BURNSVILLE, Minn. – After claiming the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Regular-Season title Feb. 25, Bemidji State University senior forward James Ellisor (Sr., F, Glendale, Ariz.) was named NSIC Player of the Year, junior guard Dermaine Crockrell (Mesa, Ariz.) was named NSIC Newcomer of the Year and head coach Matt Bowen was honored with the title NSIC Coach of the Year. In addition, senior guard Bryce Tesdahl (Crosby, Minn.) was recognized as First Team All-NSIC.
The three conference of the year awards marks the second time in program history Bemidji State earned all three honors in the same season (2003-04). Ellisor is the first Beaver to be named the conference’s player of the year since Charles Hanks in 2003-04. Crockrell is the first newcomer award winner since Duane Fields (2004-05) and Bowen is just the second BSU coach to win coach of the year outright (Jeff Guiot, 2003-04) and the third in program history (Co-NIC Coach of the Year, Dave Hutchins, 1971-72 ).
Ellisor was named Second Team All-NSIC last season, while it marks the first conference honor for Tesdahl.
Ellisor was a four-time NSIC Player of the Week (four overall) and led the league in scoring with 22.9 points per conference contest. His 504 total points in league play established a new conference record for points in a season, while his 182 field goals made also placed his name atop the NSIC single-season list. He scored 30 points on five occasions, including the final three games of the regular season to guide the Beavers to their first NSIC Regular-Season Championship since 2003-04. He posted a career-high 34 points on three different occasions to tie for the league’s top single-game performance in the 22-game NSIC schedule. The senior led the NSIC in 3-point percentage with a 57.8 percent clip and ranked in the top 10 in minutes per game (2nd, 33.86 mpg), field goal percentage (4th, 59.3%), free throw percentage (6th, 87.7%) and rebounds per game (9th, 6.0 rpg). In two seasons at Bemidji State, Ellisor has amassed 1,093 career points to become the 15th player at BSU to reach the 1,000 point plateau.
Crockrell was an impact player the moment he stepped onto the court for BSU this season with his quickness, offensive production and defensive ability. He played in his first game Dec. 16 and scored 10 points, but followed that with 21 in his second game in the green and white. Overall he posted four 20-point performances (season-high 27 at Minnesota Duluth Feb. 4) and finished the conference season second on the team and 23rd in the NSIC in scoring with 12.7 points per game. He was named NSIC Player of the Week Feb. 6 after his perfomance at UMD. He added 4.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.1 steals in 31.9 minutes per game. He shot 52.1 percent from the field to rank 15th in the league and posted a 44.0 percent clip from beyond the arc that ranked ninth in the conference.
Bowen has guided the 2011-12 squad to its winningest season in the 90-year history of the program, as the Beavers own a 22-7 record. Pegged seventh in the NSIC Preseason Coaches’ Poll, the Beavers finished conference play 16-6 to win an outright NSIC Regular-Season Championship. BSU earned the No. 1 seed in the NSIC tournament and the right to host a first round playoff game for the first time in Bowen’s six seasons at Bemidji State. The Beavers received votes in the national poll for the first time in program history and earned their highest-ever regional ranking this season. Bowen ranks tied for fourth in seasons coached and fifth in victories at BSU (64).
Tesdahl finished the conference season with an NSIC-record 144 assists to surpass the previous mark by six. He averaged 6.5 assists per game in conference play to lead the league, while also posting a 3.00 assist/turnover ratio that was first in the NSIC. He tallied a career-high and league-best 12 assists twice and 10 assists once for three of the five 10-plus assist games recorded in conference play in 2011-12. His 44.6 3-point percentage ranked seventh in the NSIC and his 32.09 minutes per game tied for 12th. He posted a double-double against University of Minnesota, Crookston Feb. 10 with 11 points and 12 assists. In NSIC play he totaled 6.7 points and 3.3 rebounds per game, shot 82.5 percent form the charity stripe and had 21 steals. He has 173 overall assists this season to serve as BSU’s record holder for assists in a season.
The top-seeded Beavers (22-7) are in the NSIC/Sanford Health Men’s Basketball Tournament semifinals in Rochester, Minn. March 3. BSU will battle No. 4 seed Minnesota State University Moorhead at 2:30 p.m. at Taylor Arena. The Beavers earned a 57-53 first round victory Feb. 29 against Wayne State College to improve to 6-0 in a home first round playoff game in NSIC tournament history (since 2000) and have appeared in five semifinal games (0-5).
Bemidji State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).