March 21, 2006
DeKalb, IL - It was a banner year for the Northern Illinois University men's basketball squad as the Huskies concluded the 2005-06 campaign with their first-ever Mid-American Conference West Division championship, plus wins over BCS schools (DePaul and Kansas State).
What better way to celebrate their accomplishments than with the annual NIU Men's Basketball Awards Banquet, presented by the DeKalb, Sycamore and Kishwaukee Kiwanis Clubs at the NIU Convocation Center on Monday (March 20) night.
The Huskies had high expectations heading into the season and senior Todd Peterson was more than willing to step up to the plate. Peterson averaged a team-best 12.1 points-per-game and 5.9 rebounds-per-contest on his way to being named NIU's Most Valuable Player by both his teammates and coaches, in addition to grabbing Leading Rebounder honors. Prior to the Mid-Am Conference Tournament, Peterson was named to the MAC Honorable Mention team.
Peterson knocked down a team-best 56 three-pointers to set the new NIU benchmark for career trifectas with 235 long-range bombs, passing former record-holder and current Assistant Coach Donald Whiteside (1987-91) along the way. The Pekin, IL, native garnered his 1,000th career-point with a 22-point performance against Eastern Michigan on "Senior Day", becoming the 25th Huskie in school history to achieve that feat. Peterson was equally as solid from the free-throw line, knocking down a school-record 33 consecutive charity shots, breaking the previous record of 32 that he shared with Willie Hanson (1967).
Despite Peterson's performance from the free-throw line, he was not the Huskies' best shooter from the charity stripe, as fellow senior Anthony Maestranzi earned the Free Throw Award by knocking down 88.7% (47-of-53) of his attempts. Maestranzi also claimed Best Defender for the second season in a row as the Bartlett, IL, native led the Huskies in charges taken (9) and was second on the club in steals (28).
Last season's Most Valuable Player Cory Sims was this year's recipient of the Heart Award, given to the student-athlete that exemplifies courage, desire and effort. Sims was one of the Huskies' most consistent performers this season, as the Livingston, AL, native averaged 9.4 points and 3.7 rebounds, along with a team-best 4.5 assists and 1.4 steals.
Joining Maestranzi as a repeat winner is junior guard Mike McKinney. For the second-straight season, McKinney captured the 26th Annual Mike Korcek Slam Dunk award. The Evanston High School grad narrowly edged teammate James Hughes for the award, slamming home 22 buckets. For his career, McKinney has totaled 52 total dunks which places him sixth in school history for career throwdowns.
For more information please contact Matt Brendich ###NIU###