Degenkolb’s Shot at Grace Named NAIA’s Top Play of the Year
UPLAND, Ind. – The NAIA’s first-ever Top Plays Bracket ended Tuesday evening with the top-seeded highlight taking the title in convincing fashion, as Mason Degenkolb’s three-quarter court heave at the buzzer to topple Grace in the Crossroads League Tournament Quarterfinals was voted the NAIA Top Play of the Year.
The contest opened in mid-April, with voting allowed on Twitter and through the NAIA app. The bracket was created by the NAIA Offices after trimming a list of 25 No. 1 NAIA Plays of the Week down to the 10-play bracket. The plays were then seeded, with Degenkolb’s shot taking the top overall seed and a pair of byes straight into the tournament semifinals.
Once the voting started, the Degenkolb clip steamrolled the competition, winning its semifinal clash with 68-percent of the vote, before hauling in a whopping 89-percent of the vote in the lopsided championship matchup.
Degenkolb’s game-winning heave left the All-American’s hands with 0.2 seconds left and just after Grace had drilled a desperation three of its own to tie the score at 85-85. The shot found the bottom of the net 75 feet away to stun the crowd and sent Taylor into the CL Tourney Semifinals.
The highlight earned full coverage on ESPN, taking SportsCenter Top Play honors and earning Degenkolb a live interview on SportsCenter the following morning. In all, the clip aired on nearly 10 different ESPN shows.