Vander Plas was . . .
The Defensive Player of the Year & Sixth Man of the Year were voted on by the league’s head coaches. The Freshman of the Year award was voted on by a 21-member MAC News Media Association Panel, as well as MAC head coaches.
Nick Perkins, Buffalo, Jr., Forward
Defensive Player of the Year
Dontay Caruthers, Buffalo, Sr. Guard
Freshman of the Year (First Place Votes)
Ben Vander Plas, F, Ohio (19)
Mekhi Lairy, G, Miami (5)
AJ Edu, F, Toledo (4)
Anthony Roberts, G, Kent State (2)
William Boyer-Richard, G, Western Michigan (2)
Caleb Fields, G, Bowling Green (1)
“Nick is one of the best big men in the league if not, in my opinion the best offensive big in our league,” said head coach Nate Oats. “For him to agree and be willing to and embrace the role of coming off the bench for three years now to help the team win speaks volumes to his character. He's a great teammate and one of the best cheerleaders for Montell at the start of the game and then when comes in, he's focused and ready to go.”
Caruthers becomes the third player in MAC history win Defensive Player of the Year multiple times during his career. Caruthers also won the award in 2017 during his sophomore seasons. An All-MAC Defensive Team selection, Caruthers leads the entire MAC in charges drawn with 25. He is second on the team in steals, but offensive he is having the best year of his career, averaging 9.4 points per game.
Caruthers and fellow All-Defensive Team selection Davonta Jordan have been given the assignment of guarding some of top players in the nation and they have been up for the challenge as they helped the UB defense drop their points allowed by game by nearly 5.0 points per contest.
“Dontay is the definition of Buffalo blue collar basketball,” said Oats. “He plays so hard and he has brought us an edge that we didn't have before he got here. I think the other coaches recognize what he means to us. He enables us to play defense at a high level, which in turn gets us a lot of wins.”
Vander Plas finished his first season in the Green and White third on the team in scoring, averaging 8.8 points per game. He also added 5.3 rebounds per game, while shooting 41.5 percent from the field, 31.4 percent from three-point range and 70.7 percent from the free throw line. In MAC play, Vander Plas averaged 7.7 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. He shot 38.3 percent from the field, 27.5 percent from three-point range and 57.9 percent from the free throw line. Vander Plas scored in double figures 11 times this season, while recorded two double-doubles. He also had two 20-point games and led the Bobcats in scoring three times this season.
"It's a well deserved honor for for Ben, " fifth-year head coach Saul Phillips said. "He came in and made an immediate impact with out program and I expect big things from him in the future."