Iwundu named MVP at team banquet

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Junior Wesley Iwundu was among four players to earn two team awards, including the Rolando Blackman Most Valuable Player trophy, as Kansas State held its annual men’s basketball banquet held Monday night at the Hilton Garden Inn.

In addition to his MVP award, Iwundu was selected as the Jack Hartman Top Defensive Player for the second time in three seasons after winning the award in 2014. The only Wildcat to start and play in all 33 contests, he ranked first or second on the team in 13 categories, including first in assists (3.7 apg.), free throws made (108) and attempted (293) and minutes (32.4) and second in scoring (11.9 ppg.) and steals (1.3 spg.). He was named to the All-Big 12 Third Team as well as the league’s All-Defensive Team for the first time in his career.

Senior Justin Edwards, junior D.J. Johnson and freshman Kamau Stokes also captured two awards each.

Edwards, who was one of only 5 players in the Big 12 to rank in the Top 15 in both scoring (13th) and rebounding (10th), was named the Tex Winter Top Offensive Player to go with the Ernie Barrett Play Hard award. He ranked first or second on the team in 11 categories, including scoring (12.7 ppg.), double-figure scoring games (26), rebounding (5.9 rpg.) and steals (1.8 spg.). The Barrett Play Hard award is based on the Wayne McClain Play Hard chart, which tracks deflections/blocks, steals, dives, loose balls, offensive rebounds and charges.

Johnson was the winner of both the Ed Nealy Most Improved Player and Fort Riley Never Broken awards. After not playing for 16 months due to injury, Johnson made a big impact for the Wildcats in 2015-16, registering career-highs for scoring (9.3 ppg.), rebounding (5.2 rpg.) and minute (20.3) averages while playing in 32 of 33 games. He won the Fort Riley Never Broken Award for the second time in his career due to his involvement with the team’s partnership with the 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery unit stationed at Fort Riley.

Stokes was one of three winners of the Dean Harris Newcomer of the Year, which honors the late East St. Louis, Illinois, native, who tragically died in 1974. He shared the award with fellow freshmen Barry Brown and Dean Wade. The trio became the first freshmen in the same class to average better than 8.5 points per game in the same season and three of just 13 Wildcats all-time to accomplish that mark as rookies. A starter in 20 of the team’s first 21 games, Stokes also captured the Bob Boozer Courage Award for his resiliency after missing the final 13 games of the season due to injury.

Other award winners included junior Austin Budke (Keith Amerson Academic), senior Brian Rohleder (Porky Morgan Most Inspirational) and senior Stephen Hurt (Mitch Richmond Mr. Basketball).

A walk-on from Wichita, Kansas, Budke earned the Keith Amerson Academic Award for the first time after posting a high GPA in one of the most rigorous majors on campus – chemical engineering. A transfer from Hutchinson Community College, he played in all 33 games this season with averages of 2.3 points and 2.0 rebounds in 13.1 minutes per game. The academic award is named for Amerson (1989-91), whose determination to reach his potential on and off the court set the standard for future student-athletes.

Rohleder won the Porky Morgan Inspirational Player Award for the second consecutive season. A former walk-on who earned a scholarship for his senior season was named First Team Academic All-Big 12 for the second time after playing in 27 of 33 games. He will earn his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in the coming week. The Morgan Award is the program’s oldest award and honors the longtime K-State Athletics Trainer from 1950-80.

Hurt earned the Mitch Richmond Mr. Basketball Award after showing improvement from his junior to senior seasons, as he increased his scoring (4.2 to 6.4 ppg.) and rebounding (2.8 to 4.4 rpg.) averages, while upping his minutes from 13.4 to 19.2 per game in 2015-16.

2015-16 Kansas State Men’s Basketball Team Awards:
Fort Riley Never Broken Award: D.J. Johnson
Ernie Barrett Play Hard Award: Justin Edwards
Keith Amerson Academic Award: Austin Budke
Dean Harris Newcomer of the Year Award: Barry Brown/Kamau Stokes/Dean Wade
Bob Boozer Courage Award: Kamau Stokes
Porky Morgan Most Inspirational Award: Brian Rohleder
Ed Nealy Most Improved Award: D.J. Johnson
Jack Hartman Top Defensive Player Award: Wesley Iwundu
Tex Winter Top Offensive Player Award: Justin Edwards
Mitch Richmond Mr. Basketball Award: Stephen Hurt
Rolando Blackman Most Valuable Player Award: Wesley Iwundu

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