VanVleet named Player of the Year, McDuffie Freshman of Year in Valley awards

VanVleet enters the starting lineup in his final home game, against the Illinois State Redbirds on Saturday. VanVleet was named MVC Player of the Year on Tuesday.

Evan Pflugradt

Senior point guard Fred VanVleet was named the Larry Bird Missouri Valley Player of the Year, for the second time in his career, on Tuesday. He last claimed the title his sophomore year — nine have won the title twice. 

VanVleet joins Xavier McDaniel as the lone Wichita State player to earn the title twice. He is the fourth Shocker to win the award.

““You don’t work this hard to take second place,” VanVleet said. 

VanVleet averaged 12 points this season. He leads the conference in assists averaging 5.8 per game. He received 100 votes — selected by media and athletic directors. Evansville forward Egidijus Mockevicius finished in second in the voting with 68 points.

“It’s been a long journey, a lot of discipline and sacrifice,” VanVleet said. “I think this one means a little bit more.”

VanVleet helped lead the Shockers to a record of 21-3 since his return from an injured hamstring in November.

Freshman Markis McDuffie was named MVC Freshman of the Year. He was also named to the All-Freshman team and All-Newcomer team.

McDuffie is the eighth Shocker to be recognized on the All-Freshman team. He is the second WSU freshman in the last two decades to be recognized to the All-Newcomer team.

“Usually an established team like us at this point doesn’t get the Freshman of the Year — that’s odd,” Marshall said. “Our freshmen don’t get the opportunity to play that frequently.

“This year Markis really found his niche.”

McDuffie averaged 7.4 points and 3.1 rebounds per game.

“It’s crazy. I didn’t expect it coming into this season,” McDuffie said. “It means a lot to me.”

Baker and VanVleet were named to the All-Conference team, and were also members of the All-Defensive team. They become the sixth and seventh Shockers named to the All-Conference team for three or more years, they are the first duo to do so.  

Cleveland State transfer, senior Anton Grady was named to the All-Newcomer team.

“It’s a good accomplishment,” Grady said. “It’s a small stepping stone for how I want to finish this year.”

Baker finished third in the voting for MVC Player of the Year. He finished runner-up last season behind Seth Tuttle and third in his sophomore season behind Cleanthony Early and VanVleet.

“I feel like [Ron] doesn’t get enough respect,” VanVleet said. “They make it seem like his success has a lot to do with me, but it’s vise-versa as well. Maybe they need to do two trophies.”