Bethel's Zimmermann, UST duo headline 2014-15 MIAC Men's Basketball Awards

Bethel's Zimmermann, UST duo headline 2014-15 MIAC Men's Basketball Awards

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - The 2014-15 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) men's basketball season has certainly been one to remember and, Thursday, the top performers that delivered highlight after highlight all season long were honored with the announcement of the 2015 MIAC Men's Basketball Awards.

The top individual honor went to Bethel senior star Kyle Zimmermann (Champlin, Minn./Champlin Park), as the league's leader in scoring and rebounding was named the conference's Joe Hutton Player-of-the-Year. The other two top individual honors were claimed by the University of St. Thomas, which claimed its 10th-straight MIAC title in 2014-15. Junior guard Cortez Tillman (St. Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham Hall) was named the Sixth Man-of-the-Year, and fourth-year Head Coach John Tauer received his second MIAC Coach-of-the-Year award.

In addition to the individual honors, the MIAC also announced the All-Conference Team, All-Defensive Team, All-Rookie Team, All-Conference Honorable Mention selections and the All-MIAC Sportsmanship Team. All awards are nominated and voted on by the MIAC's 11 head coaches.

Zimmermann starred all season for the Royals en route to his Player-of-the-Year award. He's the second Bethel player to claim the conference's top honor in the last three years, joining Taylor Hall in 2012-13. The forward's MVP season is even more impressive considering he came back strong after appearing in only nine games in the previous season before suffering a season-ending injury. Zimmermann also received his second career All-MIAC honor after also receiving the award in 2012-13, and he was named a member of the MIAC All-Defensive Team. The senior received the MIAC Athlete-of-the-Week award an astounding four times during the 2014-15 regular season. 

Bethel's Kyle Zimmermann (33) received
the MIAC's top individual honor in 2014-15.
(Photo by Matt Higgins, MIAC) 

This season, Zimmermann's name was all over the MIAC leader board, as he led the conference in scoring (17.6 ppg), rebounding (9.6 per game), field goal percentage (60.7) and was second in free throws (107) and third in steals (44) in overall games. In MIAC games only, he was also the league leader in scoring (16.8 ppg), rebounding (9.7 per game), second in field goal percentage (58.8) and free throws (75) and eighth in steals (29). Zimmermann helped Bethel to a 19-9 overall record and a 13-7 mark in conference play, which was good for fourth place and a spot in the MIAC Playoffs. In the conference postseason, Zimmermann had three double-doubles while leading Bethel to  the championship game, where it lost a 66-63 heartbreaker to St. Thomas.

Tillman and Tauer both received their honors for their role in another amazing regular season for St. Thomas. UST claimed its 10th-straight MIAC title with a 17-3 conference record, and the team will open NCAA Division III Tournament play Friday with a 24-3 overall mark. St. Thomas added its fourth MIAC Playoff title in the last five years and is currently ranked No. 3 in the nation by

The MIAC honored Tillman as the league's top sixth man, as the talented guard was a testament to the Tommies' incredible depth. The junior averaged 9.9 points, 2.2 assists and 2.0 rebounds per game off the bench for UST, while shooting 49.7 percent from the floor, 47.6 percent from three and 81.0 percent from the line. He ranked fourth in the MIAC in three-point shooting and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.9-to-1), and he came up big in the postseason with 14 points in each of UST's two MIAC Playoff victories.

Tauer has now led St. Thomas to at least a share of the MIAC title in each of his four seasons as head coach. He now has an overall record of 98-18 (.845) and a MIAC mark of 70-10 (.875) since taking over prior to the 2011-12 season. He could reach the 100-win mark this weekend if UST can win its first two NCAA Tournament games in De Pere, Wis. This season, Tauer coached four players to All-MIAC honors, two more to All-Conference Honorable Mention accolades and one All-Defensive Team selection.

Balance has again been a key for St. Thomas, with four players scoring in double figures and six averaging at least 8.7 points per game. The Tommies lead the MIAC in scoring (75.3 ppg), 3-point percentage (43.1), offensive rebounds (12.3 per game), rebounding margin (6.4) and are in the top four in nearly every category. In conference play, UST led the MIAC in every scoring and rebounding category as well as assists, and the team was second in 3-point percentage (41.0) and turnovers (8.8 per game).

Zimmermann was one of five players to earn a second career All-Conference honor in 2014-15. Concordia's Jordan Bolger, Hamline's Dior Ford, St. Olaf's Sterling Nielsen, St. Thomas Conner Nord and Bethel's Brycen Wojta were all repeat selections on the All-MIAC team. Nielsen also earned his second-straight All-Defensive Team honor and Bethel's Bridgeport Tusler was named to both the All-MIAC and All-Freshman teams.

St. Thomas was honored for its conference championship season with the most All-Conference selections, as four Tommies were recognized to lead the 16-player team. St. Olaf and Bethel each had three players honored, Saint John's had two and Concordia, Carleton, Hamline and Macalester had one apiece. The team was made up of six seniors, seven juniors, two sophomores and one freshman.

As part of a conference-wide sportsmanship initiative, the MIAC also announced the ninth annual All-MIAC Sportsmanship team for men's basketball. Members of the All-MIAC Sportsmanship team are selected by their coaches and teammates as individuals who demonstrate ideals of positive sportsmanship both on and off the field of competition.

