ST. LOUIS - Clayton Custer (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley Northwest/Iowa State) and Ben Richardson (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley Northwest) have been named to the 2017 Missouri Valley Conference Men’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete First Team it was announced today. Loyola is the only school with two representatives on the first team.
Custer enters this weekend’s MVC Tournament averaging 11.6 points, 2.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.0 steals per game and ranks eighth in the league in three-point field goal percentage (.421). In his first season of eligibility at Loyola after transferring from Iowa State, the 6-foot-1 guard has scored in double figures on 22 occasions and is coming off of a 21-point effort at Southern Illinois on February 25.
Off the court, Custer was a three-time MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week selection and the finance major sports a 3.59 grade-point average.
Richardson, who has been a teammate of Custer’s dating back to their grade school days, had his best season as a Rambler in 2016-17, averaging 8.0 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 3.0 apg and 1.3 spg, while compiling a 2.5 assist-to-turnover ratio. Arguably of the top perimeter defenders in the Valley, the 6-foot-3 guard also scored in double figures 11 times this year, including a career-best 22-point performance at Drake on December 29.
In the classroom, Richardson, who also majors in finance, carries a 3.46 GPA. He was named MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week on January 10.
They are joined on the first team by David Howard (Evansville), Austin Ruder (Missouri State) and Reed Timmer (Drake). Timmer was tabbed MVC Men’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
The criteria for the Missouri Valley Conference’s Scholar-Athlete Team voting parallels the CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) standards for Academic All-America voting. Nominees must be starters or important reserves with least a 3.20 cumulative grade-point average (4.0 scale). Student-athletes must have reached sophomore athletic and academic standing at their institution (true freshmen and redshirt freshmen are not eligible) and must have completed at least one full academic year at their institution. He must have played in 75 percent of his team’s games. Voting for the teams is conducted by the league’s sports information directors.
2017 MVC Scholar-Athlete First Team
Clayton Custer, Loyola, 3.59, Finance
David Howard, Evansville, 3.56, Accounting
Ben Richardson, Loyola, 3.46, Finance
Austin Ruder, Missouri State, 3.43, Accounting
Reed Timmer, Drake, 3.48, Pharmacy
2017 MVC Scholar-Athlete Second Team
Ted Friedman, UNI, 3.96, Economics
Nick McGlynn, Drake, 3.57, Digital Media Production
Donte Thomas, Bradley, 3.21, Social Work
Luke van Bree, Bradley, 3.68, International Studies
Graham Woodward, Drake, 3.34, Marketing
2017 MVC Scholar-Athlete Honorable Mentions
Tyler McCullough, Missouri State, 3.45, Finance
C.J. Rivers, Drake, 3.32, Journalism