Fort Hays State had four players named to the All-MIAA Men's Basketball Team for 2012-13 on Monday (Mar. 4) and Mark Johnson was named MIAA Coach of the Year. Dwayne Brunson earned first-team honors, while Craig Nicholson was named MIAA Freshman of the Year and a second-team selection. Lance Russell and Ben Congiusta each earned honorable mention honors.
Brunson, a junior from Queens, N.Y., garnered a first-team selection in his first year with the Tigers after transferring from Barton (Kan.) Community College. He led the team in scoring, rebounding, and blocked shots. He enters the MIAA Tournament averaging 15.5 points, 7.7 rebounds per game, and 2.1 blocks per game. Brunson has also shot the ball at a very high rate at 61.3 percent from the field and 84.5 percent from the free-throw line. In the MIAA entering the postseason, he ranks 11th in scoring, fourth in rebounding, second in field goal percentage, fifth in free-throw percentage, second in blocked shots, fourth in offensive rebounds per game, and fourth in defensive rebounds per game. He has seven double-doubles in points and rebounds this year and scored in double figures in 22 games. He reached at least 20 points in seven games, including a season high 35 points at Nebraska-Kearney, the most points scored by a player under head coach Mark Johnson. He's also reached double figures in rebounds nine times this year.
Nicholson, native of Wichita, Kan., is the first FHSU player to earn MIAA Freshman of the Year honors in the school's seventh year in the conference. Nicholson was also named to the All-MIAA Second Team as a true freshman, the only freshman on the first, second or third teams. He continues to lead the MIAA and ranks second in the nation in assists per game, averaging 7.0. Nicholson has also scored the ball at a high rate, averaging 13.8 points per game to rank third on the team entering the postseason. In the MIAA, he ranks first in assists, second in 3-point field goal percentage, second in assist/turnover ratio, fifth in steals, 17th in scoring, and 14th in free-throw percentage.
Russell was an honorable mention selection, the first all-conference honor of his career in his third year in the program. Entering the postseason, the Wichita, Kan. senior is averaging 13.9 points and 5.2 rebounds per game to rank second in both categories. He's also third on the team in assists, averaging 2.0 per game. He is shooting 48.2 percent from the field, 38.9 percent beyond the 3-point line, and 78 percent at the free-throw line.
Congiusta was an honorable mention selection, the first all-conference honor of his career in his fourth year with the Tigers. The Sydney, Australia senior redshirted last year but returned strong this year, averaging 12.3 points per game and 3.9 assists per game entering the postseason. Congiusta leads the MIAA in 3-point field goal percentage (.438) and has 70 3-point field goals made this year. He is shooting 47.4 percent from the field overall and 90.6 percent at the free-throw line.
Johnson earns his second MIAA Coach of the Year honor after being the Co-Coach of the Year in 2009-10 with Central Missouri coach Kim Anderson. Johnson guided FHSU, which was picked fourth in the preseason coaches and sixth in the preseason media polls, to its first MIAA Regular Season Championship, tying for the league crown with Central Missouri. It's the third Coach of the Year honor in Johnson's career, also earned RMAC Coach of the Year honors in 2005-06.
Below is the entire All-MIAA Men's Basketball Team for 2012-13...
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PLAYER OF THE YEAR