The Wichita State Shockers had a historically good regular season, and Tuesday guard Fred VanVleet was recognized for the part he played in it.
VanVleet was named the Larry Bird Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year, edging out teammates Cleanthony Early and Ron Baker, who finished second and third, respectively, in the voting. VanVleet received 22 of the possible 36 first-place votes
In a team-high 32 minutes per game, VanVleet averaged 11.9 points, 4.0 rebounds and 5.3 assists for the 31-0 Shockers, who became the first team in 10 seasons to finish the regular season undefeated.
VanVleet, a sophomore from Rockford, Ill., who attended Auburn High School, led the league in assists and was third in steals (1.9 per game), doing a little of everything for Gregg Marshall's group. VanVleet is only the second underclassman to win this award, joining Creighton's Doug McDermott (2012), the frontrunner for National Player of the Year who now plays in the Big East.
The Shockers will play the winner of No. 8 Drake and No. 9 Evansville on Friday on Comcast SportsNet at noon in the second round of the MVC conference tournament.
VanVleet, Early and Baker all were named to the All-MVC team, marking the first time since 1973 that a trio of teammates were selected to the team. And in that year, the All-MWC selected 10 players.
On the defensive end, guard Tekele Cotton was named the MVC Defensive Player of the Year.