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ODAC Announces 2021 All-ODAC Men's Basketball Awards

ODAC Announces 2021 All-ODAC Men's Basketball Awards

FOREST, Va. --- Randolph-Macon College guard Buzz Anthony and Yellow Jackets mentor Josh Merkel along with Washington and Lee University forward Curtis Mitchell headline the All-ODAC Men's Basketball Awards for a third straight season. Anthony earned Kurt Axe Memorial Player of the Year laurels for the third time in as many years, while Merkel collected his fourth consecutive Bob Johnson Coach of the Year plaque. Mitchell has now earned all three ODAC Defensive Player of the Year honors awarded by the conference.

Roanoke College forward Justin Kuthan garnered ODAC Rookie of the Year accolades, and Ferrum College guard Kajuan Madden-McAfee received ODAC/Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors from the conference's athletic communications personnel.

This season's All-ODAC awards look a little different than in previous seasons with one large all-conference team honoring the league's student-athletes. Still, plenty of star power returns to the conference's awards list with eight players having secured at least one previous all-league nod. That list begins with Anthony, who earned All-ODAC First Team status in 2019 and 2020. University of Lynchburg forward T.C. Thacker, Virginia Wesleyan University forward Tim Fisher, and Washington and Lee guard William Brueggeman were first team selections in 2020. Fisher was also an All-ODAC Third Team pick in 2019.

W&L's Mitchell was an All-ODAC Second Team selection in 2020. Lynchburg guard Tharon Suggs earned third team honors in 2020 and a second team spot in 2019. Guilford College guard Jorden Davis and Hampden-Sydney College forward Jake Hahn were both third teamers in 2020.

RELATED: 2020 All-ODAC Awards | All-Time All-Conference

Anthony, a senior from Arnold, Md., is the first three-time player of the year in ODAC history. The Yellow Jackets' All-American playmaker showcased his all-around talent yet again. He finished fifth in the ODAC in scoring (17.5) while leading the league in overall points scored (210), assists (75), and steals (23). He ranked second in field goals made (73-of-137), third in three-point shooting (.500), fourth in three-pointers made (28-of-56) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.7), and fifth in free throw shooting (.878 - 36-of-41). Anthony scored in double figures in 11-of-12 games played including a season-high 30 markers in a 79-55 win over Salisbury in late January. He came up two assists shy of a triple-double with 19 points, 11 boards, and eight assists in a 76-49 win at Virginia Wesleyan in late February. He posted five games of eight or more assists including twice with nine.

Mitchell, a senior from Chevy Chase, Md., has made a name for himself as one of the best interior defenders in the ODAC over the past three seasons. Mitchell, the winner of all three ODAC Defensive Player of the Year awards since the conference began the honor in 2019, finished third in the league in rebounding (11.6 per game) and blocked shots (18). His 3.6 blocked shots per game were #1 in the ODAC. He had at least 10 rebounds and two blocked shots in all five games played this season. That included a 13-rebound 7-block outing in a 98-85 win over Emory & Henry in mid-February. Mitchell's offensive game improved throughout his career. He increased his scoring output from 5.6 points per game as a first-year in 2018 to 13.0 points per game this season.

Merkel finished his 10th season as a collegiate head coach and sxith year guiding the Yellow Jackets program. This is his fourth straight ODAC top coaching honor and fifth conference coach of the year award after earning the same distinction from the Capital Athletic Conference in 2015 when he led his alma mater, Salisbury University, to its first 20-win season since 1997. The 2021 Yellow Jackets cleared all hurdles on the way to collecting the program's second straight and ninth overall ODAC title via a 70-62 triumph at Lynchburg. Randolph-Macon spent much of the 2021 season ranked #1 in the country by D3hoops.com, a billing R-MC lived up to after taking down fellow top-10 ranked foe Trine University following the ODAC Tournament. Merkel closed the 2021 season with a 181-78 (.699) overall record including a 110-37 (.748) mark at R-MC following a 12-0 run this year.

Kuthan, a first-year from Denver, N.C., proved a key cog in Roanoke's rotation, helping the Maroons to the ODAC Tournament semifinals and a national top-15 ranking by D3hoops.com late in the season. Kuthan averaged 10.2 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. He was tremendously efficient shooting the ball as he led the ODAC in field goal shooting at 72.9-percent (51-of-70). He scored in double figures in six of his 12 games played including three of his final four contests. He posted a season-best 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting in an 80-59 win over Randolph College in early February.

Madden-McAfee, a senior from Harrisonburg, Va., starred both on and off the floor for the Panthers. In the classroom, Madden-McAfee owns a 3.89 grade point average as an applied mathematics major with a minor in educational studies. He has been a Ferrum President's List (4.0 GPA) honoree all but one semester of his collegiate career. An honoree on the ODAC All-Academic Team, Madden-McAfee is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) program and was nominated as a Student Committee member for the Teacher Education Committee. He also started a bible study group on campus called Truth Lasts Forever (TLF).

On the floor, Madden-McAfee, who serves as a Panthers team captain, pairs this honor with a selection to the 2021 All-ODAC Team. He finished the season averaging 15.6 points per game and 7.8 rebounds per contest, the latter ranking ninth in the ODAC. He led the league in overall minutes played (416) and three-pointers made (49-of-112), ranked second in defensive rebounds (80) and total rebounds (102), and third in total points (203) and field goals made (64-of-143). He scored in double figures in 11-of-13 games played including six 20-plus point efforts. He posted three double-doubles including both ODAC Tournament games to finish the season.

Listed below is the complete set of 2021 All-ODAC Men's Basketball Awards.  For more information, visit the websites of any of the participating schools, or go to the ODAC's home on the Internet at www.odaconline.com.  Don't forget to become a fan of the ODAC on Facebook and follow @odacathletics on Twitter and Instagram.

Kurt Axe Memorial Player of the Year:
Buzz Anthony, Sr., G, Randolph-Macon
ODAC Defensive Player of the Year: Curtis Mitchell, Sr., F, Washington and Lee
Bob Johnson Coach of the Year: Josh Merkel, Randolph-Macon
ODAC Rookie of the Year: Justin Kuthan, Fy., F, Roanoke
ODAC/Va. Farm Bureau Scholar-Athlete: Kajuan Madden-McAfee, Sr., G, Ferrum

DJ Hill Sr. F Eastern Mennonite University
Tim Jones Sr. G Eastern Mennonite University
Robert Holliday, Jr. Sr. G Emory & Henry College
Kajuan Madden-McAfee Sr. G Ferrum College
Jorden Davis ^ Jr. G Guilford College
Liam Ward Jr. F Guilford College
Jake Hahn ^ Sr. F Hampden-Sydney College
Tharon Suggs ^ Sr. G University of Lynchburg
T.C. Thacker * Sr. F University of Lynchburg
Buzz Anthony * Sr. G Randolph-Macon College
Miles Mallory So. F Randolph-Macon College
Ian Robertson Jr. F Randolph-Macon College
Efosa Edosamwan So. G Roanoke College
Kasey Draper So. G Roanoke College
Tim Fisher * Sr. F Virginia Wesleyan University
Tyree Golston Sr. G Virginia Wesleyan University
William Brueggeman * Sr. G Washington and Lee University
Curtis Mitchell # Sr. F Washington and Lee University
* 2020 All-ODAC First Team
# 2020 All-ODAC Second Team
^ 2020 All-ODAC Third Team