Former Blue Valley Northwest basketball star Clayton Custer of Loyola Chicago has been chosen Larry Bird MVC Player of the Year, the Missouri Valley Conference announced on Tuesday.
Custer’s former Huskies teammate, Ben Richardson, won the Valley’s defensive MVP award.
Custer, a 6-1 guard who started his career at Iowa State before joining Richardson at Loyola, averaged 14.2 points, 4.2 assists and 1.7 steals while shooting 54.4 percent overall and 46.2 percent on three-pointers.
He missed five games this season after injuring an ankle in a victory at Florida but since returning the Ramblers are 14-1.
Loyola, 25-5, enters the Valley tournament in St. Louis this week as the No. 1 seed.
Richardson, a 6-3 senior, also missed time this year, 10 games because of a broken hand. But as the team’s top perimeter defender he helped Loyola become the league’s top defensive team. The Ramblers led the Valley, allowing 61.6 points per game.
Custer and Richardson helped Blue Valley Northwest to a 94-6 record and two Kansas 6A state titles during their four years.
Northwest Missouri’s Justin Pitts, formerly of Blue Springs South, is a back-to-back winner of the Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletics Association player of the year award after the defending NCAA Division II champion Bearcats won the regular-season conference title. Former KU guard Jeff Boschee, who led Missouri Southern to a second-place finish, won MIAA coach of the year.
Rockhurst guard Curtis Lewis, who played at Pembroke Hill, was chosen freshman of the year in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. He ranked second in the league in assists at 5.1 per game and 12th in scoring at 15.9.