Greenberg, Dean were best in KCAC

By Steve Sell
February 25, 2015

I don’t get a vote for the All-KCAC basketball teams, but that doesn’t mean I can’t throw in my two cents.

There may never be a Top 5 on the men’s side ever again like last year’s. Friends’ Joe Mitchell was arguably the best player in the country, and was joined by Bethany’s Idris ibn Idris, Saint Mary’s Grant Greenberg, Ottawa’s Julian Rose and Southwestern’s Cameron Clark. I guarantee that five could have played with any other conference’s Top 5 in the country.

The talent level was more spread out on the men’s side this year, while I honestly believed it was a down year on the women's side. I did see all the teams play and here’s how I see the first and second teams:

• MEN •

• 1st Team •

1. Grant Greenberg, Saint Mary — I was actually hoping to see Greenberg put on a virtuoso performance Saturday night, but McPherson College’s Kyle Lakin held him to half his 29.4 average. Still, he could play at another level.

2. Cameron Clark, Southwestern — A powerhouse, yet skilled enough to be a good 3-point shooter. A no-brainer.

3. Andrew Thomas, Tabor — Thomas is the most powerful inside presence in the KCAC. The conference doesn’t get many big men like him come down the pike.

4. Cody Harris, Bethany — Here’s another guy who can play at a higher level. Explosive scorer, probably plays off the crowd more than any player in the KCAC.

5. Adam Arciniega, Bethel — Color his light green. A prolific scorer, he had an uncanny ability to get to the basket and could run off hot streaks probably better than everybody, including Greenberg.

• 2nd Team •

1. Darius Hill, McPherson College — It was tough to keep him off the first team. Led the KCAC in rebounding and was sixth in scoring. Where would the Bulldogs have been without him?

2. Marshon Norfleet, Ottawa — He gave McPherson College nightmares, averaging 30 points in the two meetings. Another explosive player who scored points in bunches.

3. Adam Hasty, Ottawa — Tough, hard-nosed player who did a lot of the little things that don't show up in the scorebook. Really picked up his scoring late in the year.

4. Toby Baxter, Friends — Perhaps no player got more out of his athletic ability. Baxter knows how to play the game, working off screens to drain 3-pointers.

5. Jordan Thomas, Saint Mary — Another dynamic offensive player, Thomas rates the slight edge over Sterling’s Braden Thompson.

Note — Tabor’s Lance Carter is clearly a first-team selection, but played such a limited number of games I couldn’t put him on there.

• Player of the Year •

Grant Greenberg, Saint Mary — Saint Mary should be happy that Greenberg gave it a hometown discount as he hails from right there in Leavenworth. He’s a once-in-every-20-years type of player at this level.

• Coach of the Year •

Lots of good candidates, but Friends’ Dale Faber took a team that looked to have eighth- or ninth-place talent and guided it to fourth place.

• WOMEN • 

1. Tonisha Dean, Tabor — The best player on the best team in the KCAC. She was only 15th in the KCAC in scoring, but her game was well-rounded.

2. April Harpe, Bethel  — She quietly led the KCAC in both scoring and rebounding, averaging a double-double. To boot, she was the KCAC leader in shooting percentage. Maybe the most under-appreciated player in the conference.

3. Kayla Mollere, Friends — A dynamo at both ends of the floor. First in the KCAC in steals, second in both field goal percentage and rebounding and third in scoring. 

4. Bailey Brown, McPherson College — Brown’s incredible season was overshadowed by the Bulldogs’ losing record. Did everything she could in every game to give the Bulldogs a chance. She deserves some time off after putting in iron-woman minutes.

5. Ashley Romig, Ottawa — The best “big” in the KCAC. And she still has two more years.

• 2nd Team •

1. Jordan Hobbs, Southwestern. May be the KCAC’s most prolific shooter. Opposing teams had to design their game plan to keep her from getting loose.

2. Vanessa Kresin, Kansas Wesleyan — She has been one of the KCAC’s best for a long time. Very consistent performer.

3. Adriane Davis, Bethany — The KCAC’s leading scorer. A deluxe scorer who just didn’t have a lot of help.

4. Lori Dauer, Sterling — How did Bethany ever let Dauer get away? She played at Smoky Valley High School in Lindsborg and is one of those players who actually was better in college than she was in high school. 

5. Mikayla Skidmore, Ottawa — The premier passer in the KCAC, averaged nearly five assists a game. And one of the most deadly 3-point shooters.

• Player of the Year •

Tonisha Dean, Tabor — Dean's numbers don't emit a "wow," but she was the ultimate team player.

• Coach of the Year •

Shawn Reed, Tabor — Nobody else is even close.