Release  Horizon League ·

March 2, 2009

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INDIANAPOLIS --- Butler University sophomore forward Matt Howard was named Player of the Year to highlight the Horizon League's men's basketball 2008-09 All-League Teams and specialty award winners, which were announced Monday (March 2) by the League office.

Butler freshman guard/forward Gordon Hayward was voted Newcomer of the Year and Brad Stevens was named Coach of the Year as the #24/23 Bulldogs won their third consecutive regular-season title (25-4, 15-3 Horizon League) despite losing five of their top seven scorers from last year's League championship team.

Cleveland State University senior guard Cedric Jackson earned the Defensive Player of the Year award, while University of Wisconsin-Green Bay senior guard Ryan Tillema was selected Sixth Man of the Year.

Howard, Hayward and Tillema were joined on the All-League First Team by Cleveland State senior J'Nathan Bullock and University of Illinois at Chicago senior Josh Mayo.

The All-League Second Team featureed Jackson, along with Wright State University junior Todd Brown, Green Bay sophomore Rahmon Fletcher, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee junior Tone Boyle and Valparaiso University senior Urule Igbavboa.

The player, coach and newcomer of the year awards as well as the All-League and All-Newcomer Teams were voted on by the League's head coaches, sports information directors and selected media members.

Joining Jackson on the All-Defensive Team were Green Bay senior Terry Evans, UIC senior Scott VanderMeer, Howard and Wright State senior Will Graham. Evans was selected the League's inaugural Defensive Player of the Year last season. The defensive awards and Sixth Man of the Year were voted upon only by the League's 10 head coaches.

Howard is the third Butler player in the last four seasons to be named the Horizon League's Player of the Year, following Brandon Polk (2005-06) and Mike Green (2007-08). A native of Connersville, Ind., Howard ranks fourth in the League in scoring (14.3 ppg) and third in rebounding (6.9 rpg) and leads the circuit with a 55.2 field-goal percentage. He is the first non-senior to be selected Player of the Year since Rashad Phillips of the University of Detroit Mercy won his first of two awards as a junior in 1999-2000 and the first sophomore to be so honored since Parrish Casebier of the University of Evansville in 1991-92.

Hayward is the third Butler player in a row to garner Newcomer of the Year accolades, succeeding Howard and Green. A Brownsburg, Ind., native, Hayward paces all League newcomers with 13.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per game to rank among the top six in the conference in both categories. He is the first freshman to earn a spot on the All-League First Team since T.J. Lux of Northern Illinois University in 1995-96.

After winning the Horizon League championship a year ago with a senior-dominated team, Stevens directed this year's Butler squad to the top spot with no seniors and only two juniors on the roster and three true freshmen in the starting lineup. He owns an overall record of 55-8 and a League record of 31-5 in two seasons at Butler.

Jackson led the League in steals for the second consecutive season with 3.0 per game and also averaged 5.5 rebounds per contest. The Columbus, N.J., native helped Cleveland State rally for a third-place tie in the regular-season standings at 12-6 after starting the conference schedule with a 4-5 mark.

After missing the season's first seven games, Tillema adapted to a new role off the bench as a senior and flourished, averaging 17.4 points per game to top the current League statistics and lead Green Bay to a second-place regular-season finish. A native of Randolph, Wis., he also leads the conference with 2.9 three-pointers per game.

The 2009 Speedway Horizon League Men's Basketball Championship begins Tuesday with first-round games at campus sites. Action then moves to Indianapolis and historic Hinkle Fieldhouse on the Butler campus for a second-round doubleheader on Friday and the semifinals on Saturday. Friday's games will be available live on the Horizon League Network (www.horizonleaguenetwork.tv) at 6 and 8 p.m. ET, with Saturday's contests live on ESPNU at 7 and 9 p.m.

The higher-remaining seed after the semifinals earns the right to host the championship game March 10 at 9 p.m. on ESPN. The Horizon League champion receives an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament, where League teams have advanced to the Regional semifinals three times in the past six seasons.

