For the third time in four seasons, a Loyola men’s basketball (21-4, 16-2) player won Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Player of the Year. Senior center Cameron Krutwig was named Player of the Year, the league announced March 2. The award is given to the MVC’s top player based on voting by coaches, sports information directors and members of the media.
Three other Ramblers were named to various All-Conference teams and senior guard Lucas Williamson was awarded Defensive Player of the Year.
Krutwig, who was also named to the First Team All-MVC, has led the Ramblers on all fronts with an average of 15 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.1 blocks and 1.1 steals per game. In January, he became the fourth player in MVC history to score 1,500 points, 800 rebounds and 300 assists for his career, joining basketball legends Oscar Robertson, Larry Bird and Hersey Hawkins.
Krutwig had finished in the top three in the MVC Player of the Year voting in each of the last two years. He brings the title back to Loyola for the third time in four years, preceded by former teammates Clayton Custer and Marques Townes.
“[Krutwig] couldn’t even take the celebration for five seconds without trying to say ‘Man, this is all you guys,’” men’s basketball coach Porter Moser said. “They’re all about winning as a team but it’s great for them to get individually recognized as well.”
Williamson was tabbed Second Team All-MVC and became the second Rambler in the last four seasons to win MVC Defensive Player of the Year — Ben Richardson won the award in 2018. Williamson adds 7.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.5 steals per game. He’s helped his team to be the best defensive scoring team in all of Division I basketball.
Redshirt senior forward Aher Uguak joins Williamson on the All-Defensive team and is the lone Rambler named to the Third Team all MVC. The Edmonton, Alberta native is the fourth leading scorer on the team averaging 7.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.2 apg and converted 62.1 percent of his shot attempts.
“We honestly went the most crazy for that one because we know how hard [Uguak] has worked,” Krutwig said. “We know the time he’s put in and everything he’s done.”
Earning his first-ever MVC accolade, redshirt sophomore guard Braden Norris was named to the All-Newcomer Team. Norris scored in double digits on seven occasions this year and contributed 7.5 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game.
Drake University also tabbed two Player of the Year awards. Sophomore guard Joseph Yesufu was named MVC Sixth Man of the Year and senior guard ShanQuan Hemphill earned the title of MVC Newcomer of the Year. Rounding out the awards, University of Northern Iowa’s first-year guard Bowen Born won MVC Freshman of the Year.