Paris Lee Named Larry Bird Trophy Winner

Paris Lee Named Larry Bird Trophy Winner

 ST. LOUIS -- The 2017 MVC Larry Bird Player of the Year is senior Paris Lee of Illinois State. The all-time steals leader in ISU history, he's the first Redbird to earn the league's top individual player honor in 16 seasons. In addition to averaging 13.0 points per game, Lee leads the league in steals (2.0), assists (5.1) and three-point baskets (69).

 Lee received 110 total points to outdistance Wichita State's Markis McDuffie (34 points) and Landry Shamet (30 points). Six different student-athletes received first-place tallies, including Lee, McDuffie, Shamet, Alize Johnson of Missouri State, Milton Doyle of Loyola, and Jeremy Morgan of UNI. Voting was conducted by coaches, sports information directors and a media panel (voters could not vote for their own student-athlete.) Including this year, 0 freshmen, 2 sophomores, 16 juniors (seven of whom repeated) and 31 seniors have won the award (spanning 1969-2017).

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: Alize Johnson, Missouri State
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Landry Shamet, Wichita State
DEFENSIVE MVP: Paris Lee, Illinois State
SIXTH-MAN OF THE YEAR: Aundre Jackson, Loyola

 A senior guard from Maywood (Ill.) Proviso East High, Lee is the nation's active leader with 244 steals, good for sixth place on the all-time MVC list. Lee ranks fifth all-time for Illinois State with 471 career assists, tied for 18th in MVC history. With two more starts he'll surpass his coach Dan Muller for the all-time school record for career games started. Lee has helped the Redbirds to their first regular-season title since the 1997-98 season (Muller's senior season at ISU), while the 'Birds have set program records with 25 regular-season wins and 17 MVC wins.

 Lee, who became the first Redbird to earn the Larry Bird Trophy since Tarise Bryson in 2001, also became the first ISU player since 2010 to win the MVC's Defensive Player of the Year honor. Lee anchors the Redbird defense, which ranks No. 4 nationally in opponent field goal percentage (.377) and No. 5 nationally in scoring defense (60.7 ppg). ISU's .377 figure would rank No. 1 all-time in MVC history. Previous ISU players to earn the Larry Bird trophy include Bryson (2001) and Rico Hill (1998). Other ISU players to win the league's Defensive Player of the Year award include Dinma Odiakosa (2010), Dan Muller (1996, 1997) and Randy Blair (1990). Darren Brooks of Southern Illinois (2004, 2005), Nate Green of Indiana State (2000) and Ashraf Amaya of Southern Illinois (1992) are the only previous MVC players to sweep both awards. The league began selecting a Defensive Player of the Year in 1989.

2017 MVC Larry Bird Trophy Voting (top-six vote-getters only)

 Student-Athlete, School     1st     2nd     3rd     Points  
 Paris Lee, Illinois State     33     5     1     110
 Markis McDuffie, Wichita State        3   10     5       34
 Landry Shamet, Wichita State      3     6     9       30
 Alize Johnson, Missouri State      2     9     2       26
 Milton Doyle, Loyola      2     3   13       25
 Jeremy Morgan, UNI      2     6     4       22

  Student-athletes received three points for a first-place vote, two points for a second-place vote and one point for a third-place vote. Panelists could not vote for the student-athletes on their team (or for media, the team they cover).  A total of 45 voters served on the 2017 panel, including four voters from each school and an MVC network panel, consisting of five additional voters.


 The league's Freshman of the Year is Wichita State's Landry Shamet. A native of Kansas City (Mo.) Park Hill High, he's the fifth Shocker to win Freshman of the Year honors, joining Joe Griffin (1987), Jason Perez (1997), Randy Burns (2003), and Markis McDuffie (2016). The MVC began selecting a Freshman of the Year award in 1986. Shamet led the MVC in assist:turnover ratio and ranks second nationally among all freshmen (3.25). He connected on a league-best 51.8 percent of his three-point tries during conference play and also led the league with 43 treys and a 3.7 assist:turnover ratio in MVC games. It marks only the second time that a school has had a Freshman of the Year in back-to-back seasons (Southern Illinois did in 1989 and 1990). Also a first-team selection, Shamet is the fourth MVC freshman to earn first-team honors, joining Doug McDermott of Creighton (2011), Cleo Littleton of Wichita State (1952) and Vernon Yates of Oklahoma State (1942).

 Missouri State's Alize Johnson is the MVC Newcomer of the Year. The junior from Williamsport, Pa., leads the Bears in scoring and rebounding and is the only MVC player to rank in the Top 6 in both categories. Johnson also leads the MVC with 16 double-doubles and has twice hit 20 rebounds in a game this year. He earned the league's Newcomer of the Week award six times this season, more than any other player and tied for second-most in a season by any player in the history of the award. The MVC began its Newcomer of the Year program in 1969, and Johnson joins Danny Moore (1997), Mike Wallace (2001), Spencer Laurie (2007), Adam Leonard (2010) and Dequon Miller (2016) as MSU players to earn the honor.

