Awards put an exclamation point on the season
They say bulldogs aren’t very vicious, but they were able to kill a Maverick last week.
The Mavs Men’s Basketball team ended their 2022-23 season with a 17-12 record and fell in the first round of the NSIC Tournament to the University of Minnesota, Duluth Bulldogs.
Two Mavs stood out more than any other this season, and they were awarded with All-NSIC honors for their performance this season. Junior Malik Willingham was named to the All-NSIC First Team, while senior Trevor Moore was named to the All-NSIC Second Team.
Malik Willingham led the Mavs in scoring this season with 18.7 points per game on 44.6 percent from the field and 42.1 percent from three point range. He stood out all year, posting multiple 30+ point games, including a career high 41 points against Concordia St. Paul. Malik Willingham was also able to lead the team in assists per game, dishing out 3.6 per night.
“This season, I felt like I was in a role I was natural at,” said Malik Willingham. “I like to pass the ball, so playing point guard helped me play naturally, even though I can score too. I felt like a whole new person.”
Moore quietly averaged 15 points per game this season, good enough for second on the team. He was a reliable second option this season and scored 20 or more points in 10 games. Moore was also one of four ironmen on the Mavs, playing and starting in all 29 games in his only season as a Maverick.
The other Mavs who were able to suit up in every game are sophomores Kyreese Willingham, Tyrell Stuttley and Mason Muller. Kyreese Willingham, who also played the most minutes on the team by over 100, was a pleasant surprise this season. Stepping into a big role at a big time, Kyreese Willingham was third on the team in scoring with 13.2 points per game, and led the team in rebounds with 6.3 per game.
“Everyone on the team put in so much work in the off-season to get where they are today,” said Malik Willingham. “I’m proud of them.”
Muller and sophomore guard Harrison Braudis were named to the CSC Academic All-District Team. To be eligible for the team, the player needs to be a starter or a key reserve with at least a 3.5 GPA at their university. Muller owns a 3.51 GPA and is majoring in Biology, while Braudis owns a 3.72 GPA and is a Finance major.
It is the end of the season for the Mavs, but only two will be graduating. Moore and Center Kelby Kramer’s time with Minnesota State is over, but they both played a very important role in the team’s success this year. In four seasons with the Mavs, Kramer played in 94 games, started 87, and averaged 7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2 blocks per game.
“We built life-long relationships here,” said Malik Willingham. “Being a teammate just means a lot to us.”
The Mavs are out for the season, but a majority of the team will be back next year. Until then, they get some time off before they start preparing for next season, where they hope to be back and better than ever.
Write to Hayden Lee at Hayden.Lee@my.smsu.edu
Header photo: The MSU Men’s Basketball team ended their season with a 17-12 record. 6-3 Junior guard, Malik Willingham (above), accumulated the most points from this season with 485 points as well as achieving 1,000 career points with the Mavericks. (Dylan Long)