Steve O’Neill was named to the All-GPAC Men’s Basketball First-Team and Mustang head coach Jim Sykes was named the GPAC Co-Coach of the Year.
Steve O’Neill, a 6-0 senior guard from Council Bluffs, Iowa, was named to the 2014-15 All-Great Plains Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball First Team as selected by the league’s head coaches.
In addition to O’Neill’s first-team selection, the Mustangs’ Jim Sykes was named the Hauff Mid-America Sports/GPAC Men’s Basketball Co-Coach of the Year after he guided the Mustangs to a 17-3 record in the GPAC to share the league’s regular season championship with Dakota Wesleyan University. Morningside will take a 27-4 record into next week’s NAIA Division II National Tournament in Point Lookout, Mo. Sykes has the most victories of any men’s basketball coach in
Morningside history with a career record of 244-122 for a school-record .667 winning percentage. Sykes was also named the GPAC Coach of the Year in 2007-08 and the GPAC Co-Coach of the Year in 2003-04.
O’Neill is the Mustangs’ leading scorer with an average of 18.3 points per game as well as the team leader with 119 assists for an average of 3.8 per game. He has made a team-high 65 3-point field goals in 172 attempts for 37.8 percent and is one of the top free throw shooters in the NAIA Division II ranks with 137 free throws in 156 attempts for 87.8 percent. He has made 182 of 434 overall field goal attempts for 41.9 percent. O’Neill is second on the Mustangs with 42 steals.
O’Neill has a team-high 29 double figure scoring performances, including a team-high 12 scoring performances of 20 points or more. He has been the Mustangs’ leading scorer in 13 of their 31 contests, including a career-high 31-point performance in a 112-100 victory against William Penn University on Oct. 31 for Morningside’s top individual scoring performance of the campaign.
Morningside’s Tanner Miller, a 6-1 senior guard from Gretna, Neb., and Kyle Nikkel, a 6-6 senior center from Pella, Iowa, were both named to the All-GPAC Second Team.
Miller is averaging 11.5 points and 3.3 rebounds per game and leads the Mustangs with 68 steals for an average of 2.2 thefts per game. He is second on the team with 101 assists for an average of 3.3 per game. Miller has made 122 of 263 field goal attempts for 46.4 percent, 44 of 109 3-point field goal attempts for 40.4 percent, and 67 of 82 free throw attempts for 81.7 percent.
Nikkel is the Mustangs’ leading rebounder with an average of 5.7 caroms per game to compliment a 12.1-point scoring average. He had a career-high 16 rebounds in the Mustangs’ Oct. 31 victory against William Penn for the Mustangs’ top individual rebound total of the season. Nikkel also leads the Mustangs in field goal accuracy with 140 hoops in 206 attempts for 68.0 percent. He has made 82 of 112 free throw attempts for 73.2 percent.
O’Neill, Miller, and Nikkel rank 19th, 21st, and 23rd on Morningside’s all-time scoring list with 1100, 1095, and 1072 career points, respectively.
In addition to their first and second-team selections, the Mustangs’ Andrew Christen and Ryan Tegtmeier were both named to the All-GPAC honorable mention list.
Christen, a 6-5 senior forward from Anselmo, Neb., is averaging 10.2 points and 5.4 rebounds per game and leads the Mustangs with 44 blocked shots for an average of 1.4 rejections per game.
Tegtmeier, a 6-0 sophomore guard from Davenport, Neb., is averaging 11.8 points per game and has dealt 99 assists for an average of 3.2 per game. He is the Mustangs’ best 3-point shooter with 46 treys in 111 attempts for 41.4 percent.
Click here for the complete 2014-15 All-GPAC Men’s Basketball Team.