Whoosh! Net News

Odiase, Boahen honored

Flames get top defensive, bench awards from Horizon

By Mike Pankow

March 2, 2018

Mike Pankow/Whoosh!

UIC’s Tai Odiase, blocking the shot of Milwaukee’s Brett Prahl on Jan. 12, was the Horizon League defensive player of the year.

UIC’s run to third place in the Horizon League didn’t go unnoticed in the eyes of conference experts, although arguments could be made that not enough Flames received honors.

Senior center Tai Odiase and sophomore guard Godwin Boahen won individual honors in the Horizon League postseason awards announced Wednesday.

The 6-foot-9 Odiase was named Horizon League defensive player of the year for the second consecutive season after averaging 3.19 blocks per game, ranking in the top five nationally for the third straight season. He currently has 348 career blocks, which ranks 44th all-time in Division I history.

Odiase anchored a defense that really came into its own during conference play. UIC led the Horizon League in field-goal percentage defense at 40.6 percent. The Flames rank second in the nation behind Michigan State with 7.0 blocks per game and stand at 90th nationally in steals at 6.9 per contest. They also rank 27th in the country in defensive rebounding with 28.0 per game.

Odiase averaged 9.7 points while shooting 58.5 percent from the field and 60.7 percent from the free-throw line to go with 5.6 rebounds. He had a season-high seven blocks against Wisconsin-Parkside on Dec. 6 while rejecting at least five shots in six games this season. He is already the UIC and Horizon League’s all-time leader in blocked shots.

The 5-foot-11 Boahen was the first Flame in school history to be named Horizon League sixth man of the year. Boahen was the best 3-point shooter in the conference, knocking down 42.6 percent overall and 50.8 percent in league games. He has hit at least one 3-pointer in each of his last 13 contests.

Boahen averaged 8.6 points per game while coming off the bench in 22 of 29 games. He averaged 9.2 points per contest in Horizon League play. He was a big part of the Flames’ reserves outscoring their opponents’ bench 19 times in 31 games, including 11 occasions in conference play.

Boahen’s season-high of 18 points came against Cleveland State on Jan. 12 and he registered double figures in 10 contests this season.

Mike Pankow/Whoosh!

UIC guard Godwin Boahen was named the Horizon League sixth man of the year after shooting over 50 percent in conference games.

No other Flame received honors and no UIC player made the Horizon League first or second teams, probably more because of the team’s balance where six players averaged between 8 and 14 points per game. Dikembe Dixson, Marcus Ottey, Tarkus Ferguson and Odiase were strong candidates, but none of them got enough votes to make the All-Horizon League team.

Oakland guard Kendrick Nunn, a Chicago product and former Illinois star, was named Horizon League player of the year as he averaged 26.4 points per game, good for second in the country.

Joining Nunn on the All-Horizon first team were Northern Kentucky junior forward Drew McDonald, who was the league’s preseason player of the year, Oakland senior forward Jalen Hayes, Green Bay senior guard Khalil Small and Wright State senior guard Grant Benzinger.

The All-Horizon League second-teamers were Detroit junior forward Kameron Chatman, Milwaukee sophomore guard Jeremiah Bell, Northern Kentucky senior guard Lavone Holland, Wright State freshman forward Loudon Love and Youngstown State senior guard Cameron Morse.

Love, Wright State’s post bruiser from Geneva High School, was named Horizon League freshman of the year after averaging 12.7 points and 9.7 rebounds per game while shooting 53.3 percent from the field.

Joining Love on the all-freshman team were Cleveland State guard Tyree Appleby, Detroit Mercy guard Jermaine Jackson Jr., Northern Kentucky guard Jalen Tate and Youngstown State forward Naz Bohannon.

Joining Odiase on the all-defensive team were Small, Tate, Oakland senior guard Martez Walker and Wright State junior guard Mark Hughes.

Wright State’s Scott Nagy was named the Horizon League coach of the year, leading the Raiders to a second-place finish and a 22-9 record overall and a 14-4 record in league play while sweeping the regular-season series from first-place Northern Kentucky.

UIC’s Steve McClain received consideration after leading the Flames to a 12-6 league mark after a rough 5-10 start. UIC went on a run of 12 wins in14 games during the meat of Horizon League play. The Flames haven’t had a coach of the year since Jimmy Collins won the honor during the 1996-97 season.

The following is a complete list with Horizon League honorees, along with Whoosh!’s official vote:

League Poll How Whoosh! voted
Kendrick Nunn, Oakland* Kendrick Nunn, Oakland*
Drew McDonald, NKU Drew McDonald, NKU
Jalen Hayes, Oakland Jalen Hayes, Oakland
Khalil Small, Green Bay Khalil Small, Green Bay
Grant Benzinger, Wright State Kameron Chatman, UDM
*--- Player of the Year vote

League Poll How Whoosh! voted
Lavone Holland, NKU Lavone Holland, NKU
Kameron Chatman, UDM Grant Benzinger, Wright State
Cameron Morse, YSU Cameron Morse, YSU
Loudon Love, Wright State Loudon Love, Wright State
Jeremiah Bell, Milwaukee Marcus Ottey, UIC
Whoosh’s others considered: Tai Odiase, UIC; Martez Walker, Oakland; Tarkus Ferguson, UIC; Dikembe Dixson, UIC; Sandy Cohen III, Green Bay; Jeremiah Bell, Milwaukee; Braun Hartfield, Youngstown State.

League Poll How Whoosh! voted
Loudon Love, Wright State* Loudon Love, Wright State
Tyree Appleby, Cleveland State Tyree Appleby, Cleveland State
Jermain Jackson Jr., UDM Jermaine Jackson Jr., UDM
Naz Bohannon, YSU Naz Bohannon, YSU
Jalen Tate, Northern Kentucky Jaylen Minnett, IUPUI
*---Freshman of the Year vote
Whoosh’s others considered: Everett Winchester, Wright State; P.J. Pipes, Green Bay; Jalen Tate, Northern Kentucky.

League Poll How Whoosh! voted
Scott Nagy, Wright State Steve McClain, UIC
Whoosh’s others considered: Scott Nagy, Wright State; Jason Gardner, IUPUI.


Only head coaches can vote for this team

League Poll
Tai Odiase, UIC
Khalil Small, Green Bay
Jalen Tate, Northern Kentucky
Martez Walker, Oakland
Mark Hughes, Wright State


Only head coaches can vote

Tai Odiase, UIC

League Poll How Whoosh! voted
Godwin Boahen, UIC Godwin Boahen, UIC
Whoosh’s others considered: T.J. Henderson, IUPUI; Tyler Sharpe, Northern Kentucky.

In other recent news:
Wright State 88, UIC 81: Learning experience (2/28/18)
Northern Kentucky 79, UIC 72: Double whammy (2/24/18)
UIC 94, Detroit Mercy 87: Rising up (2/21/18)
UIC 83, Green Bay 75: True road warriors (2/18/18)
Cleveland State 86, UIC 78: Unexpected speed bump (2/12/18)
UIC 100, Youngstown State 75: Deep impact (2/9/18)
UIC 78, Detroit Mercy 69: Super streakin’ (2/5/18)
UIC 79, Oakland 73: A happy new year (2/3/18)
UIC 74, Milwaukee 56: Bench brigade gets it done (1/30/18)
UIC 71, IUPUI 62: Pluck of the Irish (1/28/18)