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CCAC Names MBB All-Conference Awards

by | Mar 2, 2021 | Basketball Blogs, Headlines | 0 comments

ONU’s Alex Gross Headlines MBKB Postseason Honor Roll
Men’s Basketball – DI – Mon, Mar. 1, 2021 at 6:30 PM

CHICAGO — Winning the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s basketball regular-season title by 2.5 games, Olivet Nazarene University also came away with a two-honor advantage in the postseason awards race when the league office announced its 30 honorees for the 2020-21 season on Monday night.

The Tiger program captured a half dozen individual awards, including two of the top four prizes, on Monday.  The second closest was Saint Xavier University with four.

Nine other programs earned two honors each.  Those schools were St. Ambrose University, Holy Cross College, Trinity Christian College, Trinity International University, Governors State University, Indiana University Northwest, University of St. Francis, Lincoln College and Roosevelt University.

Judson University rounded out the group with one honoree.

Olivet Nazarene’s Alex Gross (Hope, Ind.) carried away the top award, selected as the CCAC Player of the Year after an incredible junior season.  Not only did the 6-10 junior finish either first or second in the league in five categories, but he also ranked among the top 20 in the nation in those same statistical areas.

Gross was No. 1 in the league in both blocks (4.1) and rebounds (11.9) per game, while being the best in the nation in the former category and fourth in rebounding.  He also claimed runnerup distinction in the conference in field goal percentage (.633), scoring (21.4 ppg) and free throw percentage (.866).  Nationally, in each of those respective categories, he currently ranks 12th, 17th and 20th.

Gross, who also totaled a league-best 13 double-doubles and one triple-double, was the only player among five selected to the all-conference first team to be a repeat honoree.  St. Ambrose’s John Kerr (Lake Villa, Ill.), a second-team choice a year ago, but a first-team pick in 2018-19, also returned to the top team this year.  They were joined by Olivet Nazarene’s John Contant (Hickory Hills, Ill.), Holy Cross’ Jordan Gaines (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Trinity Christian’s James Pennington (Calumet City, Ill).

A total of 20 other players were also named all-conference, split evenly between a second team and as honorable mention choices.

The CCAC Newcomer of the Year award went to the league’s top scorer, who was Indiana Northwest’s Jared Johnson (Chicago Heights, Ill.).  The transfer averaged 22.4 points per game, which also ranks him ninth in the nation.  He averaged the third-most steals per game in the league (1.9) and the fourth-most rebounds per outing (8.8), as well, while ranking eighth in three-point field goals made per contest (2.3) and tenth in free throw accuracy (.706).

Saint Xavier’s Jimmy Linas (Port Saint Lucie, Fla.) was named the CCAC Freshman of the Year.  The 6-7 forward ranked just behind Gross in blocks per game in the league and third in the nation at 3.6 per contest.  He also shot .500 from the field with 5.9 scoring and 4.7 rebounding averages.

Leading his team to its second regular-season league championship in as many years – Olivet Nazarene tied with Holy Cross last winter – the Tigers’ Nick Birkey was named the Ralph Hodge CCAC Coach of the Year.  The award is named after the legendary ONU head coach.  Birkey took over for Hodge three years ago and has claimed the top coaching honor twice in his three seasons.

Judson University closed out the list of award winners, repeating as the CCAC Champions of Character team award recipient.


Position Name Class School Hometown
G Jordan Gaines SR Holy Cross Cincinnati, Ohio
G John Contant SR Olivet Nazarene Hickory Hills, Ill.
C Alex Gross JR Olivet Nazarene Hope, Ind.
F/C John Kerr SR St. Ambrose Lake Villa, Ill.
G James Pennington JR Trinity Christian Calumet City, Ill.

Position Name Class School Hometown
SF DeAndrey Robinson II SR Governors State Peoria, IL
G Storm Cook SR Holy Cross Dayton, Ohio
F Jared Johnson JR Indiana Northwest Chicago Heights, Ill.
F Michael Williams SR St. Ambrose Addison, Ill.
F Jack Halverson JR Saint Xavier Peotone, Ill.
SF Josh Niego SR Saint Xavier Chicago, Ill.
G Sterling Brown SR Trinity Christian Carmel, Ind.
F Brandon Lawani SR Trinity International Bolingbrook, Ill.
G Brandon McQueen SR Trinity International Cleveland, Ohio
F/C Deandre Johnson SR St. Francis Watts, Calif.

Position Name Class School Hometown
PG Lamar Crenshaw SR Governors State Chicago, IL
G Jordan Johnson SR Judson Cedar Park, TX
G Peewee Brown FR Lincoln Peoria, IL
G Lijah Donnelly SR Lincoln Bloomington, IL
F Cade Chitty JR Olivet Nazarene White Heath, Ill.
G CJ Smith SR Olivet Nazarene Cumming, Ga.
G Kelvin Cortez-Harvey JR Roosevelt South Elgin, Ill.
G Josh Redic SO Roosevelt Chicago, Ill.
G/F Charles Campbell, Jr. JR Saint Xavier Chicago, Ill.
G Russell Tillery SR St. Francis Portland, Ore.