Southwest Minnesota State men's basketball players Jordan Miller, Nick Smith and Vinard Birch each earned Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference honors, as announced by the NSIC on Thursday. Miller was named first team All-NSIC, Smith earned second team All-NSIC honors, and Birch was named the conference's Defensive Player of the Year.
The NSIC honorees were selected by the conference's 14 head coaches.
Miller, a 6-foot-5 junior guard, leads the Mustangs in scoring at 14.6 points per game and has hit a team-high 55 three-pointers. He is shooting 44.5 percent from the field, 38.7 percent from three-point range and 85.1 percent from the foul line. He also has 74 assists, 30 steals and 14 blocked shots.
Smith, a 6-9 sophomore center, is second on SMSU's team in scoring at 12.0 ppg and he leads the Mustangs in rebounding (5.5 rpg) and blocked shots (42). He is shooting 56.8 percent from the field and 81.4 percent from the free-throw line.
Birch, a 5-10 sophomore guard, is third on the team with 33 steals and leads SMSU with 91 assists. He tied for 13th in the conference with 25 steals in NSIC games. He also finished the NSIC season fifth in assist/turnover ratio and is 10th in assists.
Birch is the third SMSU player to earn NSIC Defensive Player of the Year honors in the program's history, joining Jimmy Dekker (2002-09) and Ryan Krome 2008-09).
SMSU continues play in the NSIC/Sanford Health Tournament on Saturday, as the No. 2-seeded Mustangs face No. 6 seed Winona State in the semifinals. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Taylor Arena in Rochester.
Bemidji State senior forward James Ellisor was named the NSIC Player of the Year. He led the conference in scoring with 22.9 ppg in conference contests. His 504 total points in league play established a new conference record for points in a season.
Minnesota State-Mankato forward/center Zach Romasko was named the NSIC Freshman of the Year. He averaged 12.6 ppg, which was second on his squad.
Bemidji State's Dermaine Crockrell was selected as the conference's Newcomer of the Year, averaging 12.7 ppg and posting four 20-point games during the season.
Beavers head coach Matt Bowen was chosen as the NSIC Coach of the Year after leading BSU to winningest season in the program's history. BSU finished the regular season with a 21-7 record and earned the No. 1 seed in the NSIC tournament.