It's time to rank the top 5 players from the Mid-America Conference in D2 men's basketball. Do you agree with the top 5, or do you think a different player should have been added in? Leave your comments below!
5. Justin Pitts, G, Northwest Missouri
Last year's MIAA Freshman of the Year has continued to show his ability to compete at the college level this season, improving upon an already impressive career. Last season he averaged 17.2 points and shot the three at an impressive 49.5%. This year he's averaging 19.6 points, 4.8 assists, and 3 rebounds. Pitts will probably have a spot locked in on a list like this for the next few years.
4. Anthony Virdure, G, Lincoln (MO)
"This offseason I made a huge effort to get my all-around jump shot (catch and shoot, off the dribble) consistent. I feel like that has taken my game to another level because I'm a threat to score the ball from anywhere." These are the words spoken by Anthony Virdure when he was asked what he tried to improve upon the most during the off-season. His work seems to have paid off, as he's currently averaging 23.1 points per game. Additionally, he's contributing 3 rebounds and 3.8 assists per contest, creating a balanced game for himself.
How does he keep up this high level of play? "Keeping my conditioning up is always the number one factor. You can't continue at a high without having the wind. My mentality every time I step on the court is to attack like it's second nature."
3. Cory Arentsen, G, Lindenwood
One of two players to start every game for Lindenwood last season, Cory Arentsen knew he had to be an impact player this year. In the offseason, he "just really tried to be the most complete player I could be in all parts of the game. I wanted to be able to play for longer durations as well and I've seen that in my minutes played."
So far his workload has come at 33.7 minutes per game, and he's averaged 23.6 points and 7.4 rebounds. As an All-MIAA Honorable Mention last season, Arentsen will be out to prove he is deserving of higher accolades this year.
2. Connor Beranek, F, Nebraska Kearney
Last season's MIAA Player of the Year is well on his way to a second consecutive award. During the off season he strove to improve his game even more, working on his, "ball handling more than anything because I knew I was going to have to handle it in the open court and I wanted to be able to create more off the dribble in the half court."
His ball handling skills have seemed to help increase his scoring this season, as last year he averaged a little under 20 points and this year he's averaging 24.1 points per game. Additionally, he's grabbing 8.4 boards per game.
1. Taevaunn Prince, G, Missouri Southern
Coming in at number one is Taevaunn Prince, who's been averaging 24.9 points, 10.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.1 steals per game. In case you didn't notice from his headline, Prince is averaging 10.9 rebounds as a guard. He doesn't believe his height should affect his ability to get boards, saying, "to me it's more of a mentality and will to go and get the ball. I look at guys like Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo, and the great Charles Barkley and see how they are able to get rebounds and they just want it more than the other person."
Averaging a double-double on the season, it's clear Prince wanted the ball more than most of his opponents.