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Kevin Schnepf, Published March 02 2008

IUPUI’s Hill should be player of year

I have been asked to join other media members, sports information directors and coaches to vote for Summit League men’s basketball postseason honors.

Here’s my two cents’ worth.

E Player of the year: George Hill, IUPUI

Watch George dribble. Watch George dribble into traffic. Watch George jump 12 feet from the hoop and dunk it with ease.

That’s what Bison Sports Arena fans watched when the junior guard from Indiana-Purdue Indianapolis poured in 33 points in a 69-67 come-from-behind win over the Bison.

NBA scouts are watching, too – especially when he ranks first in Summit League scoring, third in steals, fourth in rebounds and fifth in assists.

“I wouldn’t want to have to defend a guy like that,” said IUPUI head coach Ron Hunter.

(P.S. … NDSU’s Ben Woodside and Brett Winkelman are shoo-ins for all-conference honors).

E Coach of the year: Scott Sutton, Oral Roberts

Sutton lost arguably the best scoring tandem in league history with the graduation of Caleb Green and Ken Tutt. Despite losing two players who scored more than 4,500 career points, Oral Roberts claimed its fourth straight regular-season championship.

A preseason poll had Oral Roberts finishing second to IUPUI. But NDSU head coach Saul Phillips picked Oral Roberts to win it all.

“Sutton does an unbelievable job … he really does,” Phillips said. “He has that defensive emphasis that wins a lot of games. They certainly remain the benchmark for where we want to be as a program.”

E Newcomer of the year: Geoff Payne, Southern Utah

This 6-foot-7 transfer from Snow (Utah) Junior College averaged nearly 22 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists for a Southern Utah team that made a good run at the end of the regular season.

Like NDSU’s Winkelman, he can post up a smaller defender or take a bigger defender on the perimeter.

E Defensive player of the year: Yemi Ogunoye, Oral Roberts

This is based solely on what this 6-foot-9 sixth-year senior from Cedar Hill, Texas, did when he guarded Woodside last December.

Ogunoye limited Woodside to six points – his lowest output of the season.

“That was definitely a learning experience,” Woodside said of his first encounter with Ogunoye.

E Sixth man of the year: Robert Jarvis, Oral Roberts

Jarvis, a junior college All-American at Seminole State (Okla.) last year, led Division I in scoring among bench players this year averaging 15.4 points a game.

Not a bad weapon to have coming off the bench.

BSA renovation is on

I would like to clarify something I wrote last week about NDSU ranking second in Summit League attendance.

I wrote that NDSU’s plans for renovating the Bison Sports Arena have been put on hold because of the proposed basketball arena addition to the Fargodome. Some readers took that to mean the BSA renovation plans have been scratched.

They have not.

NDSU athletic director Gene Taylor assures fans that the Bison Sports Arena will be renovated – with or without the proposed basketball arena.

If the new arena is built, plans to renovate the BSA basketball court will be eliminated. With or without the arena, the BSA renovation will continue with a new indoor track, locker rooms, offices and weight room plus a basketball practice facility to be added on to the southwest side of the BSA.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kevin Schnepf at (701) 241-5549 or at kschnepf@forumcomm.com

Schnepf’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com