VALPARAISO | Detroit’s Ray McCallum was named the Horizon League Player of the Year on Monday, edging out Valparaiso's Ryan Broekhoff and sparking fervor on Twitter that included angry responses from Valparaiso fans as well as fans from other Horizon League schools.
Broekhoff won the award last year and was named the Horizon League Player of the Week four times this season.
“Maybe (I am) a little upset from a personal standpoint, but we won the conference and we’ve set ourselves up for a chance at the NCAA tournament,” Broekhoff said. “In the end it is a team game.”
Broekhoff (15.9 ppg, 7.5 rpg) was named to the All-League First team along with McCallum, Nick Minnerath (Detroit), Kendrick Perry (Youngstown St.) and Keifer Sykes (Green Bay). Valparaiso’s Kevin Van Wijk (12.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg) was named to the Second Team with Alec Brown (Green Bay), Ben Averkamp (Loyola), Gary Talton (UIC) and Cole Darling (Wright St.).
Two individual awards stood out for the Crusaders on Monday as senior guard Erik Buggs was named to the All-Defensive team and junior Lavonte Dority was named Sixth Man of the Year. Buggs (1.5 spg) has routinely guarded the opposing team’s best player and the Memphis native held McCallum to 12 points below his average when Buggs was on the floor.
“It’s an honor, especially with the amount of good defensive players in the league,” Buggs said. “To be selected to the All-Defensive team speaks a lot to what the coaches think of me.”
Dority became the second Valparaiso player to earn Sixth Man of the Year after Jarryd Loyd earned the distinction in 2007-08. The South Florida transfer averaged 9.5 points in 22 games after becoming eligible at semester break. Dority started four games and scored in double figures on nine occasions.
“With Lavonte we have a player that started some games in the Big East before he transferred here and now he comes in and comes off the bench,” Drew said. “The lift that he gives us speaks volumes of not just how he is as a player, but who he is as a person.”