2014-15 MIAC Men's Basketball Awards

Joe Hutton Player-of-the-Year - Kyle Zimmermann (Sr., Forward, Champlin, Minn./Champlin Park)
Sixth Man-of-the-Year - Cortez Tillman, St. Thomas (Jr., Guard, St. Paul, Minn. / Cretin-Derham Hall)
Coach-of-the-Year - John Tauer, St. Thomas (Fourth season)

2014-15 MIAC Men's Basketball All-Conference Team

Name Team Year    Position Hometown/Previous School
Marcus Alipate St. Thomas Sr.  Guard  Bloomington, Minn. / Jefferson 
Jordan Bolger Concordia  Jr.  Forward     Apple Valley, Minn. / Eastview 
Ben Figini St. Olaf Jr.  Forward  Chisago City, Minn. / Chisago Lakes 
Dior Ford  Hamline  Sr.  Forward  Tucson, Ariz./Sahuaro 
Kareem Ismail Macalester So.  Center  Pasadena, Calif. / Flintridge Prep 
Mitchell Kuck Saint John's   Jr.  Wing  Lino Lakes, Minn. / Centennial 
Shane McSparron Carleton Sr.  Guard  Apple Valley, Minn. / Eastview 
Taylor Montero St. Thomas Jr.  Guard  Brooklyn Park, Minn. / Cretin-Derham Hall  
Sterling Nielsen  St. Olaf  Sr.  Guard  Sioux Falls, S.D. / O'Gorman 
Conner Nord  St. Thomas  Sr.  Forward  Eden Prairie, Minn. 
Justin Pahl St. Olaf Jr.  Guard Woodbury, Minn. / East Ridge 
Ryan Saarela St. Thomas Jr.  Forward  Lakeville, Minn. / North 
Alex Schmitt Saint John's Jr.  Guard  Waconia, Minn. 
Bridgeport Tusler Bethel Fr.  Guard  Maple Grove, Minn. / Osseo 
Brycen Wojta  Bethel   So.  Guard  Maple Grove, Minn. 
Kyle Zimmermann   Bethel Sr.  Forward  Champlin, Minn. / Champlin Park

2014-15 MIAC Men's Basketball All-Defensive Team

Name Team Year    Position Hometown/Previous School
Riley Aeikens   St. Olaf Jr. Guard Maynard, Minn. / Maccray
Shane McSparron Carleton  Sr.  Guard Apple Valley, Minn. / Eastview  
Sterling Nielsen  St. Olaf  Sr.  Guard  Sioux Falls, S.D. / O'Gorman 
Ryan Saarela St. Thomas    Jr.   Forward    Lakeville, Minn. / North 
Kyle Zimmermann   Bethel Sr. Forward Champlin, Minn. / Champlin Park  

2014-15 MIAC Men's Basketball All-Freshman Team

Name Team Year    Position Hometown/Previous School
Kevin Grow Carleton  Fr.  Forward    Circle Pines, Minn. / Centennial    
Collin Olmscheid Augsburg Fr.  Forward Buffalo, Minn. 
Zach Smith Hamline Fr.  Guard Burnsville, Minn. 
Bridgeport Tusler    Bethel   Fr.  Guard Maple Grove, Minn. / Osseo
Tyler Weiss Saint John's   Fr.  Forward Shakopee, Minn.

2014-15 MIAC Men's Basketball All-Conference Honorable Mention

Name Team Year    Position Hometown/Previous School
Riley Aeikens St. Olaf Jr.  Guard  Maynard, Minn. / Maccray 
Gary Cooper Gustavus Jr.  Guard  Detroit, Mich. / Denby 
Parker Hines  Augsburg  Sr.  Guard  Lakeville, Minn. / Minnehaha Academy  
Austin Johnson Hamline Sr.  Forward  Pine Grove, Calif. / Amador 
Collin Olmscheid   Augsburg Fr.  Forward  Buffalo, Minn.  
Joe Risinger Saint John's   Jr. Wing Shorewood, Minn. / Minnetonka 
Grant Shaeffer St. Thomas So.  Guard  Eden Prairie, Minn. 
Cortez Tillman St. Thomas Jr.  Guard  St. Paul, Minn. / Cretin-Derham Hall 
Brody Ziegler Gustavus Jr.  Forward     Mankato, Minn. / East 

2014-15 Men's Basketball All-MIAC Sportsmanship Team

Augsburg - Ryan Gilmer (Jr., Bloomington, Minn. / Jefferson)
Bethel - Kyle Zimmermann (Sr., Champlin, Minn. / Champlin Park)
Carleton - Patrick England (Jr., Richfield, Minn. / Southwest)
Concordia - Ryan Rude (Sr., Bemidji, Minn.)
Gustavus - Chris Narum (Jr., Eagan, Minn. / Eastview)
Hamline - Herbert Tarpeh (Jr., St. Michael, Minn. / St. Michael Albertville)
Macalester - Hans Erickson (Sr., La Crosse, Wis. / Logan)
Saint John's - Mitch Wollin (Jr., Litchfield, Minn.)
Saint Mary's - Connor Kaiser (So., Rockland, Wis. / Bangor)
St. Olaf - Sam Daly (Sr., Rochester, Minn. / Lourdes)
St. Thomas - Cullen Ogren (Jr., Stillwater, Minn. / Hill-Murray)

MIAC Men's Basketball Home Page