Seniors honored on 'Murray State Basketball Awards Night'
The Murray State men's basketball squad was honored Tuesday evening for the greatest season in 87 years of Racer hoops at the MSU Racer Club Banquet at the CFSB Center in Murray, Ky.
MSU’s 31-2 season featured a plethora of program records and firsts, with all of it coming with a rookie head coach Steve Prohm leading the way.
“It was a great night and a great way to honor our team and our three unbelievable seniors,” Prohm said when he addressed the large gathering at the Racers’ home court. “When you recap this season and all the great things this team accomplished. I couldn’t be more proud of the way they represented our program. The one word that I’ll take from this season is ‘impact’, the way they impacted this program, and this community.”
The team handed out honors to the trio of seniors who leave MSU as the winningest class in program history with 104 victories: Ivan Aska (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), Jewuan Long (Jackson, Tenn.) and Donte Poole (Las Vegas, Nev.) This group led the way as MSU posted the program’s longest and best streak to start the season as MSU was also the last undefeated team in NCAA Division I at 23-0. They also helped the Racers post the program’s first undefeated season in road games when they were 13-0.
“This night meant a lot to me,” Long said. “To celebrate this season with my teammates, coaching staff and some of our fans. This was my last moment so I wanted to take it all in.”
When the 2011-12 season awards were handed out, the seniors were front and center, just like they were during the great season.
The Jeff Martin Class & Character Award, named after MSU’s all-time scorer, was given to Ivan Aska who leaves with a spot in the MSU 1000-Point Club and 678 career rebounds. During his career, Aska was the 2009 OVC Freshman of the Year, CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Freshman All-America, 2010 NABC All-District 19 and 2012 All-OVC Second Team.
Donte Poole was named to the Popeye Jones - Mr. MSU Award that goes to the student-athlete who displayed excellence in all areas on and off the court. A role player until his senior season, Poole showed that hard work and patience pays off when he was named to the All-OVC First Team and was the OVC Tournament MVP. Poole leaves MSU with 882 career points.
The Garrett Beshear Defensive Award, named after one of MSU’s all-time best defenders, was given to Jewuan Long who was also the Ohio Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Long was often referred to as the “glue” that held the Racers together as they won their 23rd OVC regular season title and made their 15th trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Ed Daniel, a junior from Birmingham, Ala., was given the Racer Hustle Award. Daniel showed tremendous effort and that was particularly evident in MSU’s NCAA third round game (March 17) when he had a career-high 14 rebounds.
Biloxi, Miss., junior, Isaiah Canaan was recognized for his OVC Player of the Year season in which he was also named to six All-America teams and today was named the CollegeInsider.com National Player of the Year. Canaan enters his senior season in 2012-13 with a chance to become only the sixth MSU player to reach the 2,000 career points mark.
The attending guests were also treated to a season highlight video featuring all of the great moments in MSU’s season which included a championship at the Great Alaska Shootout last November.
At times, the MSU season seemed like a dream as the winning and national attention kept on rising.
MSU had their highest program rankings (Feb. 9) when they were No. 7 in the ESPN/USA Today Poll and No. 9 in the Associated Press Poll in the week of Feb. 9. The unbeaten streak set the OVC record for best start to a season and longest win streak. Fans flocked to the CFSB Center in record numbers as the Racers ended the season with six straight sellouts.
When the dust settled, MSU had its 25th straight winning season, a mark bested by only Syracuse, Kansas and Arizona. It’s a streak particularly impressive when one considers that it has been accomplished under seven head coaches.
Prohm mentioned that he plans on coaching many more years, but a season like this one is rare indeed.
“I may coach another 30 years, I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know what our teams in the future will do. We might go to the Sweet 16, we might go to the Final Four, I don’t know. But I’m going to remember this season for the rest of my life.”
From: MSU media relations