Crutcher is Just The Eighth Flyer To Be Named Men’s Basketball MVP Three Times
DAYTON –Jalen Crutcher was named the University of Dayton men’s basketball team’s 2020-21 White Allen Most Valuable Player Tuesday evening. Crutcher and his teammates were recognized at a private team dinner due to Covid-19 protocols.
A four-year starter from Memphis, Tenn. Crutcher earned MVP for the third time. He won it outright in 2018-19, was co-MVP with Obi Toppin last year, and MVP on his own again this year. He is just the eighth Flyer to earn three MVP awards. Chris Wright (2008-11) was the last one to do it. Wright was preceded by Brian Roberts (2005-08), Ryan Perryman (1996-98), Roosevelt Chapman (1982-84), Jim Paxson (1977-79), Donald Smith (1972-74) and Henry Finkel (1963-66).
Crutcher led Dayton in scoring (17.6 ppg.), assists (4.8), minutes (38.1) and free throw percentage (.763, 87-114). He finished his career 16th in career scoring for the Flyers (1,593 points), fourth in three-pointers (242), second in assists (584) and second in total minutes played (4,097).
He was two-time First Team All-NABC District 4, and also two-time First Team All-Atlantic 10. He was fourth in scoring (18.1 points per game), sixth in assists (4.8 per game) and second in minutes (38.1 per game) in the A-10 in 2020-21. He was the only A-10 player in the top 10 in scoring and assists this year. “Clutcher” joined Toppin as the only UD’s men’s basketball players to be two-time First Team All-Atlantic 10 selections.
The White Allen Most Valuable Player Trophy is sponsored by Tim White and White Allen Auto Group, Inc. The award is selected by members of the team. The White Allen Trophy has been awarded annually since 1953. White Allen now sponsors the MVP award for UD’s men’s and women’s basketball, football and volleyball teams.
Crutcher was also the repeat winner of the Alex Schoen Memorial Free Throw Trophy, which goes to UD’s top free throw shooter. The Schoen Trophy is named in honor of Alex Schoen, Sr., the captain of UD’s first varsity basketball team in 1903-04. Awarded since 1950, it is sponsored by Alex Schoen, Jr. It goes to the UD player with the highest FT% with a minimum of 50 free throws attempted.
This was the 17th time in the 71-year history of the Schoen Trophy a player has won it more than once. The most recent was Chris Johnson, a 2011 graduate who earned it all four of his varsity seasons.
As the team’s top rebounder, Jordy Tshimanga won the “Shorty” Sharpenter Memorial Rebounding Trophy. The Sharpenter award is named for Hall of Famer Ned “Shorty” Sharpenter, and has been sponsored by his family since its inception in 1979.
This season, Tshimanga was fifth in the A-10 in rebounding (7.7). He was nine field goals made short of qualifying for A-10 rankings, and his .600 FG% (60-100) would have led the league. He started all 23 games he played in, averaging 6.7 points a game.
Tshimanga was also named the recipient of the John L. Macbeth Memorial Scholar-Athlete Award for the second straight year. A graduate student with a 3.83 GPA in School Counseling, he earned his undergraduate degree in August. The Macbeth Scholar-Athlete Award is presented in memory of Dayton businessman John L. Macbeth, and is sponsored by Mrs. John L. Macbeth and family. It has been awarded since 1959.
Tshimanga and Rodney Chatman were co-winners of the Steve McElvene Award as the team’s top defenders. Tshimanga’s size and physicality allowed him to be Dayton’s best post defender, and he had the best +/- rating on the team with his strength coming on the defensive end. Chatman, who won the award for the second time, is a shutdown perimeter defender who regularly holds high-scoring guards well under their average.
Tshimanga led Dayton in blocked shots (14), while Chatman led in steals (21, even though he only played in 12 games due to injury).
