McNeal Steals the MVP

Marquette University held the annual Men's Basketball Awards Banquet last night at the Grain Exchange Building. Fox 6 Sports Anchor Tim Van Vooren was the emcee for the evening. Several hundred people were in attendance including assistant coach Jason Rabedeaux who was late, explaining that he had come directly from the Bradley Center where he was still listening to Jamil Lott's Senior Day speech.

Marquette University held the annual Men's Basketball Awards Banquet last night at the Grain Exchange Building. Fox 6 Sports Anchor Tim Van Vooren was the emcee for the evening. Several hundred people were in attendance including Marquette assistant coach Jason Rabedeaux who was late, explaining that he had come directly from the Bradley Center where he was still listening to Jamil Lott's Senior Day speech.

Head Coach Tom Crean made special mention of several people in attendance that help make Marquette Basketball what it is including the Blue & Gold Fund staff, the academic support staff, the administrators that were in attendance and even the Bradley Center crews that were present.

Crean spoke about the departing seniors, Mike Kinsella, Jamil Lott and Craig Kuphall as well as student manager Jimmy McGuire.

The awards started out with the statistical awards where there were no surprises….

Free Throw Proficiency Award: Wesley Matthews
(77% -Notably 10/10 and 12/12 in 2 games)

Most Assists Award: Dominic James
(167, 4.9 APG, thanked his teammates for making the shots )

Chairman of the Boards: Ousmane Barro
(234, 6.9 RPG - Who also had six double-doubles in the season)

Hit the Deck Award (Most drawn charges): Jerel McNeal
This award is for taking charges not only in games, but in practice too, and he was fortunate enough to defend Cubillan every day in practice.

Deflection King: Jerel McNeal
10.5 per game While all time record is Dwyane Wade with 12.2)

Next came the effort awards…

Super Sub Award (6th man): David Cubillan

Floor Burn Award (effort): Wesley Matthews

Most Improved: Ousmane Barro, Dan Fitzgerald, Lazar Hayward
(Voting ended up in a three way tie and Tom Crean opted not to break the tie)

Bart Miller Standard of Excellence Award: Dominic James

Ouluma Nnamaka Consistancy Award: Wesley Matthews

When delivering the award for Most Improved Player, Coach Tom Crean made special mention of the progress that has been made by redshirt sophomore Maurice Acker. Crean mentioned that he hasn't seen such an improvement in that short of a time in any player.

When presenting the Bart Miller Standard of Excellence Award, Coach Crean spoke about the main reason why Dominic was named the winner and it was what he does off the court. Crean spoke about the charities and fundraisers that Dominic has helped with in his hometown of Richmond, IN, especially the work he has put in for the fundraiser that Del Harris runs for battered children in the Richmond area.

When it came to Most Valuable Player, the winner voted on by his teammates, was sophomore Jerel McNeal. McNeal immediately received a standing ovation led by teammate Dominic James. James, McNeal's competition for the award was the first one to rise to his feet to applaud his teammate.

When McNeal got to the podium to accept the award, he immediately called Dominic James and Wesley Matthews onto the stage as he explained the closeness the three share, and how much it means to him that they are his teammates.

McNeal was named to the All Big East Second Team and was also the Big East Conference's Defensive Player of the Year.

OTHER QUICK NOTES:

**Rob Jackson has joined staff as Asst. Strength Coach

**Todd Townsend recognized and wished well in his new position as an assistant coach with Northeastern University

**Derek Deprey recognized and wished well in his new position as Director of Player Development with Utah. Crean commented that Derek came to MU from the Bucks under the recommendation of Jim Boylen, and when Boylen got the head job at Utah he took Derek back.

**Mike Kinsella has already graduated, Craig Kuphall graduates in two weeks and when Jamil Lott graduates in December, MU will have graduated it last 21 of 21 basketball players who have completed their eligibility at Marquette.

To end the evening, Coach Crean brought the entire team onto the stage and gave an energizing speech about what it meant to him to coach such a great group of men this past season. Crean even called out Milwaukee County Sherriff David Clark who was in attendance, saying that he could take any single one of the players up there to speak to anyone, anywhere, and know that he has someone who is a role model and a perfect example of what a citizen of Milwaukee should be, along with him.


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