TERRE HAUTE —
Rose-Hulman senior guard Julian Strickland has been named the 2013-2014 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player and headlines the 12-member All-HCAC first and second teams for men’s basketball, according to an announcement from the league Tuesday.
It is the second straight HCAC MVP honor for Strickland, becoming the first player since Franklin’s Jason Sibley (1997-98 and 1998-99) to earn back-to-back MVP awards. Sibley was a graduate of Terre Haute South High School.
The 6-foot-3 Strickland led the Engineers to their second HCAC title and third straight HCAC tournament crown this season. Rose owns a 22-5 overall record heading into NCAA Division III tournament play Friday evening.
Strickland led the conference in scoring (21.8 points per game) and ranked among the conference leaders in rebounds (5.9), assists (3.4), free-throw percentage (83.6 percent), steals (1.1) and 3-point field-goal percentage (38.4 percent) during conference play. Overall this season, Strickland averaged 22.9 ppg and 5.6 rebounds per contest while shooting 46.8 percent from the field.
Rose-Hulman compiled a 15-3 conference mark, claiming a share of the regular-season title with Defiance. RHIT will tangle with Wheaton in the first round of the Division III tournament Friday at Hope College in Holland, Mich.
Also worth noting, Rose’s Jim Shaw has been named the HCAC Coach of the Year for the second time. Shaw led the Engineers to their second HCAC men’s basketball title and a third consecutive HCAC tournament title.
Hanover forward V.J. Billups has been named the HCAC Freshman of the Year. He ranked second on the Panthers in scoring during conference play, averaging 12.7 ppg.
Strickland is one of 12 players named to the All-HCAC first or second team. There are four seniors, five juniors, and three sophomores on the team this season. The eight-member Honorable Mention All-HCAC team and All-Sportsmanship team also has been named.
HCAC men’s basketball awards
Most Valuable Player — Julian Strickland, Rose-Hulman, Sr., G.
Coach of the Year — Jim Shaw, Rose-Hulman.
Freshman of the Year — V.J. Billups, Hanover, F.
First team — Ryan Hicks, Defiance, Sr., F; Bernard Edwards, Defiance, Jr., F; Bailey Howard, Franklin, Sr., G; Tim Bass, Hanover, Jr., G; Joel Scudder, Mount St. Joseph, So., G; Julian Strickland, Rose-Hulman, Sr., G.
Second team — Max Mollaun, Anderson, Jr., G; Will Pope, Bluffton, Sr., F; Kyle James, Hanover, Jr., G; Mark Allen, Mount St. Joseph, Jr., G; Jimmy Miller, Rose-Hulman, So., F; Parker Stansberry, Transylvania, So., F.
Honorable mention — Thayne Recker, Bluffton, So., F; Mason Roth, Defiance, Jr., G; Kirk Douglas, Earlham, So., F; Dion Smith, Franklin, So., C; Terry Sargent, Franklin, Sr., G; V.J. Billups, Hanover, Fr., F; Jon Thompson, Manchester, Jr., F; Brady Dolezal, Manchester, So., G.
All-Sportsmanship team — Carson Breckenridge, Anderson, Sr., F; Jon Fowler, Bluffton, Sr., F; Travis Schomaeker, Defiance, Jr., G; Iman Sharif, Earlham, So., G; J.T. Barton, Franklin, Sr., G; Jacob Rieger, Hanover, Sr., F; Nate Feitshans, Manchester, Jr., G; Ken Kunkel, Mount St. Joseph, Jr., F; Jordy Martin, Rose-Hulman, Sr., G; Tommy Sirkin, Transylvania, Jr., G.