 The MVC also selects a “Sixth Man Award” recipient, and this season’s honor goes to Loyola's Aundre Jackson. The honor is presented to the league's top reserve player (one who has started fewer than 25 percent of his team's games). Jackson, a junior from Kennedale (Texas) High, is the first Loyola player to earn the award, first chosen in 1997. Loyola joined the MVC for the start of the 2013-14 season. His .677 field goal percentage ranks No. 4 nationally and would set a league single-season record. He averages 14.5 points and 4.2 rebounds this season, and has also contributed 31 assists and 17 steals. Jackson has played in all 31 games for the Ramblers this year, starting just seven games.

 In addition to the specialty awards, the conference announced its all-conference units (first-team, second-team, and third-team), all-newcomer team, all-freshman team, and all-defense team. The all-bench and most-improved units have been selected by the league’s beat writers and will be announced Wednesday (March 1). A complete listing of all-conference honorees and previous season specialty award winners is attached.


2017 All-Missouri Valley Conference Men’s Basketball Team

First Team 	                Yr.	Pos.	Ht.	Hometown
Milton Doyle, Loyola	        Sr.	G	6-4	Chicago (Ill.) Marshall High/Kansas
Alize Johnson, Missouri St.	Jr.	F	6-9	Williamsport (Pa.) St. John Neumann High
Paris Lee, Illinois State	Sr.	G	6-0	Maywood (Ill.) Proviso East High
Markis McDuffie, Wichita St.	So.	F	6-8	Paterson (N.J.) St. Anthony High
Landry Shamet, Wichita St.	Fr.	G	6-4	Kansas City (Mo.) Park Hill High

Second Team
Jaylon Brown, Evansville	Sr.	G	6-0	Fishers (Ind.) High
Deontae Hawkins, Illinois St.	Sr.	F	6-8	Dayton (Ohio) Quakerdale Promise Academy
MiKyle McIntosh, Illinois St.	Jr.	F	6-7	Pickering (Ontario, Canada) 22ft Academy
Jeremy Morgan, UNI	        Sr.	G	6-5	Coralville (Iowa) Iowa City West High
Sean O'Brien, S. Illinois	Sr.	F	6-7	Mundelein (Ill.) High

Third Team
Conner Frankamp, Wichita St.	Jr.	G	6-1	Wichita (Kan.) Univ. of Kansas
Donte Ingram, Loyola	        Jr.	G/F	6-6	Chicago (Ill.) Simeon High
Shaquille Morris, Wichita St.	Jr.	C	6-8	Edmond (Okla.) Memorial High
Brenton Scott, Indiana St.	Jr.	G	6-1	Fort Wayne (Ind.) Northrup High
Reed Timmer, Drake	        Jr.	G	6-1	New Berlin (Wis.) Eisenhower High

All-Newcomer Team
Phil Fayne, Illinois State	So.	F	6-9	Elk Grove (Calif.) Franklin High
Aundre Jackson, Loyola	        Jr.	F	6-5	Kennedale (Texas) High
Alize Johnson, Missouri St.	Jr.	F	6-9	Williamsport (Pa.) St. John Neumann High
Landry Shamet, Wichita St.	Fr.	G	6-4	Kansas City (Mo.) Park Hill High
Darral Willis Jr., Wichita St.	Jr.	F	6-9	Madison (Wis.) Pearl River (Miss.) CC

All-Freshman Team
Koch Bar, Bradley		C	6-11	Abyei (South Sudan) Arlington Co. Day School
Jordan Barnes, Indiana State	G	5-11	St. Louis (Mo.) Christian Brothers High
Darrell Brown Jr., Bradley	G	5-10	Memphis (Tenn.) Germantown High
Spencer Haldeman, UNI		G	6-1	Peosta (Iowa) Western Dubuque
Landry Shamet, Wichita State	G	6-4	Kansas City (Mo.) Park Hill High
Dru Smith, Evansville		G	6-3	Evansville (Ind.) Reitz High

All-Defensive Team
Thik Bol, Southern Illinois	Jr.	F	6-8	Omaha (Neb.) Iowa Western CC
Zach Brown, Wichita State	Jr.	F	6-6	Houston (Texas) Sunrise Christian Academy
Obediah Church, Missouri St.	So.	F	6-7	Springfield (Ill.) High
Paris Lee, Illinois State	Sr.	G	6-0	Maywood (Ill.) Proviso East High
Jeremy Morgan, UNI	        Sr.	G	6-5	Coralville (Iowa) Iowa City West High
Tony Wills, Illinois State	Sr.	G	6-4	Indianapolis (Ind.) Ben Davis High	

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