The Best Defender Award was first presented in 1995, but it was renamed in 2019 to honor the memory of Steve McElvene, who died suddenly at home in the spring of 2016 of an undetectable heart condition. In his only college basketball season, McElvene broke the Dayton single-season blocked shot record.
Another repeat winner came with the Dr. George Rau Spirit Award, which is given annually to the player (or players) who display true team spirit, on and off the court. Camron Greer was named the Rau winner for the second time. This season he shared the honor with Christian Wilson.
The Harry O’Rourke Insurance Agency sponsors the Rau Award, which was first presented after the long-time Flyer team physician’s death in 1972.
Ibi Watson was named the winner of the James G. and Purcell S. Palmer Scholarship. The Palmer Scholarship is given on behalf of the late Jim Palmer and his wife Purcell. Mr. Palmer was a former Flyer and NBA player. The award is presented to the Dayton player who best embodies his characteristics, on and off the court.
Watson was Third Team All-Atlantic 10, and was second on the team in scoring (15.7).
Zimi Nwokeji earned the Chris Daniels Memorial Most Improved Player Award. After playing just 18 minutes and not scoring or grabbing a rebound in the month of December, the redshirt freshman averaged 7.2 points and 2.9 rebounds in his next 18 games. The high point was a 29-point explosion at Rhode Island that was the second-most points scored by a Flyer freshman.
The Daniels Award is presented in memory of Flyer center Chris Daniels. Originated in 1994-95 as the most improved player award, this award was renamed for Daniels following his death in 1996.
Mustapha Amzil was named the winner of the Thomas M. Luppe Award, which is awarded to the first-year player (or players) on the team who best demonstrates the courage, desire and integrity of former Flyer freshman Tom Luppe.
Amzil was named to the A-10’s All-Rookie team this season. He actually signed with the Flyers in the fall of 2020 to be part of UD’s nationally-ranked recruiting Class of 2021. Instead, exactly 50 days after he signed, he earned the first of his three Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week awards. In 19 games (15 starts), he was third on the team in scoring (9.9 points a game), rebounds (5.6) and FG% (.496, 68-137).
The Luppe Award honors Thomas M. Luppe, who died in 1963 while playing in a UD freshman game.
Two other true freshmen, R.J. Blakney and Koby Brea, were announced as the co-recipients of the Uhl Family Endowed Scholarship, and the John L. Macbeth Memorial Scholar-Athlete Award. The Uhl scholarship is awarded to the UD player who best exemplifies the qualities of sportsmanship and character. It is named after and endowed by former Flyers Bill Uhl and Bill Uhl II.
Dayton was 14-10 in 2020-21, reaching the NIT. UD has qualified for the post-season in the last three seasons since Anthony Grant took over as coach at his alma mater in 2017. The Flyers reached the NIT in 2019, were granted the A-10’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA tournament when the A-10 championship was cancelled last year, and the NIT in 2021. UD has also reached post-season play six of the last seven years.
2020-21 UNIVERSITY OF DAYTON MEN’S BASKETBALL AWARDS
WHITE-ALLEN MOST VALUABLE PLAYER – JALEN CRUTCHER
ALEX SCHOEN FREE THROW PERCENTAGE – JALEN CRUTCHER
JOHN L. MACBETH SCHOLAR-ATHLETE – JORDY TSHIMANGA
DR. GEORGE RAU SPIRIT AWARD – CAMRON GREER & CHRISTIAN WILSON
“SHORTY” SHARPENTER TOP REBOUNDER – JORDY TSHIMANGA
CHRIS DANIELS MEMORIAL AWARD – ZIMI NWOKEJI
THOMAS M. LUPPE MEMORIAL AWARD – MUSTAPHA AMZIL
STEVE McELVENE BEST DEFENDER AWARD – RODNEY CHATMAN & JORDY TSHIMANGA
UHL FAMILY ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP – R.J. BLAKNEY & KOBY BREA
JAMES G. & PURCELL S. PALMER SCHOLARSHIP – IBI WATSON
COURTESY DAYTON ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS