*SPSCC Men’s, Women’s Hoops dole out team awards
*End-of-season banquets for both teams took place in April
*Diondre Bird, Savannah McGill named team MVPs
It was a banner year for the SPSCC men’s and women’s basketball teams, filled with wins, postseason berths, and school and personal records. Both clubs got to celebrate those accomplishments at their respective end-of-season awards banquets in April.
The SPSCC men set a new school record for wins in a season with a 22-6 record overall. Both sophomore Deiondre Bird and freshman Dez Stoudamire were named to the NWAC All-West Region 1st Team, while Bird and sophomore Tyler Watts also earning a placement on the All-West Region Defensive Team. Clippers Topher Burian, Kyle Snyder and Watts also earned spots on the NWAC Academic Excellence Teams.
At the team awards banquet, Stoudamire was named Offensive Player of the Year, averaging 21.2 points-per-game.
“Dez was an explosive scorer for us this year, but I was most impressed by his shooting efficiency,” SPSCC men’s hoops coach Aaron Landon said. “He shot the ball at a really high percentage and the amount of attention other teams gave him really opened things for the rest of our offense. He had a special freshman year and is working hard to build on that success.”
Stoudamire said he’d never played a team like this season’s before.
“This year showed me what it’s like to play in a true brotherhood of winners,” he said. “I was proud to be a part of the brotherhood and of what we accomplished together.”
Watts earned Defensive Player of the Year honors, finishing eighth in the NWAC with a team-leading 1.91 steals-per-game.
“Tyler is one of the toughest guys I’ve coached,” Landon said. “We’ve spent two years together and most of our success has been a result of his leadership and commitment to winning. He was one of the best defenders in the entire NWAC and hands down the best defender we had this year.”
< Dez Stoudamire
“This year meant a lot to me after going through a tough freshman year,” he said. “From all the big-time moments, like Dustin Meade hitting the game winning three to beat Green River, to the little things, like road trips in the vans, I will cherish all the moments we had.”
Bird, who led the team in assists, rebounds, shooting percentage, and was second in points, earned the team’s Most Valuable Player award.
“Bird is one of those special players who doesn’t come along very often,” Landon said. “He can do everything on both sides of the ball. He’s one of the smartest players I’ve ever been around and knows exactly how to get the most out of his teammates. The best coaching move I made all year was having him play point guard for us; he just knows how to win.”
< Tyler Watts
“This year was amazing,” he said. “The season taught me that with hard work and great effort anything can be accomplished. I had a great experience with a great group of guys and a coaching staff that truly cared about us.”
Snyder, who missed much of the season with a severe knee injury, was honored with the team’s Leadership Award.
“Watching Kyle go through the process of aggressively rehabilitating his knee was absolutely inspiring,” Landon said. “As coaches, we felt obligated to work extra hours and spend extra time with preparation because that’s how Kyle approached our program as a player. Kyle Snyder has played a major role in building our culture here at SPSCC. We couldn’t be here without his leadership.”
< Deiondre Bird
Snyder said that even with his injury, the season was special.
“This year meant a lot to me,” he said. “The relationships and brotherhood I shared with my teammates is a bond that can never be replaced.”
Ultimately, Landon said he’ll always remember this team.
“We had a lot of good moments, but I will always remember this team as the ‘road gang’ because of the success we had playing road games, going 14-4 on the road,” he said. “I loved traveling all over the northwest with our team, playing games, and sharing meals and getting to know each other.”
The bar is now set for next season’s Clippers men’s hoops squad. Landon said he’ll enjoy the challenge of raising it even more.
“All the winning this season has generated a lot of excitement and we have been able to recruit some really good student athletes to join our returning group for the 2016-17 season,” he said. “Our campus community showed a lot of support this year, and next season we want to keep them engaged and excited about our program with another exciting season.”
^ Kyle Snyder
The SPSCC women also made the playoffs and finished the season at 16-13, marking the first time since 2007-08 that both Clipper squads advanced to the postseason. It was the first berth for the Clipper women since 2008-09.
“This season meant a lot in that we took some progressive steps as a program in winning more games as well as making the NWAC Tournament,” coach Mike Moore said. “Our student-athletes worked really hard to not only achieve on-the-court success, but also in the classroom.”
Individually, the team also earned several accolades led by NWAC West Region Freshman of the Year Savannah McGill, who also made the NWAC All-West Region 1st Team. McGill set the new NWAC single-season rebounding record, hauling in 456 boards for an average of 15.7, second all time. She also earned the team’s MVP award at the team awards banquet.
At the team’s banquet, James was named Best Defensive Player, Most Inspirational, and won the squad’s Anchor Award for character, academics and coachability.
< Savannah McGill
Moore also praised the team’s support base.
“I want to send a thank you to the Clipper Nation (parents, alumni, friends, family, students, administration and SPSCC women’s basketball fans) for coming out and supporting us all season as we had a very high attendance all year,” Moore said. “We work really hard to present a good product with hard working student-athletes and hope to always make them all proud.”
As for next season, Moore said this team has also set a standard on which to build.
“I am looking forward to adding to our talented returners with high-character and hard-working recruits to build off of what we achieved this season,” Moore said. “All of the girls have committed to having the best offseason possible, both in the weight room and with their individual skill work.”
In addition to taking third place at the Skagit Valley Tournament, and making it back to the NWAC Tournament, Moore said it was those very work habits that he will remember most.
“My favorite memories of this season were the very first practice in September where they set the tone for the year by attacking every drill and pushing each other through the conditioning,” he said. “Those habits set us up for the success we had.”
< Laura James