Comprised of 10 public and private institutions of higher learning, the Horizon League is an NCAA Division I athletics conference that sponsors 19 intercollegiate championships and is headquartered in Indianapolis. The League and its member institutions aspire to teach young people, through athletic competition, the value of learning, service to others and personal responsibility.

2008-09 Horizon League Men's Basketball All-League Teams and Specialty Award Winners

All-League First TeamMatt Howard^ButlerSo.F6-8 / 230Connersville, Ind.14.3 ppg6.9 rpg55.2 fg%J'Nathan Bullock#Cleveland StateSr.F6-5 / 240Flint, Mich.15.6 ppg6.8 rpg1.5 apgRyan TillemaGreen BaySr.G6-8 / 220Randolph, Wis.16.9 ppg4.4 rpg2.7 3fg/gmGordon HaywardButlerFr.G/F6-8 / 200Brownsburg, Ind.13.8 ppg6.3 rpg45.4 3fg%Josh Mayo#UICSr.G5-11 / 175Merrillville, Ind.16.9 ppg3.4 apg2.5 3fg/gmAll-League Second TeamCedric Jackson^Cleveland StateSr.G6-3 / 190Columbus, N.J.9.9 ppg5.5 rpg5.5 apgTodd BrownWright StateJr.G6-5 / 205Canton, Ohio11.8 ppg5.0 rpg40.3 3fg%Rahmon FletcherGreen BaySo.G5-10 / 165Kansas City, Mo.10.7 ppg4.1 apg1.9 spgTone BoyleMilwaukeeJr.G6-2 / 175Middleton, Wis.13.5 ppg3.3 rpg2.2 3fg/gmUrule IgbavboaValparaisoSr.F6-8 / 230Oakdale, Minn.12.1 ppg5.9 rpg2.5 apgAll-Newcomer TeamGordon HaywardButlerFr.G/F6-8 / 200Brownsburg, Ind.13.8 ppg6.3 rpg45.4 3fg%Shelvin MackButlerFr.G6-3 / 214Lexington, Ky.11.7 ppg4.1 rpg3.6 apgTone BoyleMilwaukeeJr.G6-2 / 175Middleton, Wis.13.5 ppg3.3 rpg2.2 3fg/gmJames EayrsMilwaukeeJr.F6-7 / 340Roseville, Minn.11.2 ppg5.5 rpg84.1 ft%DeAndre MaysYoungstown StateJr.G6-2 / 185Dallas, Texas10.9 ppg5.9 rpg2.5 apgAll-Defensive TeamCedric Jackson$Cleveland StateSr.G6-3 / 190Columbus, N.J.5.5 rpg3.0 spgTerry Evans$%+Green BaySr.F6-5 / 195St. Louis, Mo.5.2 rpg2.2 spgScott VanderMeer$%UICSr.C7-0 / 255Dyer, Ind.8.9 rpg2.6 bpgMatt HowardButlerSo.F6-8 / 230Connersville, Ind.6.9 rpg1.6 bpgWill GrahamWright StateSr.G6-2 / 185Lexington, Ky.3.1 rpg0.9 spg# All-League First Team in 2007-08 / ^ All-League Second Team in 2007-08$ All-Defensive Team in 2007-08 / % All-Defensive Team in 2006-07 / + All-Defensive Team in 2005-06Player of the Year -- Matt Howard, ButlerNewcomer of the Year -- Gordon Hayward, ButlerDefensive Player of the Year -- Cedric Jackson, Cleveland StateSixth Man of the Year -- Ryan Tillema, Green BayCoach of the Year -- Brad Stevens, ButlerNote:  All-League and All-Newcomer awards are voted upon by Horizon League head coaches and sports information directors plus selected media; the All-Defensive awards and Sxith Man of the Year are seleced by head coaches only.

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