Morse, Benjamin 2nd-team all-Horizon picks
YOUNGSTOWN — Cameron Morse has had one wild ride this season, and so has his Youngstown State men’s basketball team.
The senior guard from Flint, Mich., didn’t have the season he initially envisioned, neither did most people.
It started with point guard Francisco Santiago out for the season with an ACL tear and eventual surgery.
Then, Morse had to shift his focus from shooting guard where he usually was coming off screens, to point guard where he was asked to run the show.
Morse adjusted and averaged 15.5 points and 3.9 assists per game. He averaged more than 17 points in league play. Morse’s play was recognized Wednesday when he was named to the Horizon League’s second team.
Morse ranks sixth on the Penguins’ career scoring list with more than 1,900 points. During the last three Horizon League seasons, he averaged 21.2 points per game.
“You look at Cam and what he had to sacrifice this year, move to an entirely new position, learn how to run a basketball team, learn how to start offense, learn how to be the leader with the ball,” YSU coach Jerrod Calhoun said. “I think it kind of shows how he excelled the entire year. I think if we had won more games, he’d have found himself on that first-team ballot. He’s certainly deserving of the award.”
Teammate and freshman Naz Bohannon, a 6-6 forward from Lorain, was named to the all-freshman team. He was third in league play with nine rebounds a game and just over eight in all contests.
His 251 rebounds were the most by a YSU player since Jerome Sims posted 327 in the 1991-92 season.
“His ability to rebound the ball and do what he’s good at just shows you you can have a great year,” Calhoun said. “He’s a great young man you can build your program around because of his toughness.
“He did a remarkable job the entire year, just getting better and better.”
On the women’s side, senior guard Indiya Benjamin was named second-team all-league, while freshman guard Chelsea Olson is on the all-freshman team.
Benjamin, who was named to the all-freshman team in 2015, is the first YSU guard since Brianne Kenneally to be named to an all-league team since 1999-2000. That year, Kenneally led the Penguins to their third Mid-Continent Conference championship and NCAA Tournament berth. She was named Mid-Con Player of the Year that season. Leslie Majewski was named to the second team in 1999-00. Both Kenneally and Majewski were Cleveland-area natives.
Olson is the fourth player in the last five years to be named to the all-freshman team. Mary Dunn, who won the league’s Freshman of the Year last season, and Jenna Hirsch were also named to that team.
Benjamin led the league in assists for three straight seasons. The Lima native averages 5.3 assist overall and more than six in conference play. She also is the YSU leader in assists, 3-pointers, games played and games started.
She is the only player in the country, regardless of division, to have 600 assists and 200 3-pointers in her career.
Meanwhile, Olson won the freshman of the week honors four straight times and helped the Penguins win nine of the last 11 games with more than 12 points and almost seven rebounds per game.
“I’m extremely proud of Indiya and Chelsea for being honored by the Horizon League,” YSU coach John Barnes said in a news release. “They both have worked very hard and been integral to the success the team has had this season.”
As for Morse, this is the second time he was named the Horizon League second team. He was named to the first team last season.
“Well it is always a blessing receiving all-league honors, but after being first team last year to now back down to second team, for yourself it’s kind of a disappointing feeling because you know you are just as good as those guys on the first team,” said Morse, whose ninth-seeded team plays Friday against eighth-seeded Cleveland State in the Horizon League tournament at Detroit. “I will always be thankful for my opportunities I get, but as a competitor, you will always strive to do more than the average.”
IRISH EYES: Ursuline graduate and Wright State junior guard Mark Hughes was named to the league’s all-defensive team.
Hughes, a 6-4 guard, led the Raiders in steals with 37, pacing the Raiders as the second-best defensive team in the league.
He is the seventh Wright State players to be on this team since 2007.
OTHER MEN’S HONORS: Oakland’s Kendrick Nunn was named player of the year, while Wright State’s Scott Nagy is coach of the year. Nagy’s freshman Loudon Love is freshman of the year. UIC swept sixth man of the year (Godwin Boahen) and defensive player of the year (Tai Odiase) honors.
OTHER WOMEN’S HONORS: Wright State’s Chelsea Welch (player of the year), IUPUI’s Macee Williams (freshman of the year), IUPUI’s Austin Parkinson (coach of the year), Oakland’s Taylor Jones (sixth player of the year) and Green Bay’s Jen Wellnitz (defensive player of the year).