NJCAA Men's Basketball Coaches Association Announces 2011-12 Award Winners
April 26, 2012
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The 2011-12 NJCAA Coach and Player of the Year awards for all three divisions were announced Thursday by the NJCAA Men’s Basketball Coaches Association.
Earning Coach of the Year honors in Division I was Steve Green of South Plains College (Texas). The Division II award went to Steve Schmidt of Mott Community College (Mich.), while Sandhills Community College (N.C.) head coach Mike Apple claimed the distinction in Division III.
The Division I Player of the Year was South Plains College (Texas) sophomore guard Marshall Henderson. Division II accolades went to Mott Community College (Mich.) sophomore guard John Taylor and Sullivan County Community College (N.Y.) sophomore forward Cleanthony Early was named Division III Player of the Year for the second-consecutive season.
DIVISION I COACH OF THE YEAR
Steve Green; South Plains College, Texas
South Plains head coach Steve Green acquired his second Division I Coach of the Year award following his second national championship season with the Texans. Green became one of only 11 NJCAA coaches to win multiple championships after directing his team to a perfect season. The Texans became only the sixth team in DI men’s basketball history to finish the season undefeated. Champions of Region 5 and District 5, Green’s 36-0 campaign culminated with an 81-68 win over Northwest Florida State College in the national championship game. Green’s squad was one of the top offensive teams in the nation in 2011-12. The Texans were the nation’s sixth best shooting team, knocking down 50 percent of their shots from the field. South Plains also ranked 11th in offensive production with 86.6 points per game.
DIVISION I PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Marshall Henderson; South Plains College, Texas
Marshall Henderson, a sophomore guard from South Plains, was named the Division I Player of the Year. Behind Henderson, the Texans cruised to a 36-0 record to become only the sixth undefeated team in DI men’s basketball history. Henderson capped off South Plains’ perfect season with a phenomenal performance in the national championship game. The sophomore scored a game-high 32 points to spur the Texans on to an 81-68 victory over Northwest Florida State College. On the season, Henderson ranked 13th in the nation in scoring with 19.6 points per game. The Hurst, Texas-native was also named to the All-Tournament team and was a first team All-America selection. Henderson will take his talents to the Southeastern Conference next season as he suits up for the Ole Miss Rebels.
DIVISION II COACH OF THE YEAR
Steve Schmidt; Mott Community College, Mich.
Adding to his extensive collection of accolades, Mott head coach Steve Schmidt was named Division II Coach of the Year for the third time in the last five seasons. Schmidt led the Bears to a 35-1 record, a District 9 title and a DII-record fourth national championship. Mott’s success in 2011-12 was anchored by the country’s 10th-ranked defense which gave up only 64.9 points per game. That philosophy continued all the way to the title game where the Bears earned a 70-60 win over Community College of Rhode Island. Among the NJCAA’s active coaches, Schmidt currently ranks 13th in all-time wins with a career record of 573-124. Schmidt’s 27-4 record at the national tournament is the best in DII history. Inducted in 2010, Schmidt is also a member of the NJCAA Coaches Hall of Fame.
DIVISION II PLAYER OF THE YEAR
John Taylor; Mott Community College, Mich.
Earning Division II Player of the Year honors was Mott sophomore guard John Taylor. The Chicago-native led the Bears to a 35-1 national championship season in 2011-12. Defeating Community College of Rhode Island 70-60 in the title game, the Bears received a game-high 23 points and six assists from Taylor. On the season, Taylor ranked seventh in the nation in scoring with 24.9 points per game and led Mott with 4.1 assists per game. For his efforts, Taylor was named Tournament MVP and was a first team All-America selection.
DIVISION III COACH OF THE YEAR
Mike Apple; Sandhills Community College, N.C.
Sandhills couldn’t have asked more of head coach Mike Apple who was named Division III Coach of the Year in his first season at the helm. Compiling a 30-6 record in 2011-12, Apple guided the Flyers to the Region 10 and District 7 titles and the school’s first national championship in any sport. With a 101-86 win over Cedar Valley College (Texas) in the title game, Sandhills became the first North Carolina school to win the DIII crown. Apple spent 26 years coaching North Carolina high school basketball prior to his arrival at Sandhills.
DIVISION III PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Cleanthony Early; Sullivan County Community College, N.Y.
For the second-consecutive season, Sullivan sophomore forward Cleanthony Early was selected as the Division III Player of the Year. Leading the Generals to a 28-4 record in 2011-12, Early solidified himself as a first team All-America selection and one of the NJCAA’s top all-around talents. Early averaged a double-double on the season, ranking eighth in the nation in scoring with 24.2 points per game and 22nd in rebounding with 10.7 boards per game. The Middletown, N.Y.-native also recorded the seventh-most blocks in the country with 3.7 per game. Moving on to the NCAA next season, Early has signed a letter of intent with Wichita State.