Gipson, Williams Named co-MVPs at Team Banquet

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Seniors Thomas Gipson and Nino Williams were named co-winners of the Rolando Blackman Team Most Valuable Player award to highlight festivities at the annual Kansas State men's basketball banquet held Wednesday night at the Colbert Hills Clubhouse.

It marked the third time in the nine-year history of the award that there were co-winners of the MVP award, as Gipson shared the honor for the second consecutive season. In addition to their co-MVP trophies, Gipson was selected as the winner of the Jack Hartman Top Defensive Player and Bob Boozer Courage awards, while Williams was named the winner of the Ernie Barrett Play Hard and Tex Winter Top Offensive Player awards.

Along with Gipson and Williams, junior walk-on Brian Rohleder also captured three awards, including the Fort Riley Never Broken, Keith Amerson Academic and Porky Morgan Most Inspirational Player trophies. Other award winners included Justin Edwards (Dean Harris Newcomer of the Year), Wesley Iwundu (Mitch Richmond Mr. Basketball) and Shawn Meyer (Ed Nealy Most Improved Player).

A starter in 31 of 32 games this season, Gipson led or tied for the team lead in 12 categories, including games played, starts, minutes (28.8), field goal percentage (54.9), free throws made (124) and attempted (163), offensive (57) and defensive (111) rebounds, total rebounds (168), rebounding average (5.3 rpg.), dunks (14) and charges drawn (13). He was also second on the team in points (360) and double-digit scoring games (18).

A two-time Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week, Williams led or tied for the team lead in five categories, including 20-point games (4), double-doubles (3), field goals made (120), free throw percentage (82.9) and rebounding average (5.3 rpg.), while he was second in scoring (11.4 ppg.) and double-digit scoring games (17). He was a first time winner of both the Tex Winter Top Offensive Player Award, which honors the Hall of Fame head coach, and Ernie Barrett Play Hard Award, which is based on the Wayne McClain Play Hard Chart.

Both Gipson and Williams were named honorable mention All-Big 12 by the league coaches.

A walk-on from Wichita, Kansas, Rohleder earned the Keith Amerson Academic Award for the fourth consecutive season, while he was selected as a first-time winner of both the Porky Morgan Most Inspirational Player and Fort Riley Never Broken awards. Known for being one of the top scout team players, he saw action in 17 games with one start in 2014-15. The Morgan Award is the program's oldest award and honors the longtime K-State Athletics Trainer from 1950-80, while the Never Broken Award honors the team's relationship with the 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery unit stationed at Fort Riley. The academic award is named for Amerson (1989-91), whose determination to reach his potential on and off the court set the standard for future student-athletes.

Edwards was named the winner of the Dean Harris Newcomer of the Year Award, which honors the late East St. Louis, Illinois, native, who tragically died in 1974. One of only two players to play in all 32 games, Edwards led the Wildcats in steals (1.2 spg.) and was second in 3-point field goals made (21) and attempted (71). Overall, he averaged 6.3 points on 38.9 percent shooting to go with 3.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 21.1 minutes per game.

Iwundu captured the Mitch Richmond Mr. Basketball Award after finding a way to contribute in nearly every way in 2014-15. He ranked first on the team in blocks (0.6 bpg.), second in assists (2.0 apg.), third in rebounding (3.5 rpg.), fourth in steals (0.7 spg.) and fifth in scoring (5.8 ppg.) and minutes (25.2 mpg.).

Meyer was chosen as the recipient of the Ed Nealy Most Improved Player Award, which goes to the player who makes the most improvement from one season to the next. The 4-year walk-on from Kansas City, he played in 37 games in his career, including nine his senior season.  

2014-15 Kansas State Men's Basketball Team Awards:
Fort Riley Never Broken Award: Brian Rohleder
Ernie Barrett Play Hard Award: Nino Williams
Keith Amerson Academic Award: Brian Rohleder
Dean Harris Newcomer of the Year Award: Justin Edwards
Bob Boozer Courage Award: Thomas Gipson
Porky Morgan Most Inspirational Award: Brian Rohleder
Ed Nealy Most Improved Award: Shawn Meyer
Jack Hartman Top Defensive Player Award: Thomas Gipson
Tex Winter Top Offensive Player Award: Nino Williams
Mitch Richmond Mr. Basketball Award: Wesley Iwundu
Rolando Blackman Most Valuable Player Award: Thomas Gipson and Nino Williams