Senior Rodney McGruder captured three awards, including the Rolando Blackman Team Most Valuable Player Award, to highlight festivities at the annual Kansas State men’s basketball banquet held Monday night at the Hilton Garden Inn and Manhattan Conference Center.
In addition to his MVP trophy, McGruder was named the winner of the 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery “Never Broken” Award and the Tex Winter Top Offensive Player Award. One of only two players in school history to rank among the Top 10 in both career scoring and rebounding, he led the Wildcats in eight categories in 2012-13 en route to earning All-Big 12 First Team and honorable mention All-America honors.
McGruder is the third player to repeat as team MVP, while he is the fourth to earn the top offensive player award twice in a career. He is the fourth recipient of the “Never Broken” Award given by the 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery regiment at Fort Riley. The team has had a relationship with the unit for the past six seasons, sharing experiences both on campus and on base. McGruder was the only men’s basketball player to earn recognition to the All-Big 12 First Team in both athletics and academics.
Sophomore Angel Rodriguez won two awards on the night, while seniors Jordan Henriquez and Martavious Irving, freshman D.J. Johnson, sophomore Brian Rohleder and junior Shane Southwell each captured one apiece.
Rodriguez was selected as the winner of the Jack Hartman Top Defensive Player and the Ernie Barrett Play Hard Awards. A member of the All-Big 12 Second Team and Big 12 All-Defensive Team, he led the Wildcats in 3-point field goals (55), assists (173) and steals (50) and was second in scoring (11.4 ppg.), double-digit scoring games (23) and minutes per game (28.2). Rodriguez ranked among the Top 5 in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio (second), assists (third), free throw percentage (third) and steals (fourth).
Irving was named the winner of the Porky Morgan Most Inspirational Player Award, which is the program’s oldest award and honors the longtime K-State Athletics Trainer from 1950-80. Irving was one of the team’s top bench players, averaging 5.1 points, 2.2 assists and 1.8 rebounds in 20.8 minutes per game in 31 of 33 games off the bench. Henriquez captured the Mitch Richmond Mr. Basketball Award after leading the Wildcats in blocked shots (64) to go with averages of 5.0 points and 5.0 rebounds in 15.9 minutes per game.
The three-man senior class of Henriquez, Irving and McGruder is the winningest (101) in school history, while they are three of just four Wildcats to appear in four consecutive NCAA Tournaments.
Southwell was chosen as the recipient of the Ed Nealy Most Improved Player Award, which goes to the player who makes the most improvement from one season to the next. An honorable mention All-Big 12 performer, he averaged 8.4 points on 45.2 percent shooting, including 43.6 percent from 3-point range, to go with 3.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.1 steals in 25.9 minutes per game as a junior. He ranked second on the team in assists and third in scoring, 3-point field goals and steals and fourth in minutes played. He came into the 2012-13 season averaging just 2.5 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 62 games played in his two-year career.
Spradling was the inaugural winner of the Bob Boozer Courage Award, which is named for the two-time consensus All-American who passed away in 2012. An Academic All-Big 12 Second Team selection, Spradling played in 34 of 35 games, including 33 starts, despite multiple injuries, including a broken nose and a chest contusion. He ranked second on the team in minutes played (933), while he was third in assists (82), fourth in 3-point field goals (46) and steals and fifth in scoring (7.4 ppg.).
The final two awards were given to Johnson as the Dean Harris Newcomer of the Year and Rohleder as the repeat winner of the Keith Amerson Academic Award. Johnson played in 30 games as a true freshman, averaging 2.3 points on 56 percent shooting with 2.5 rebounds in 9.3 minutes per game. The award, which dates to 1975, is named for Harris, a talented freshman from East St. Louis, Ill., who tragically died in 1974. Rohleder, a walk-on from Wichita, Kan., maintains a 4.0 GPA in mechanical engineering. The academic award is named for Amerson (1989-91), whose determination to reach his potential on and off the court set the standard for future student-athletes.
Led by 2013 Big 12 Coach of the Year Bruce Weber, Kansas State enjoyed one of its best men’s basketball season in 2012-13, posting a 27-8 overall record and 14-4 mark in league play en route to its first-ever Big 12 regular season championship and a fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. The 27 wins were the second-most in school history, while the 14 in league play tied the school record held by the 1958-59 team. The league championship was the 18th in school history and the first since the 1976-77 season.
2012-13 Kansas State Men’s Basketball Team Awards:
Fort Riley Never Broken Award: Rodney McGruder
Ernie Barrett Play Hard Award: Angel Rodriguez
Keith Amerson Academic Award: Brian Rohleder
Dean Harris Newcomer of the Year Award: D.J. Johnson
Bob Boozer Courage Award: Will Spradling
Porky Morgan Most Inspirational Award: Martavious Irving
Ed Nealy Most Improved Award: Shane Southwell
Jack Hartman Top Defensive Player Award: Angel Rodriguez
Tex Winter Top Offensive Player Award: Rodney McGruder
Mitch Richmond Mr. Basketball Award: Jordan Henriquez
Rolando Blackman Most Valuable Player Award: Rodney McGruder