Why this was the year of the Mid Major
While Zion Williamson was making headlines, Virginia was winning national championships, and other big names made headlines, mid major players and schools were quietly having record seasons. Now, you could easily say that it was last year that would be the year of the mid major thanks to Loyola Chicago’s miraculous run to the final 4, but in this article you’ll find out it’s even more than that.
Let’s start out with the most prolific scorer of the season, Chris Clemons of the Campbell Fighting Camels. While the team itself wasn’t too impressive, going 20-13 and missing the tournament, they had one player who had a historic season. Clemons, who stands at just 5’9, averaged 30 points a game, over three points more than the next highest scorer in all of division 1. What really made this season special for him was all his accomplishments. First, he became just the 9th player in NCAA history to score 3,000 points in his career. He wasn’t done there, continuing to score all season and climbing the ranks to finish third all time in scoring. That’s right, there are are two players in the history of college basketball who had better careers scoring, proving the point that no one has to go to an elite school to have a successful college career.
Next, we have Mike Daum of South Dakota State. To read just how amazing his career was, check out a previous article called “the best college basketball player of our generation is someone you’ve never heard of”. As for this season, Daum joined Clemens as one of only ten players to reach 3,000 career points, and climbed his way up to 7th all time scoring by the end of the season. It is extremely rare to see a player hit 3,000 career points in a decade, and to see two players do it in the same year is incredible. Daum also led his team to a conference title in his last season.
Probably the most talked about mid major this season, thanks to their incredible three point machine, is the Wofford Terriers. For starters, they were nationally ranked for the first time in school history this season, and came into the tournament as a 7 seed, the first time in school history they were the favorite in the first game. They then won their first ever tournament game ever in a win vs Seton Hall before losing to Kentucky in the round of 32. While the team itself had a celebrated year, it was Fletcher Mcgee, the starting shooting guard on the team, who made headlines. In the first round of the NCAA tournament, Mcgee pulled up and knocked down a three, making him the NCAA all time leader in three point field goals. He did it shooting 43.5% in his career, and shot almost 100 less threes than the next highest. He went on to finish with 509 career threes, an extremely impressive number that will be difficult to beat.
Finally, we have the player who has been talked about all year long, Ja Morant, out of Murray State, home to just 9,500 students. After not getting much love during the recruiting process, Morant chose Murray State, and did his part in making sure they were successful. He finished his sophomore season averaging 24.5 points and a Division 1 leading 10 assists a game. He wowed everyone, putting up a triple double in a tournament game and leading the small school to a round of 32 appearance. He is now projected to be a top 3 pick in the NBA draft, giving hope to smaller recruited players that they don’t need an offer from a Power 5 school to have an NBA future.
So with this being said, congratulations to all the mid majors who might not have gotten the love they deserve on incredible years.
Image via Wofford MBB