MVP! Bailey named top men's basketball player in the NAC
March 4, 2009
Dave Beyer, Sports Information Director
Just a little over a week after leading Benedictine University to the Northern Athletics Conference (NAC) South Division championships and the No. 1 seed in the league’s postseason tournament, senior guard Jared Bailey (Argo, Ill./Argo Community H.S.) has been selected as the NAC’s 2008-09 “Player of the Year” for men’s basketball. It marked the second consecutive season that Bailey has been a first team All-NAC selection, as well.
Sophomore guard/forward Cameron Snelling (South Holland, Ill./Thornwood H.S.) received recognition on the NAC’s honorable mention list, while senior guard Travis Wilson (Forest Park, Ill./St. Joseph H.S.) was tabbed on the league’s inaugural All-Sportsmanship Team. Nate Green (Chicago, Ill./Thornwood H.S.) was named to the “All-Freshman Team” (true freshmen only).
Bailey had an amazingly-productive, all-around season in leading the Eagles (19-8) to their first league title since winning the championship of the now-defunct Northern Illinois-Iowa Conference in 2000-01. Bailey’s season averages included 17.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.0 steals per game. The 6’2” shooting guard, who is a business major, also posted quality shooting percentages from the field (.475), from the three-point area (.373) and from the free throw stripe (.853).
Bailey also ranked among the NAC leaders in most every statistical category. He was fifth in scoring, fourth in assists per game, fourth in free throw percentage, sixth in assist-turnover ratio, ninth in minutes played per game, 15th in both three-point field goal percentage and made per game, as well as 19th in rebounds per game.
Bailey was the model of consistency throughout the season, producing double digit scoring in 22 of the 25 contests in which he played. He was BU’s top scorer in 14 games and twice earned the NAC’s award as “Student-Athlete of the Week.”
“Jared had one of those years that is just hard to believe when you look at his entire body of work,” said Benedictine head coach Keith Bunkenburg. “In a year when there were many outstanding individual players in the NAC, I think Jared rose to the top, in the opinion of the coaches, because of his ability to always find a way to help our team.
“You might stop or slow down Jared’s scoring for a half – or even an entire game – but then he would grab a bunch of rebounds or give off more assists. Jared always seemed to make the opponent’s ‘pay’ somehow and someway, which I believe is the true mark of an ‘MVP’.
“It really says something to be named the top player in a 12-team conference and we are all very proud and happy for Jared.”
Bailey also reached his 1,000th career point on January 28 in the team’s win over then-first place Milwaukee School of Engineering. He finished his Benedictine career with 1,166 points, which ranks him 17th on the school’s all-time list.
Snelling’s second season with Benedictine saw the6’4” player emerge as one of the NAC’s top defensive players, averaging a team-leading 7.6 rebounds per game and also amassing 15 blocked shots. He scored at an average of 11.1 points per game (second to Bailey on the Eagles’ team), while shooting a team-leading 51 percent from the field overall.
Snelling was eighth in NAC rebounding and ranked 12th in field goal percentage.
Wilson closed out his Benedictine career by appearing in 24 games to gain recognition on the NAC’s All-Sportsmanship Team. Wilson fought injuries as a freshman and junior, averaging 4.0 points and 4.2 rebounds per game as a senior. He shot 44 percent from the field, 46 percent from beyond the arc and 83 percent from the charity line.
Green appeared in all 27 games for Benedictine and earned a starting spot by midseason. He averaged 5.7 points, 3.6 boards per game and blocked five shots at just 5’9”. He also averaged 2.2 assists per game and shot more than 42 percent from the field.
Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls nearly 10,000 students in 56 undergraduate and 19 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the sixth consecutive year in 2016. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org). For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, email@example.com or visit ben.edu.