Odiase, Boahen honored
Flames get top defensive, bench awards from Horizon
By Mike Pankow
March 2, 2018
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.
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:
Only head coaches can vote for this team
Only head coaches can vote