March 1, 2010

Five Bulldogs Honored On All-Horizon League Team

Butler’s historic performance in league play resulted in a record showing on the 2009-10 Horizon League Men’s Basketball All-League Team, released by the league office on Monday (Mar. 1).  For the first time since joining the Horizon League in 1979-80, all five Butler starters have been recognized on the All-League squad, selected by coaches, media, and sports information directors.

Butler head coach Brad Stevens, who guided the Bulldogs to the league’s first 18-0 record and a fourth consecutive regular season championship, was named Horizon League Coach of the Year for the second straight year.  Sophomore Gordon Hayward was selected as the league’s Player of the Year, and sophomore Ronald Nored was picked as the league’s co-Defensive Player of the Year.

Hayward earned first team All-Horizon League honors, along with teammates Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack.  Rounding out the first team were Rahmon Fletcher of Green Bay and Norris Cole of Cleveland State.  It was the first time one team had three players named to a five-player All-Horizon League first team. 

Picked second team All-League were Brandon Wood and Cory Johnson of Valparaiso, Vaughn Duggins of Wright State, Chase Simon of Detroit and Ricky Franklin of Milwaukee.

Nored shared league Defensive Player of the Year honors with Woody Payne of Detroit.  The two headlined the All-Defensive Team, which included Butler’s Willie Veasley, D’Aundray Brown of Cleveland State and Duggins.

The league’s All-Newcomer Team included Wood, Johnson, and Simon, along with Eli Holman and Xavier Keeling, both of Detroit.  Wood was named Newcomer of the Year, and Loyola’s Walt Gibler was selected as the league’s Sixth Man of the Year.

Hayward, Butler’s leading scorer (15.8) and rebounder (8.5), is the fourth Butler player in the past five seasons to capture the league’s top individual honor, following Howard (2008-09), Mike Green (2007-08) and Brandon Polk (2005-06).  He’s the seventh Butler player all-time to be named Horizon League Player of the Year.  Hayward currently ranks fourth in the league in scoring and third in rebounding, while boasting a league-high 11 double-doubles.

Howard earned first team All-League recognition for the second straight season, after being named second team All-League as a freshman in 2007-08.  The 6-8 forward is Butler’s second-leading rebounder (5.3) and third-leading scorer (12.0).  Mack, who was named to the league All-Newcomer Team last year, currently stands second on the squad in scoring (13.9) and assists (3.2).

Nored and Veasley have helped Butler hold down the No. 1 spot in the Horizon League in team scoring defense (60.6).  Nored leads the Bulldogs in steals with 46, while Veasley is third on the squad with 33.

Stevens, who has guided the Bulldogs to a league championship in each of his first three seasons as head coach, is one of four Butler coaches to have earned league Coach of the Year honors since 2000.  Barry Collier was named league Coach of the Year in 2000, Thad Matta earned the honor in 2001 and Todd Lickliter was tabbed as the league’s top coach in 2006 and 2007.  Stevens, boasting an 82-14 record heading into the Horizon League Tournament, has more wins in three seasons than any previous coach in NCAA Division I history!

The 2010 Speedway Horizon League Men’s Basketball Championship begins Tuesday (Mar. 2) with four first-round games at campus sites.  The tournament moves to Indianapolis and historic Hinkle Fieldhouse on the Butler campus for a second-round doubleheader on Friday (Mar. 5) and the semifinals on Saturday (Mar. 6).  Butler, the #1 seed, will play its first tournament game on Saturday at 8 p.m.  The league championship game will be played at the site of the highest remaining seed on Tuesday, Mar. 9, at 9 p.m. (ET).

2009-10 Horizon League Men’s Basketball All-League Team and Specialty Awards

First Team All-League:  Gordon Hayward, Butler; Rahmon Fletcher, Green Bay; Norris Cole, Cleveland State; Shelvin Mack, Butler; Matt Howard, Butler.

Second Team All-League:  Vaughn Duggins, Wright State; Brandon Wood, Valparaiso; Ricky Franklin, Milwaukee; Chase Simon, Detroit; Cory Johnson, Valparaiso.

All-Newcomer Team:  Brandon Wood, Valparaiso; Chase Simon, Detroit; Cory Johnson, Valparaiso; Eli Holman, Detroit; Xavier Keeling, Detroit.

All-Defensive Team:  Ronald Nored, Butler; Woody Payne, Detroit; Willie Veasley, Butler; D’Aundray Brown, Cleveland State; Vaughn Duggins, Wright State.

Player of the Year:  Gordon Hayward, Butler
Newcomer of the Year:  Brandon Wood, Valparaiso
Co-Defensive Players of the Year:  Ronald Nored, Butler; Woody Payne, Detroit
Sixth Man of the Year:  Walt Gibler, Loyola
Coach of the Year:  Brad Stevens, Butler

(Photos by John Fetcho)