Welcome to March. It is the time of year when DII men’s basketball’s best players shine on the largest stage.
Our February DII men’s basketball all-stats team, on the other hand, has been stuffing the box scores all season.
Here is your dream team for February. The DII men’s basketball “all-stats starting five” is a lineup based purely on stats. Some are simply the division leader in a key statistic while others find their way across the top 10 of an array of categories. For others, it may be as easy as picking the top scorer and rebounder at their respective position.
This is the last lineup for the regular season. The next all-stats team will be exclusive to the DII men’s basketball tournament, picked from the 64 teams that make the bracket March 6. All stats are from games played through Monday, Feb. 28 per NCAA.org.
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The February all-stats starting five
Guard: Nick Smith, Nova Southeastern
This time of the year, when conversations of player of the year start going into overdrive, they tend to gravitate towards the flashy player with big dunks and high-scoring totals, like Smith's teammate Sekou Sylla (more on him in a bit). Make no mistake, Nick Smith is as much this season’s DII men’s basketball MVP as any player out there. Nova Southeastern finished the regular season 25-0 with the second-best scoring offense that was fueled by its defense. Smith was technically second in DII in steals (falling 0.01 short of the leader who played just four games) and led the division in assists and assists-to-turnover ratio while scoring 12.5 points per game. Is Nova Southeastern still a tourney team without him? It’s likely, with all that star power — but are they the unquestioned best team in DII? No chance.
Also considered: Trevor Hudgins, Northwest Missouri State – Hudgins finished the season as the DII men’s basketball leader in total 3-pointers made (139) and per game (4.63) at a 42.2% lick while scoring a career-high 23.4 points per game. Anytime you have Trevor Hudgins and career-high in the same sentence, something pretty special happened.
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Guard: Tray Buchanan, Emporia State
Buchanan is arguably the newcomer of the year in all DII, transferring in from DI to score 25.7 points per game and 720 total, the most in DII. He led the Hornets to a 20-win season — a nine-game improvement from last year — and no matter what happens in the MIAA tournament this March, he was on the winning side of two victories against Northwest Missouri State in February. Buchanan finished the regular season shooting 46.5 percent from the field and 41.1 percent from 3 while leading the team in assists.
Also considered: John Williams Jr., Glenville State – Williams was in the top five in DII in scoring all season — and he saved his best for last. He closed the season scoring no fewer than 23 points over his last seven games, averaging 28.9 per game while shooting 33 percent from 3 for one of the top 3-point shooting teams in DII.
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Forward: Joel Scott, Black Hills State
The Yellow Jackets earned the top seed in the RMAC tournament and head to the semifinals after a 22-point performance from their leading scorer. Not only did Scott lead BHSU in scoring — he was the top-scoring forward in all DII men’s basketball. Scott finished the regular season with 22.8 points per game while averaging a double-double on the season with 10.8 rebounds per game and a DII-best 8.92 defensive rebounds per game. Scott has had many accolades throughout his career — including the RMAC freshman of the year in 2019-20. This season he already has seven RMAC player-of-the-week honors.
Also considered: Sekou Sylla, Nova Southeastern – Sylla has been a welcome addition to the Sharks and has been sensational in every aspect of the game. He averaged 22.5 points and 9.9 rebounds per game while shooting 59.3 percent from the floor. He has been absolutely dominant in the middle for the undefeated Sharks. What makes Nova Southeastern so scary is that Sylla and Smith are both MVP-caliber players.
Forward: Devante Brooks, Southern Arkansas
Brooks was the GAC newcomer of the year upon his arrival in the 2017-18 season and hasn’t stopped filling the record books since. This year, he helped the Muleriders to a 17-win season with nightly averages of 17.6 points and 11.2 rebounds. His rebound totals are top five in DII, and he is second in the division with 18 double-doubles at the conclusion of the regular season. Brooks recently earned First-Team All-GAC honors after leading the conference in rebounding and finishing third in scoring.
Also considered: Laolu Oke, MSU Denver – Oke was a beast from start to finish this season. He finished in the top 5 in DII men’s basketball in rebounds and double-doubles while finishing with a top-10 mark in field-goal percentage. He also led his team in scoring and steals while his Roadrunners had their best season since 2016-17.
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Center: Andrew Sischo, Daemen
Sischo will finish his career as the GOAT of all-stat team history. Since these started three seasons ago, Sischo has never missed an appearance. Daemen’s big man leads DII in rebounds (13.0 per game) and double-doubles (22) all while being the top-scoring big man with 22.0 points per game. Sischo currently has 2,829 career points and 1,450 career rebounds. That puts him just outside the top 15 all-time in scoring and No. 5 all-time in rebounds. If Daemen can get into the DII tournament and win a few games, Sischo has the chance to move up both lists and solidify one of the best careers in DII history.
Also considered: Tyshaun Crawford, Augusta — Crawford has been a key cog in Augusta's strong finish, as the Jags are rolling into tourney season winners of 12 in a row. Crawford leads the team in points and rebounds and is among the DII leaders in blocked shots at the center position as well.