MSU’s Rudolph named NSIC Player of the Year; Johnson named to All-NSIC first team

Photo is by Sean Arbaut/Minot State athletics

One of the most successful players in the history of Minot State basketball earned his biggest career honor yet.

MSU senior forward Tyler Rudolph has been named the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Player of the Year, the league announced Thursday. In 29 games, the Bismarck native has averaged 20.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. This season, he’s made 59 percent of his shots and shoots at a 46 percent clip from three-point range in addition to making 85 percent of his free throws.

Rudolph finished third in the NSIC in scoring, sixth in rebounding and third in field goal percentage.

“This is just an awesome accomplishment and I’m really humbled,” Rudolph said. “Knowing all the awesome players in the conference this year and all the great guys we’ve gone against, it’s awesome to be voted the player of the year. But it’s a team effort and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the great support I have.”

The 6-foot-6 inside-out player is Minot State’s all-time leading scorer with 1,964 career points and the school’s all-time leading rebounder with 905 career rebounds. Rudolph set a career-high single game scoring mark of 40 points on 17 shots against Mayville State on Nov. 14 and propelled the Beavers to their first career NSIC Tournament victory Wednesday with 28 points and 10 rebounds. He was the NSIC Player of the Week five times this season.

“It’s as deserving a player for the award as any,” an emotional MSU coach Matt Murken said. “I don’t know, and I mean this in every way as a compliment, but I don’t know if he’s the best player in the league. But I do know he competes as hard as anybody and works as hard as anybody. The best anybody can do on that is tie him. That’s the type of guys I want in my program. He works so hard, and I’m just proud of him.”

Rudolph was also named to the All-NSIC first team for the second straight season. He became the first MSU men’s player to be tabbed a conference first-teamer his junior season.

“I really view this as a team award,” Rudolph said. “I wouldn’t be putting up nearly the numbers I have without the help of my teammates.”

Meanwhile, senior point guard Luis Ricci Maia was selected to the All-NSIC second team. Ricci Maia leads the Beavers in assists per game with 6.2 and is third on the team in scoring with 11.5 points per game.

His 182 assists ranks second in the conference behind Augustana’s Jordan Spencer and Ricci Maia also leads the NSIC in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.2).

Northern State’s Paul Sather won the NSIC Coach of the Year, while Crookston’s Gable Smith was the Defensive Player of the Year. Sioux Falls’ Trevon Evans was the Newcomer of the Year and Upper Iowa’s Joe Smoldt earned Freshman of the year honors.

On the women’s side, senior forward Holly Johnson was named to the All-NSIC first team after completing her lone season at Minot State. Johnson was fifth in the conference in scoring and led MSU in that category with 15.8 points per game. The Minot native also contributed 6.8 rebounds per contest and had eight double-doubles.

Bishop Ryan graduate Gabbie Bohl joined Johnson on the All-NSIC first team after averaging 18 points and 7.3 rebounds per game for the University of Mary. She finished third in the conference in scoring.

Former Minot High standout Cassie Askvig was given All-NSIC second team honors, as she put up 14.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game for the Marauders. Askvig was seventh in the league in scoring and fifth in rebounding.

Northern State’s Miranda Ristau was named the NSIC Player of the Year, Augustana had the Defensive Player of the Year in Logan O’Farrell and the Coach of the Year in Dave Krauth. Winona State’s Allie Pickrain earned NSIC Freshman of the Year honors.

Garrick Hodge covers Minot State athletics, the Minot Minotauros and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @Garrick_Hodge