Seniors Dan Oppland (Saint Louis, Mo./Whitfield), Ron Howard (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young) and Mohamed Kone (Lyon, France/Jean Paul Sartre) have earned All-Mid-Continent Conference honors, the league announced today. Valpo's three All-Conference performers are the most of any school in the league.
Oppland, third in school history in career points and rebounds, has been named to the All-Conference First Team for the second consecutive season. The 6'8" forward is averaging career-highs of 19.9 points and 8.1 rebounds, and has posted seven double-doubles, second in the conference. A Second Team All-Conference choice as a sophomore, Oppland was recently named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District V team for the third straight year. Oppland has scored at least 20 points in a game 16 times this season, and has hit double-figure scoring in 54 of his last 58 games. The Saint Louis native is the sixth Crusader to earn All-Conference honors three times in a career, joining Harry Bell, Tracy Gipson, Bryce Drew, Lubos Barton and Raitis Grafs.
Howard earned Second Team honors, also for the second straight season. Averaging 13.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and a team-high 1.5 steals per game, Howard has scored in double figures 15 times in Valpo's last 16 games. The 6'5" guard/forward currently sits 14th on the Crusaders' all-time assists chart with 236 career helpers and has recorded 98 steals in his three-year Valpo career.
Kone garnered Honorable Mention All-Conference and All-Newcomer honors in his first season with the Crusaders. A transfer from the College of Southern Idaho, Kone is third on the team in scoring at 10.5 points per game, and second in rebounds, hauling down 7.8 per contest. A ferocious defender, Kone has blocked 50 shots this year, sixth most in Valpo single-season history.
Regular season co-champions Oral Roberts and IUPUI won four of the five individual awards, with the Golden Eagles' Caleb Green named Mid-Con's Player of the Year for the second consecutive season and teammate Larry Owens named the league's Defensive Player of the Year. IUPUI's Ron Hunter is the Coach of the Year, while Jaguar reserve Maushae Byles has been named Sixth Man of the Year. Oakland guard Calvin Wooten prevented the sweep by earning Newcomer of the Year honors.
The Crusaders open the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament March 5 in Tulsa, Okla. at the John Q. Hammons Arena at the UMAC. Valpo, the fourth seed in the eight-team field, will meet Southern Utah in the first round at 6:00 p.m. Valpo's entire tournament run will be carried live on the Valpo Sports Radio Network and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics.