With a 29-3 record, a Jayhawk West Conference Championship and an at-large bid to the NJCAA National Tournament, the Butler men's basketball team received numerous honors with the recent release of the 2014-15 KJCCC Men's All-Jayhawk West team, as voted on by the coaches.
Butler sophomore Kyle Steward was named to the first team, while three Grizzlies – freshman Chris Howell, Jacolby Harris and sophomore Lamar Wofford – received honorable mention. Grizzly head coach Mike Bargen was also named the Jayhawk West Coach of the Year.
Steward, from Detroit, Mich., led the Grizzlies with 12.7 points per game and averaged 5.0 rebounds (third on the team) and 1.0 steals per game. Starting in 30 of 32 games, the 6-7 sophomore Steward had a career-high 24 points in a Jan. 14 road win over Colby. A transfer from NCAA D-I Youngstown State, Steward scored 20+ points in three games this season.
Howell, from Milwaukee, Wisc., averaged 11.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.0 steals per game. Howell heated up in his final three games of the season to date – the regular-season finale vs. Dodge City and both Region VI Tournament games against Seward County and Hutchinson – finishing with a double-double and scoring 20 or more points in all three. Howell, who was an All-Tournament team selection, scored 24 points in the Region VI quarterfinal win over Seward. The 6-4 freshman played in all 32 games and finished with five double-doubles on the season.
Harris, from Delray Beach, Fla., led the Grizzlies in steals (2.3) and averaged 11.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. Harris, a 6-2 freshman who started 30 of 32 games, reached the 20-point plateau in four games – including a 28-point performance in a Nov. 15 win over Independence.
Wofford, from Flossmoor, Ill., led Butler in rebounding (7.4), blocks (1.7) and field goal percentage (58.7%) while averaging 10.6 points per game. The 6-8 sophomore had a career-high 20 points on two occasions, Nov. 5 at Labette and Dec. 6 vs. Cowley. He led Butler with seven double-doubles on the season and had a season-high 13 rebounds against Allen County (Nov. 18) and Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa (Dec. 12).
Bargen, who is 165-92 overall in his eighth season at Butler, earned his second Coach of the Year honor. In 2010, Bargen received the honor after leading the Grizzlies to a 29-7 record, a Jayhawk West Championship and – for the first time since 1996 – a Region VI Championship and a NJCAA National Tournament appearance.
Butler is currently 29-3 overall and finished with a program-best 14 conference wins while winning the Jayhawk West title. The Grizzlies, who received one of four at-large bids to the NJCAA National Tournament and is seeded No. 14, open tourney play on Tuesday at 10 a.m. against No. 19 Georgia Highlands (27-6), the District XIII and Region 17 Champion.