Courtesy of the Mid-American Conference
Cleveland, Ohio -- Today the Mid-American Conference announced that Kent State's Justin Greene and Head Coach Geno Ford have earned top honors for the 2010-11 men's basketball season. Greene was named Player of Year, while Ford was tabbed Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season. The Player of the Year and Coach of the Year awards were voted on by a 20-member MAC News Media Association panel.
In a Player of the Year race where seven different student-athletes garnered votes - Greene grabbed a total of seven. Ohio's D.J. Cooper and Miami's Julian Mavunga each received four votes a piece and were followed by Eastern Michigan's Brandon Bowdry who received two. Western Michigan's Flenard Whitfield, Kent State's Rod Sherman and Northern Illinois Xavier Silas each received one vote a piece.
Kent State entered the 2010-11 season with 10 first year student-athletes and only three players that had previous experience in the program. Despite the influx of fresh faces into the line-up, Ford guided the Golden Flashes to a 12-4 league record and a 21-10 overall mark, as he became the first MAC coach in 48 years to led his team to consecutive outright regular season titles. He is only the fifth head coach in the 64-year history of the league to accomplish the feat joining a select group that includes Harold Anderson (Bowling Green, 1962 & 1963), Bill Roher (Miami, 1952 & 1953) and John Wiethe (Cincinnati, 1948, 1949, 1950 & 1951).
"We've had a pretty special season thus far and can be attributed primarily to the unselfishness of our players," said Ford. "I am honored to receive the award, but the real credit for the recognition of this individual achievement is due in large part to the effort of the players on the team and our entire coaching staff. When you win a championship of any sort it is because of the collaborated production of so many people.
Ford earns his second straight MAC Coach of the Year accolade making him the fourth coach to receive the recognition in back-to-back years. Its the ninth time that Kent State has had a head coach honored. In three years at the helm of the Golden Flashes program, Ford has gone 35-13 (.729) in conference play amongst his 64-35 (.646) overall record.
"The invaluable contributions made by our coaching staff, Associate Head Coach Rob Senderoff, Assistant Coaches Jordan Mincy and Bobby Steinburg, and Director of Operations Jaden Uken, were an instrumental part of our accomplishments," said Ford. "We are fortunate to all coach at a great institution such as Kent State that receives such overwhelming support from University President Dr. Lester Lefton, Director of Athletics Joel Nielsen and sport supervisor Tom Klienlein that has ensured the continued success of our men's basketball program."
Only the third player in school history (Al Fisher, 2008; DeAndre Haynes, 2006) to be named MAC Player of the Year, Greene receives the honor following a season in which he was the only player in the league ranked in the top 10 in points (7th - 15.6 ppg), rebounds (3rd - 8.4 rpg) and blocked shots (5th - 1.5 bpg). A six-time MAC East Player of the Week recipient this season, Greene also ranked amongst the league leaders in field goal percentage (11th - .472) and free throw percentage (12th - .739). He closed out the regular season recording three straight double-doubles to bring his season total to 11 ranking him second in the league.
"This award was really made possible by my teammates," said Greene. "I am thankful to be honored, but our focus right night is on winning the MAC Tournament and getting to the NCAA. That has been our ultimate goal all season and nothing has changed."
The 6'7" junior forward averaged 1.5 assists and 1.0 steals as well and was instrumental to the Golden Flashes success this season. He led the team in scoring 13 times in which Kent State posted an 11-2 record. The Golden Flashes are also 7-0 this season when Greene scores 20+ points.
"Justin is a special person and a special player that has been a part of championship teams in high school and in college because of his effectiveness statically and his unselfishness as a player," said Ford. "The most improved player in the country last season, he has continued to work and made huge strides again this year. This is a well deserved award for Justin in a league that has so many great players."
In the regular season finale vs Akron he reached the 1,000 career point plateau making him just the fifth Kent State player to reach the milestone in his junior year.
The top seed in the MAC Tournament, the Golden Flashes return to action in the quarterfinals on Thursday, March 10 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Kent State is scheduled to face the winner of Tuesday's 8/9 game between Central Michigan and Buffalo.
MAC Men's Basketball Coach of the Year
Geno Ford, Kent State (8 votes)
Charlie Coles, Miami (7 votes)
Steve Hawkins, Western Michigan (5 votes)
MAC Men's Basketball Player of the Year
Justin Greene, Kent State (7 votes)
Julian Mavunga, Miami (4 votes)
D.J. Cooper, Ohio (4 votes)
Brandon Bowdry, Eastern Michigan (2 votes)
Rod Sherman, Kent State (1 vote)
Xavier Silas, Northern Illinois (1 vote)
Flenard Whitfield, Western Michigan (1 vote)
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