Greene and Ford honored by MAC

Photo by Coty Giannelli.

Photo by Coty Giannelli.

Cody Erbacher

After winning its second-straight Mid-American Conference regular season championship, the Kent State men’s basketball team earned additional honors.

On Monday, junior forward Justin Greene was named MAC Player of the Year, and Kent State coach Geno Ford was named MAC Coach of the Year.

“The bottom line is we won the league, and that’s why you get those awards,” Ford said. “The players have done a great job this year. We’ve never had new guys come in and be this effective.”

Greene, who led the Flashes in the post this season, is the third player in school history to be named Player of the Year. The previous two were Al Fisher (2008) and DeAndre Haynes (2006).

“I had a feeling that I might win it, but I didn’t know for sure,” Greene said. “There were a lot of players in the MAC this year that were playing really well.”

Not only did Greene post good numbers, he was crucial to the team’s success.

Each time Greene scored at least 20 points, Kent State won; that happened seven times.

Greene, a proud owner of six MAC East Player of the Week Awards this season, was the only MAC player to rank in the top 10 in points (14.9 per game), rebounds (8.4 points per game) and blocked shots (1.4 per game).

“Justin was very deserving,” Ford said. “He’s had a very good year, and he’s an established player that people know. This year Justin has learned how to play with some good players.”

In the regular season finale against Akron, Greene became just the fifth player in Kent State history to reach the 1,000-point mark in his junior season.

In the 79-68 win against Akron, Kent State (21-10, 12-4 MAC) clinched its second-straight regular season championship.

Ford was the fifth coach in MAC history to achieve back-to-back titles.

“Whoever wins the league usually gets the coach of the year,” Ford said. “If these guys don’t play well, coaches don’t get the awards.”

Although the players were the faces of Kent State’s second 20-plus win season under the direction of the third-year head coach, Ford had to take 10 new players at the beginning of the season and turn them into a cohesive unit.

And it didn’t come easy.

The Flashes only had three players returning from last season’s championship squad, but Ford coached through the inexperienced roster helping form the 2011 MAC regular season champions.

Contact Cody Erbacher at [email protected].