Male Athlete of the Year
No male athlete had more of an impact on his team this year than senior Theron Wilson of the men’s basketball team did.
Playing on a squad that was already short on big men, the 6-foot-5 Wilson used his tremendous athleticism to pull down a team-high 7.3 rebounds per game and gave the Braves a much-needed lift under the boards.
Wilson was also Bradley’s scoring leader during the 2008-09 campaign, putting up 14.0 points per game.
He received a good amount of recognition for his achievements this year, as he was named First-Team All-Missouri Valley Conference for the first time. Wilson was also chosen as Bradley’s Most Valuable Player and Best Defensive Player and was named to the MVC’s All-Defensive Team.
There was no doubt Wilson earned his defensive accolades this year, as his tremendously fast hands and peskiness in the passing lanes led to a team-high 66 steals.
All of those contributions, along with his vocal leadership on the floor easily made Wilson the Scout’s choice for Male Athlete of the Year.
Female Athlete of the Year
Senior Monica Rogers’ graduation ceremony is going to be a tough pill to swallow for the women’s basketball team.
Rogers was the hands-down leader of the team, as she put up a team-high 13.2 ppg and also grabbed 8.1 rpg, second only to sophomore Sonya Harris’ 8.5.
Beyond her team-leading stats, Rogers was also the first Bradley player to be named first-team All-MVC since 2005.
Rogers had other successes in the conference as well, as she was the MVC’s second leading offensive rebounder (2.9), third leading scorer and fourth leading rebounder and free throw shooter (79.4 percent).
By putting up 16 points in the first game of the MVC Tournament, Rogers also helped lead the women’s basketball team to the semifinals of the tournament for only the second time in program history.
Rogers seemed to provide the team with whatever lift it needed this year, whether it be a clutch rebound, defensive stop or key basket. This could perhaps best be seen in her big games against conference rivals Creighton and Drake, which turned out to be some of the biggest momentum-building games of the season.
Coach of the Year
Coach Paula Buscher led the women’s basketball team to a 21-10 record in the regular season, the best showing in program history.
Buscher turned around a program that finished 12-18 in 2007-08 and formed her returning players and a few new recruits into a team that pulled off a number of huge wins and changed the face of women’s basketball at Bradley.
In addition to Buscher’s own conference recognition as MVC Coach of the Year, she also had in her command a first-team All-MVC player, second-team All-MVC player, All-Freshman team member and a member of the All-Defensive team.
Buscher led the Braves to a win over Creighton, which snapped the Bluejays’ 11-game winning streak and then in the next game, topped Drake in another hard-fought conference battle.
The team will be losing a number of key players next year, but with some solid recruits, including Morton-native Brooke Bisping, Buscher will have a great chance to pick up where she left off this year.
Freshman of the Year
Few freshmen have been able to make an impact on their teams the way Michelle Lund did this year.
Lund boasted the second highest 3-point field goal percentage in the MVC, shooting just over 40 percent from beyond the arc, a fact that helped her in being named to the conference’s All-Freshman Team.
She also averaged 9.2 points per game (second highest on the team) and 25.6 minutes per game (which was also second highest on the team). For Lund to have seen such a substantial role on a 21-10 team shows how much of a factor she was to have in each game.
While it was no secret that Lund’s specialty was the 3-point shot, she also saw a number of minutes at the point guard position, which will be sure to be beneficial in the three years to come.
Play of the Year
There were a number of terrific plays this year in Bradley sports, but there is no doubt that one sticks out above the rest.
With nine-tenths of a second left on the clock in the semifinal game of the Inaugural CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, junior Chris Roberts made a shot that will be sure to go down in Bradley basketball history.
With the Braves trailing by two points and with their hearts nearly broken, senior Theron Wilson inbounded to Roberts, who threw up a desperation 75-foot prayer, which banked in at the buzzer to extend Bradley’s season by one more game.
The play was one that will never be forgotten by fans and it also received a multitude of national coverage as well, as it was featured on ESPN’s Top Plays, The Today Show and ESPN’s First Take.