OMAHA, Neb. — Three Omaha men’s basketball players were honored with postseason accolades as the 2020 All-Summit awards were announced by the Summit League office on Thursday. Matt Pile was voted Summit League Defensive Player of the Year, Marlon Ruffin was tabbed Summit League Sixth Man of the Year, and Pile and KJ Robinson earned All-Summit Honorable Mention.
Pile, a native of Wichita, Kan., is Omaha’s third Defensive Player of the Year, as he joins two-time honoree Tra-Deon Hollins (2016, 2017). Now a two-time honorable mention pick, Pile has averaged 11.9 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game while shooting 57.8% during the regular season in his junior campaign. Pile has scored in double figures 19 times and has a team-leading 11 double-doubles.
Pile was named Summit League Player of the Week on Dec. 30, and he leads the Summit League in total rebounds (300), offensive rebounds (90), defensive rebounds (210) and blocks (47) and is second for rebounds per game (9.7) and fifth for field goal percentage (57.8%).
“I’m very happy for Matt, as he’s earned the distinction of Defensive Player of the Year in the Summit League,” head coach Derrin Hansen said. “He’s a superior post defender, can block shots and rebound. Matt’s taken a big step this year, not only in terms of his physical ability, but also in his voice behind the defense to help everyone on our team.”
Ruffin is Omaha’s first Sixth Man of the Year award winner. The sophomore from Madison, Wis., has averaged 8.8 points and 3.3 rebounds per game off the bench, including 12.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game in league play. Ruffin had 12 double-figure scoring performances in 16 league games.
“Marlon is very deserving of this year’s Sixth Man award,” Hansen said. “His improvement from the non-conference to league play is evident, as his production and time have both increased. Marlon has always provided a spark off the bench for our team and given us a dose of energy when he enters the game. The more comfortable he’s become, the better he’s played, and that’s helped us considerably down the stretch.”
Robinson, a native of Blue Springs, Mo., had an outstanding senior season, averaging a team-leading 15.3 points per game with 2.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists per contest. He scored in double figures 25 times and finished the regular season on a 14-game double-figure scoring streak.
The 41st 1,000-point scorer in program history, Robinson joined the exclusive group Feb. 8 at South Dakota State. He ranks second in the league for free throw percentage (86.7%), fourth for 3-point percentage (42.0%) and sixth for 3-pointers made (63) this season.
“We’re really pleased for KJ to earn his first award to complete his career,” Hansen said. “Not only has he had a strong senior season and led our team, but he’s hit big shots in big situations. KJ has improved every year in a Maverick uniform, and he’s had a tremendous four-year career here at Omaha.”
Since Omaha joined the Summit League in 2012-13, a total of 13 Mavericks have combined for 16 All-Summit awards.
Omaha heads to the Summit League Men’s Basketball Championship this weekend as the tournament’s No. 5 seed. The Mavericks face No. 4 seed Oral Roberts on Sunday, March 8 in the quarterfinals at 6 p.m. at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, S.D.