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Image Another regular season is in the books, and it's time to recognize the MAC's best once more.  While the conference struggled again on the national level, there were still a number of outstanding players and performances.  MAC Report Online is proud to recognize the season's top performers.

Below are our year-end award winners based on voting from our staff of contributors who have covered the MAC this season. Congratulations to all of the winners.

Player of the Year - David Kool, Western Michigan

The senior from Grand Rapids, Mich., was the unanimous choice for 2009-2010 Player of the Year.  While the Broncos had a mediocre year, it was not because of Kool.  The guard led the MAC in points,  free throw percentage and average efficiency as well as placing in the top ten in minutes, steals, true shooting percentage and points per weighted shot. 

Kool saved some of his best performances against top competition, including 30-point, 6-rebound outburst against Temple and a 38-point explosion at Kent State.  The all-time scoring leader in Western Michigan history, Kool had very little offensive help to take pressure off him, but still managed to shoot 46% from the field, 90% at the free throw line, and 35% from three in conference play.

Kool was selected as the MAC West Player of the Week four times.  Previous accolades include a 2009  Academic All-American Third Team, 2008 All-MAC First Team, 2009 All-MAC Second Team, 2007 Freshman of the Year and 2006 Michigan Mr. Basketball.

Previous MAC Report Online Player of the Year winners:
2008-2009: Jerome Tillman - Ohio
2007-2008: Al Fisher - Kent State
2006-2007: Jerome Tillman - Ohio
2005-2006: Joe Reitz - Western Michigan

Coach of the Year - Geno Ford, Kent State

Kent State finished a distant second to rival Akron in the preseason media poll and garnered a single vote to win the tournament.  Now, the Golden Flashes are outright regular season champions and favorites to take the title in Cleveland.  Second-year head coach Geno Ford has taken his team to the top of the conference after finishing fifth in the East last season, earning him this year's MAC Report Online Coach of the Year.

Ford took the helm of the Kent State program in 2008 after Jim Christian left for Texas Christian.  In his first season, the Flashes came up just short of extending their 10-year streak of 20 wins or more with a loss to Buffalo in the tournament quarterfinals and a loss at Oakland in the first round of the CIT, ending the season with a 19-15 (10-6) record.

This season, the Flashes earned a top 50 win over UAB early but struggled against bigger programs such as Xavier and Pittsburgh.  A 76-70 home loss to Bowling Green left them in an early 1-2 hole in the MAC standings.  To send a message, Ford then brought senior starters Tyree Evans, Chris Singletary and Frank Henry-Ala off the bench against Buffalo, all playing 20 minutes or fewer.  The Flashes cruised to a 89-54 win and have lost just one game since, including a sweep of hated Akron.

In earning Kent State's fourth regular season title, the veteran squad with the not-so-veteran head coach has the top seed in the conference tournament.

Previous MAC Report Online Coach of the Year winners:
2008-2009 - Reggie Witherspoon Buffalo
2007-2008: Jim Christian - Kent State
2006-2007: Stan Joplin - Toledo
2005-2006: Keith Dambrot - Akron

Newcomer of the Year - DJ Cooper, Ohio

Many expected Indiana transfer Armon Bassett to lead the Ohio offense when he became eligible in December.  Instead, Cooper, a 5'11" freshman from Chicago, started in 28 of Ohio's 31 games and ran Ohio's up-tempo offense like a veteran, earning the MAC Report Online 2009-2010 Newcomer of the Year award.

Nobody in the MAC played more minutes than Cooper this season (and only Miami's Kenny Hayes averaged more per game, logging 35.6 to Cooper's 35.5) and few controlled the ball as well.  Cooper broke the school single-season record for steals with 85, leading the conference with a 2.7 per game pace.  In addition, the frosh led the conference with six assists per game and finished tied for second with a 2.2 assist-to-turnover ratio.  Cooper's steal and assist numbers both place him in the top ten nationally.

Cooper has also shown a surprising skill on the glass, finishing second on the Bobcats in rebounding and recording double digit rebounds on three occasions.  A two-time MAC East Player of the Week, Cooper has flirted with triple doubles a few times and even a quadruple double a couple games, giving other coaches a lot to look forward to for the next three years.

Previous MAC Report Online Newcomer of the Year winners:
2008-2009 - Jarrod Jones - Ball State
2007-2008: Al Fisher - Kent State
2006-2007: David Kool - Western Michigan*
2005-2006: Carlos Medlock - Eastern Michigan*
(* Award was changed from Freshman of the Year to Newcomer of the Year in 2008.)

Sixth Man of the Year - Anthony Simpson, Kent State

"Versatility" is the name of Anthony Simpson's game, the MAC Report Online 2009-2010 Sixth Man of the Year.  The Highland Community College product is 6'8", 215 pounds and can post up, handle the ball, take the outside shot or grab the rebound. 

Simpson started in just four of Kent State's 31 games this year, averaging 24.7 minutes per contest.  He did a little bit of everything in that time, finishing second on the team in rebounds (5.7 per game) and shooting efficiently (fifth in the conference with a 56.5 effective field goal percentage).  In MAC contests, his 58.5% eFG registers third in the conference and his 1.3 points per weighted shot sixth.

He rose to the occasion in some of Kent's most important games, including a 23 point, 9 rebound performance in the season finale at Akron and a 15 point, 7 rebound showing in the comeback win over Ohio.

Previous MAC Report Online Sixth Man of the Year winners:
2008-2009 - Brett McKnight - Akron
2007-2008: Calvin Betts - Buffalo
2006-2007: Cedrick Middleton - Akron
2005-2006: Kevin Warzynski - Kent State

Defensive Player of the Year - Chris Singletary, Kent State

With the size of a guard but the body of an inside banger, Chris Singletary is one of the most unique players the MAC has seen in recent years.  Because of this, the senior from Chicago can guard almost anyone.  The anchor of the Kent State defense is the MAC Report Online 2009-2010 Defensive Player of the Year, the third consecutive Golden Flash to earn the honor.

Raw statistics don't suggest much about Singletary's defensive acumen other than his ability to steal (second in the conference with 1.9 steals per game and 34th nationally with a 4.2% steal rate), but he was the most important member of a Kent State defense that ranked in the top 60 nationally in defensive efficiency (.937 points per defensive possession allowed, .897 in conference contests) and topped the MAC.  Kent also sported the best opponent turnover rate (23%) in the conference and 11th best in the country, thanks in no small part to Singletary.

Singletary's minutes were limited by fouls (3.7 per game, fouled out of four games), and Kent's defense clearly suffered without him on the floor.  He has the quickness to guard perimeter players and the strength to body up in the post.

Previous MAC Report Online Defensive Player of the Year winners:
2008-2009: Jordan Mincy - Kent State
2007-2008: Haminn Quaintance - Kent State
2006-2007: Kashif Payne- Toledo
2005-2006: Nathan Peavy - Miami

Last Updated ( Tuesday, March 09 2010 )
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