Thursday, March 16, 2017
BALDWIN CITY, Kan. – Western Washington senior guard Taylor Stafford and Alaska Anchorage senior guard Suki Wiggs are among the 25 finalists for the 2017 Bevo Francis Award, which honors the top non-Division I men’s basketball player in the nation.
Named for former University of Rio Grande great Clarence “Bevo” Francis, the third annual award is sponsored by Small College Basketball and chose by a committee comprised mainly of coaches and sports information directors. The 2017 award winner will be announced on April 3.
Stafford, a senior transfer from the University of Evansville, led Western Washington to the GNAC championship and regular season title and the Vikings’ first appearance in the NCAA Division II West Regional in four years. He set a WWU single season record with 706 points and finished the season averaging 22.8 points per game, scoring 20 or more points in 20 of 31 games and 30 or more points in eight contests.
Stafford was named the GNAC Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year and was a D2CCA First Team All-West Region selection.
Wiggs, a transfer in 2015 from Division I Idaho, led the GNAC in scoring with an average of 24.4 points per game as he led the Seawolves to a 21-8 overall record and second place in the conference’s regular season standings. He led the team or ranked second as well with averages of 5.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Wiggs scored 30 or more points in six times, including a string of four straight games, and set the UAA single-game scoring record when he scored 46 points at Central Washington on Dec. 1.
The 2016 GNAC Newcomer of the Year, Wiggs was both a First Team All-GNAC selection and a D2CCA First Team All-West Region selection for the second consecutive year.
Stafford and Wiggs are among three Division II West Region players named to the finalist list. Cal Baptist’s Michael Smith, the D2CCA West Region Player of the Year, is also among the finalists.