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Emmenecker Named MVC Basketball Player of Year

March 5, 2008
Photo of Emmenecker and Coach Keno Davis
Adam Emmenecker confers with Head Coach Keno Davis.

ST. LOUIS, MO. -- Drake senior guard Adam Emmenecker (Saginaw, Mich.) has been named the 2008 Larry Bird MVC Player of the Year. The honor recognizes his key role in guiding Drake to its first national ranking since 1975, a regular season Missouri Valley Conference title and the No. 1 seed in this week's State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.

The former walk-on received 87 points, including 25 of a possible 40 first-place votes. Drake sophomore guard Josh Young (Lawton, Okla.) placed third in the voting with 55 points, including nine first-place votes.

Drake junior forward Jonathan Cox (Barrington, Ill.) was sixth in the Player of the Year tabulations, receiving five points.

Emmenecker and Young earned first-team all-MVC playing honors. Cox and Drake senior guard Leonard Houston (Holland, Mich.) earned second-team all-MVC playing honors.

Emmenecker set the Drake single-season assist mark at 177, bettering the previous record of 174 set by Al Stewart last year. His 6.10 assists per game average led the Missouri Valley Conference.

An unlikely starter

Perhaps the most improbable MVC Player of the Year (based on pre-season expectations) in league history, Emmenecker entered the season with 64 career assists and 57 total points in his three previous seasons at Drake, which included 58 games and two starts.

This year, he started every game for Drake and led the team in minutes played. His single-season marks this year of 223 points, 129 rebounds and 177 assists, more than doubled his cumulative career totals.

Emmenecker has helped the Bulldogs to a 25-4 overall mark and 15-3 conference record as Drake earned the tournament's top seed for the first time in the league's 32-year tournament history. At one point this year, Drake had won a school-record 21-straight games.

Emmenecker is the first Drake player to earn the league's top honor since 1993, when Curt Smith was voted the league's Player of the Year. Only two other Drake players have earned the top honor in the MVC, which began honoring Players of the Year in 1969. They are Jeff Halliburton (1971) and Lewis Lloyd (1980 and 1981).

Young: a prolific scorer

Young is the only player in the MVC who ranks in the top five in scoring, three-point baskets and three-point field goal percentage. He leads the MVC in scoring with a 16.3 average and three-point field goal percentage (.453), while ranking second in three-point baskets (78-3.08 avg.)

Young is the only player in the MVC who ranks in the top five in scoring, three-point baskets and three-point field goal percentage. He leads the MVC in scoring with a 16.3 average and three-point field goal percentage (.453), while ranking second in three-point baskets (78-3.08 avg.)

He enjoyed eight 20-plus scoring games this season, including a career-high 25 in a 71-64 victory at then No. 8 ranked Butler.

Cox ranks second in the MVC in rebounding (8.3 avg.) and third in three-point field goal percentage (.446), while bidding to become the first player in MVC history ever to lead the league in those categories.

Cox, who sports an 11.6 scoring average, has recorded 10 double-doubles this season.

Houston ranks sixth in the MVC in scoring

After playing the first 79 games of his career as a reserve, Houston has been a fixture as a starter this season. He ranks sixth in the MVC in scoring with a 14.2 average.

Houston saved his best down the stretch by equaling a career-high seven rebounds in two of the last four games. He also has collected seven steals in the last two games.

Houston was named the most outstanding player of the Iowa Realty Invitational after averaging 20.5 points in two games, including 21 points in a 77-73 championship game victory past Duquesne.

On Friday in a 12:05 p.m. quarterfinal round game of the MVC Tournament, Drake will play the winner of the Indiana State-Wichita State first-round game on Thursday.