MSU'S Isaiah Canaan named OVC male athlete of the year

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Murray State’s Isaiah Canaan was named the Ohio Valley Conference Male Athlete of the Year for 2011-12 in voting by the league’s athletics directors and sports information directors. The award will be presented to Canaan as part of the OVC’s annual Honors Brunch at the Double Tree Hotel in Nashville, Tenn., Friday.

Canaan, a junior from Biloxi, Miss., becomes the sixth MSU student athlete to win the award following Gary Hooker (1980), Jeff Martin (1988 & 1989), Popeye Jones (1991 & 1992), Marcus Brown (1995) and De’Teri Mayes (1998). All of MSU’s winners have come from men’s basketball and have combined to win the award eight times.

“I want thank the OVC’s athletics directors and sports information directors for this honor,” Canaan said. “I also want to congratulate the other nominees for their accomplishments they had during the season. This is a huge honor and I share it with my teammates and coaches, because this wouldn’t have happened without them.”

Canaan enjoyed tremendous individual and team accomplishments with the Racers in the 2011-12 season.

He ranked high in several national statistics including 24th in scoring average (19.0 points per game), sixth in 3-point percentage (.456) and 13th in 3-pointers made per game (2.97). Canaan had four 30-point games during the season, including a season-high 36 points against Southern Miss in the championship game of the Great Alaskan Shootout in leading the Racers to the title at the 34th annual event. Canaan was named MVP of the event. He led the Racers to victories over nationally-ranked Memphis and Saint Mary’s during the year. Following the season he was named an All-American by seven different outlets including the Wooden Team (one of 10 total players), The Sporting News (first-team), CBSSports.com (first-team), Associated Press (second-team), USBWA (second-team), NABC (third-team) and Lute Olson Team. He was also one of five finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, given to the nation’s top point guard.

Canaan was one of the leaders for MSU as they completed an amazing season that ended one step shy of the NCAA Sweet 16. MSU was 31-2 in the regular season and tied the OVC mark for wins. The Racers won the OVC regular season title for a 23rd time and the OVC Tournament title for a 15th time. The Racers enjoyed a national ranking as high as No. 7 (the highest-ranking in school history and first OVC team to be ranked in the Top 10 since the 1970-71 season), was the last undefeated team in Division I at 23-0 and the only team to be undefeated in road games (13-0).

Canaan’s award marks the fourth time in the last five years that the OVC Male Athlete of the Year has gone to a men’s basketball player.

Canaan joins Eastern Kentucky senior distance runner Lydia Kosgei, who is the OVC’s Female Athlete of the Year.

The OVC first awarded a Male Athlete of the Year award in 1977 and gave out the first Female Athlete of the Year in 1981.

Murray State OVC Male Athlete of the Year Winners

1979-80 -- Gary Hooker (basketball)
1987-88 -- Jeff Martin (basketball)
1988-89 -- Jeff Martin (basketball)
1990-91 -- Ronald "Popeye" Jones (basketball)
1991-92 -- Ronald "Popeye" Jones (basketball)
1994-95 -- Marcus Brown (basketball)

1997-98 -- De'Teri Mayes (basketball)
2011-12 – Isaiah Canaan (basketball)

Murray State OVC Male Athlete of the Year Winners

1984-85 -- Pat Spurgin (rifle)

1989-90 -- Deena Wigger (rifle) (Co-winner)
2008-09 -- Ashley Hayes (basketball)


From: MSU media relations

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