April 15, 2014
DEKALB, Ill. -- The Northern Illinois University men’s basketball team held its end of season awards banquet on Sunday, April 13, at Kishwaukee Country Club. Junior Jordan Threloff (DeKalb, Ill./DeKalb/Illinois State) was honored as the team’s Most Valuable Player, as voted on by the Huskie players and coaches.
In his first season at NIU, Threloff averaged 9.2 points and 7.0 rebounds per game and appeared in all 32 games, including 26 starts. Threloff scored in double figures 13 times, including in 10 of the final 16 games of the season. In conference action, Threloff ranked fifth in the MAC in rebounding, pulling down 7.9 boards per contest, 10th in free throw percentage, connecting at 79.1 percent from the line, and tied for 10th in blocked shots, averaging one per conference game.
Threloff had a pair of double-doubles this season, including a 27-point, 18-rebounds performance in a double-overtime victory over Eastern Michigan on Feb. 20.
Freshman Aaric Armstead (Chicago, Ill./La Jolla Prep) was honored with a pair of awards, earning NIU’s Most Improved Player Award while also earning co-Best Defender Award honors, along with sophomore Travon Baker (Detroit, Mich./Detroit Consortium).
Armstead averaged 7.7 points and 4.1 rebounds per contest this season, appearing in 30 games, including 21 starts. During league play, Armstead averaged 9.6 points per game, fourth among conference rookies, and 4.6 rebounds per contest, second-best among league newcomers. Armstead was the only player in the MAC ranked in the top-five of both categories.
After entering the starting lineup on Jan. 3 against Bethune-Cookman, Armstead is shot 43 percent from the field and has scored in double figures in 11 of 21 contests.
Baker led the Huskies with 48 steals, 1.5 per game, 10th-best in the MAC, and played a team-high 27.9 minutes per game. Baker and the Huskies allowed just 62.9 points per game, 30th-best in the nation.
Sophomore Darrell Bowie (Milwaukee, Wis./La Jolla Prep) received NIU’s Best Rebounder Award. The 6-foot-6 wing finished second on the team averaging 6.5 rebounds per contest, leading the Huskies in rebounding in 14 games.
Fifth-year senior Antone Christian (Nashville, Tenn./Martin Luther King Magnet) earned the Unsung Hero Award. After originally coming to NIU as a walk-on, Christian redshirted his first season as a Huskie and has been on scholarship for each of the last four years, playing in 89 career games, making 22 starts.
Despite battling injuries as a senior that limited him to just 10 games played, he finished his NIU career with 422 points and 116 rebounds.
Along with Christian, NIU also honored fellow senior, Aksel Bolin (Asker, Norway/Asker). Bolin appeared in 114 games during his four-year career at NIU, sixth-most in school history, and started 80 games during his career as a Huskie, scoring 671 career points while grabbing 460 rebounds.
This season, Bolin ranked third in the MAC in three-point shooting during league play, making 42.2 percent of his three-point attempts.
NIU finished the 2013-14 season with a 15-17 record, a 10-win improvement from a season ago, the best single-season win turnaround in program history and the 10th-best improvement nationally in 2013-14.
2013-14 NIU Men’s Basketball Awards
Most Valuable Player: Jordan Threloff
Best Defender Awards: Aaric Armstead and Travon Baker
Best Rebounder Award: Darrell Bowie
Most Improved Award: Aaric Armstead
Unsung Hero Award: Antone Christian