April 1, 2016
ST. LOUIS – Alfonzo Houston of the Pontiac 66ers has been named the 2016 Midwest Professional Basketball Association Most Valuable Player, following a vote of the league’s coaches and media relations/broadcasting staff.
Houston led the 66ers and the league’s eligible players with an MPBA-record 27.7 points-per-game average. He scored his season-high 41 points, 24 of which came in the fourth quarter, in his team’s last game of the season, a come-from-behind win against the Chicago Blues. Houston scored 30 or more points in seven games this season. The 6’4” guard from the University of North Carolina-Central also averaged 5.3 rebounds per game.
“Alfonzo is a true professional,” said 66ers coach Durrell Robinson. “The community loves him, teammates love him, and we all love and appreciate him. He really loves and enjoys playing the game of basketball but even more importantly, he is a humble and very likeable young man who will be successful at whatever else he decides to do after playing basketball because of his character. It is an honor and pleasure to be able to say that I coached Alfonzo Houston. He represents the MPBA and its players very well."
Houston’s coach Durrell Robinson was voted the league’s Coach of the Year. Robinson led the 66ers to a league-best 12-4 record, despite losing four players—three in three days—to foreign contracts.
“We are very lucky to have one of the top coaches in the country, both on and off the floor,” said Mark Myre, general manager for the 66ers. “He has made this team better day in and day out, but more importantly, he’s taught them about what it means to give back to the community when you’re not on the court.”
Connell Crossland of the Gateway Steam earned Defensive Player of the Year honors. Crossland, a versatile player at three positions, averaged 8.3 rebounds per game, with a season-high of 15 boards on January 10 against Pontiac. Crossland, who received votes for MVP, also scored 20.5 points per game.
C.J. Hampton of the Windy City Groove is the MPBA’s Sixth Man of the Year. Hampton is the Groove’s second-leading scorer at 16.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, coming off the bench in twelve of his team’s 13 games, averaging more than 31 minutes per contest.
The following players were voted First Team All-MPBA: Alfonzo Houston, Pontiac 66ers (unanimous selection); Dion Cooksey, Windy City Groove; Connell Crossland, Gateway Steam (unanimous selection); Kyle Meyer, Lima Express (unanimous selection); and Marcus Hammonds, Pontiac 66ers.
The All-MPBA Second Team is comprised of the following players: Cordaryl Ballard, Lima Express; Michael Rogers, Champaign Swarm; Al Rapier, Chicago Blues; Isiah Martin, Windy City Groove; Aaron Williams, St. Louis RiverSharks; and Deveon Jenkins, Windy City Groove.
Finally, the MPBA All-Defensive Team: Jordan Walker, Champaign Swarm; Dion Cooksey, Windy City Groove; Jakeem Hill, Chicago Blues; Connell Crossland, Gateway Steam; Marcus Hammonds, Pontiac 66ers; and Aaron Williams, St. Louis RiverSharks.
“I would like to extend our most sincere congratulations to our award winners this year,” said C. Edward “Ed” Schumer, commissioner of the MPBA. “The level of play was tremendous this year, even better than last year—we showed that by moving 18 players on to foreign leagues or the NBA D-League during the course of our season. These awards are a well-deserved recognition of their talent and hard work, as well as a testament to the job that all the coaches did to help develop these players,” Schumer said.