All-NCAC Men's Basketball
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2018 ALL-NCAC BASKETBALL SQUAD ANNOUNCED;
Ohio Wesleyan senior guard Nate Axelrod (Dublin, OH/Coffman) has been named the Player of the Year for the third year in a row and Wittenberg senior Chad Roy (Toledo, OH/Holland Springfield) has been named the league's Top Defensive Player to highlight the 2018 All-North Coast Athletic Conference men's basketball squad, as selected by the league's 10 head coaches.
Axelrod is now just the third player in NCAC history to be a four-time All-NCAC first-team selection and the first to earn a Player of the Year award in three consecutive seasons. The other two players to land on the top team in four consecutive years were OWU's Travis Schwab (2001-04) and Wooster's Xavier Brown (2012-15). Axelrod had arguably one of the most productive offensive season's in league history this year after leading the conference in both points (538) and assists (191) in 28 total regular season games. He is the first NCAC men's player on record to lead the league in both categories in a single season. Axelrod scored in double figures in 16 of his 18 regular season conference games, led by a season-high 30 points in a narrow 73-70 home loss against Wooster on January 6th. He also handed out six or more assists in 10 different league games this season, which included a pair of nine-assist performances in wins over DePauw, 77-72, and Kenyon, 108-82. Axelrod concludes his historic career at OWU as the only player in NCAC history to accumulate 2,000 or more points and 650-plus assists in a career with 2,001 total points and 655 career assists.
Roy, who is also making his All-NCAC debut as a member of the first team, was selected as the league's top defensive player throughout the conference season after anchoring the Tigers' defensive unit that limited NCAC opponents to a league-low 67.2 points per game. In 18 conference games, he ranked sixth among league players in rebounding with 80 total boards (6.4 rpg) and 16th overall in blocked shots with 10. He notched a pair of double-digit rebounding performances against conference foes with 11 in an 87-67 win over Kenyon and 10 in an 87-58 win at Allegheny, while his season-high mark in blocks also came against an NCAC foe with three in the 76-64 win over DePauw on January 24th.
Ohio Wesleyan senior guard Seth Clark (Lewis Center, OH/Olentangy) and Wooster senior guard Spencer Williams (Warrensville Hts., OH/Orange), who were both second-team selections last winter, landed on the top team for the second time in their career this season after also earning the honor in 2016. In addition, Hiram senior center Kelvin Jones (Sheffield Lake, OH/Brookside) elevated to the top team this year after being named to the second team last year and the honorable mention squad in 2016.
In addition, Wabash freshman guard Jack Davidson (Fishers, IN/Hamilton Southeastern) is now the fourth Little Giant rookie in the last six years to earn the NCAC's Newcomer of the Year award as the league's top player in their first year of collegiate competition. Davidson, who is also a member of the All-NCAC second team this season, finished second behind Axelrod in scoring this year with 316 total points in 18 conference games for an average of 17.6 points per game. He scored in double figures in all 18 conference games this season, which included a season-best mark of 30 in a 78-74 home win over Hiram on February 2nd. He was also one the NCAC's top distributors with 58 assists during the conference slate, including a season-high eight helpers in an 88-76 loss at Ohio Wesleyan on January 24th.
Finally, Wittenberg head coach Matt Croci was named the NCAC Men's Basketball Coach of the Year for the second time in his career after also earning the recognition as Kenyon's head coach in the 2007-08 season. Croci guided the Tigers to their first outright NCAC title since 2012 with a 16-2 mark against league foes and also helped them earn their first NCAC Tournament crown since 2006 with an 82-70 win over Ohio Wesleyan in the championship game. The Tigers not only swept the regular season NCAC titles, but also opened the season with a remarkable 22-game winning streak will now take a 26-2 mark into the NCAA Div. III Men's Basketball Tournament. Croci and the Tigers are now set to compete in the national tournament for the first time since 2014 with a first-round home contest against Misericordia on Friday, March 2nd, at 7:30 p.m.