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Wayne Cavadi | | February 3, 2023

There's a new-look DII men's basketball All-Stats Starting Five for January

Northwest Missouri State wins DII National Championship

We're coming down the home stretch of the DII men's basketball season. Teams are heating up, but so are the players that are stuffing the stat sheets.

DREAM TEAM: The December All-Stats Starting Five 

The January squad has a very new look to it, with four new faces moving into the lineup. As a reminder this is the all-stats team. This isn’t the best players at each position per se, but a dream team based purely on statistical leaders in DII men’s basketball. Some may be outright No. 1 in a single category, while others are sometimes top-five in several categories.

The January DII men’s basketball All-Stats Starting Five

(Note: All games through Jan 31, 2022, per

Guard — KJ Jones II, Emmanuel (GA)

For the first time this season, there is a changing of the, well, guard. Akuel Kot had led the division in scoring for the bulk of the year, but now it is a tight race, and as January ended, Jones was on top. This shouldn't be too surprising as the 6-foot-6 guard has been one of the most prolific scorers for the past three seasons, averaging 22.5 points per game over that span. For the 2022-23 season, Jones is averaging 25.6 points per game and hitting 37.4% of his 3s while pulling down a career high 7.6 rebounds per game. Not too shabby at all.

Guard — Sesan Russell, Florida Tech

Russell is one half of the Panthers' dynamic duo that has flown very under the radar thus far in 2022-23. His wingman Sean Houpt leads the team with 20.9 points per game, but Russell gets the nod here because he leads DII men's basketball in assists per game at 7.0. Oh, he also chips in 19.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game while leading the team with 34 steals. He's missed a couple games recently, but for January, when he had games with 10, 12, and 15 assists, he is the pick. 

Honorable mentions: Bryce Butler, West Liberty; Javeon Jones, Catawba; Akuel Kot, Fort Lewis; Sam Masten, Northern State; Dante Moses, New Mexico Highlands

SURPRISE STARTS: 11 teams surprising us with a red-hot beginning to the season

Forward — Kevin Kone, Lincoln (MO)

Kone is the lone returner from the December starting five and that's because he hasn't stopped rebounding yet. The 6-foot-9 forward has been a wonderful addition to Lincoln and leads DII men's basketball with 12.9 rebounds per game. He also leads the division in offensive rebounds per game, ripping down nearly five a night creating plenty of second (and third) chances for the Blue Tigers. He chips in 13.4 points per game on an impressive 51.2% shooting while leading the team with 23 blocks.

Forward — Dom Sleva, Shippensburg

The 6-foot-6 forward has been an honorable mention for the past two seasons and finally gets his due. He is second in the division with 12.5 rebounds per game, leading the circuit with 9.75 defensive rebounds per game. Sleva also scores nearly 14 points per game while leading his team in steals. But all that isn't why he made the cut. No, it's because he leads DII in double-doubles with 12. He had some of his largest double-doubles of the season in January, including  a season-high 22-point, 12-rebound performance followed by an 11-point, 20-rebound game a week later. 

Honorable mentions: Deshaun English II, Pittsburg State; Inady Legiste, Tusculum; RJ Sunahara, Nova Southeastern; Jarnel Rancy, Caldwell; Jaylen Wells, Sonoma State

Center — Taylor Currie, Harding

This has been Tyshaun Crawford's spot for pretty much the past two seasons, but a big January saw Currie leap in to the top five in scoring for the division. Currie is fourth in DII with 22.8 points per game and he's doing it on a career-high 61.5% shooting from the floor. He's also the second-best rebounding center in the division, pulling down 10.0 per game and trailing New Haven's Majur Majak by just 0.9 for the top spot. The 6-foot-11 Bison is becoming one of the division's most dominating big men.

Honorable mentions: Tayshaun Crawford, Augusta; Majur Majak, New Haven; Robert Tucker, Kutztown

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