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The All-Decade Team was compiled by staff from D3hoops.com All-American teams.
Guard Antoine McDaniel
Conference honors: 2002 player of the year
NCAA Tournament appearances: 2000 (second round), 2001 (Elite Eight), 2002 (Final Four)
What others say: “Antoine was one of the most unselfish great players that I have coached. He didn't care if he scored two or 22 as long as the Redmen won.”
Career synopsis: Smooth point guard Antoine McDaniel was not only the catalyst that made the great Carthage teams of the early part of the decade go, he was a big-time scorer in his own right. “McDaniel was the prototypical great Division III guard,” reflects Djurickovic. “He had the ability to be exceptional on or off the ball and was at his best in late game or late clock situations.” Known and feared throughout the CCIW as the best clutch shooter in the league, the 2002 winner of the CCIW Most Outstanding Player award finished his career in the top ten in most Carthage offensive categories, and in the top three in three-point field goals, three-point field goal percentage, free throw percentage, and assists. Djurickovic calls McDaniel “one of the best guards that I have seen in 39 years of playing and coaching Division III basketball.”
Guard Merrill Brunson
Conference honors: 1998 All-WIAC honorable mention, 1999 Player of the Year, 2000 First Team All-WIAC
NCAA Tournament appearances: 1997 (second round), 1998 (national champions), 1999 (national champion)
Other honors: 1999 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player, 2000 Jostens Finalist
What others say: “This is a tremendous honor for Merrill. In high school he played for a school (Richland Center) that was a rival to Platteville so he played against my sons a lot. He was a kid who played three sports, football, basketball and baseball, so I saw him develop over the years. He was a tremendous competitor and someone I definitely wanted in our program. Once he got to UW-Platteville that unbelievable competitive streak helped us win a lot of games and made him the player that he was.”
Career synopsis: While teams may flirt with perfection each season, none has accomplished the feat since Merrill Brunson and his teammates did it in 1997-98. The Pioneers went 30-0 with then-sophomore Brunson leading the team in scoring in the title game against Hope. Brunson was just getting started, averaging 18.8 points per game and shooting an unreal 52.4 percent from beyond the three-point line in another championship season. Brunson scored 20 points in the memorable double-overtime championship game against Hampden-Sydney and was named the Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. If that wasn’t enough, Brunson saved his encore for the baseball diamond. He suited up for UW-Platteville’s home opener just eight days after cutting down the nets and hit the first strike he saw for a home run to deep center. Brunson is a history teacher and varsity basketball coach at Platteville High School.
Forward Michael Nogelo
Conference honors: 1997 co-Player of the Year, 1998 Player of the Year
NCAA Tournament appearances: 1995 (Sweet 16), 1996 (Sweet 16), 1997 (Final Four), 1998 (Final Four)
Other honors: 1997 and 1998 All-Tournament Teams, 1998 Jostens Winner
Career synopsis: If the late-1990s were the NESCAC’s introduction as one of Division III’s top basketball conferences, Michael Nogelo was the master of ceremonies for the show. In his junior season Nogelo scored a school record 634 points and pushed the Ephs into the Final Four where he was named to the All-Tournament team. He followed that up with an equally impressive senior year, scoring 599 points, leading Williams to another Final Four and earning another All-Tournament selection. He started the 1998 tournament with an emphatic dunk off a missed shot against Trinity (Conn.) and scored 175 more points before he was done. The 177-point mark stands as a Division III record. In 1998 Nogelo also won the inaugural Jostens Trophy for his excellence on the court and off of it. Even though Nogelo only played one year in the designated D3hoops.com era, that season and his career were too special not to recognize here.
Forward Jason Kalsow
Conference honors: 2005 Player of the Year
NCAA Tournament appearances: 2004 (national champions), 2005 (national champions)
Other honors: 2004 All-Final Four Team, 2005 Final Four Most Outstanding Player
What others say: “Arguably he had one of the most noteworthy careers in the long and tradition-rich history of Stevens Point basketball. He’s the career leading scorer, leading rebounder and second in career assists, which tells you how complete a basketball player he was. He’s the most complete player I’ve ever coached, and on top of it, he had one of the most positive competitive attitudes I’ve ever been around. He hated to lose. He and the other leaders on those teams made it difficult for the others to not play their best. I’ve also seen those kind of players put too much pressure on themselves, but he had a great balance between forgiving himself for his mistakes and pushing himself to put better.”
Career synopsis: Kalsow started all 121 games of his four-year career and was the epitome of a complete player. He ended as UWSP's career leader in points and rebounds and he was No. 2 all-time in assists, a stat usually attributed to point guards. Bennett coined the term "point forward" to describe Kalsow and often compared him to Larry Bird. Early in his career, Kalsow utilized his size, strength and athleticism to punish his foes in the post, while later in his career, he developed an equally punishing outside game, shooting nearly 50% from beyond the three-point line as a senior. He always looked for the open player and got the ball to teammates at the most opportune time. And when he was called upon, Kalsow hit the "big shot," as he did to win the 2004 national title, though, through his play, the game was usually out of reach long before the final buzzer.
Center Jeff Gibbs, Otterbein, 1999-2002
Conference honors: 2000 Player of the Year, 2002 Player of the Year
NCAA Tournament appearances: 1999 (second round), 2002 (national champions)
Other honors: 2001 D3football.com All-American tight end, 2002 Final Four MVP
What others say: “He was respected by faculty, staff and students for his easy going, humble and friendly personality. He was a leader on and off the court. The work ethic that led to his and the teams’ success, set the example for all athletes.”
Career synopsis: Gibbs was the most unlikely big man to win a national title in the decade, if not the most unlikely big man on any team. That’s because the term “big” is used loosely. Gibbs was listed at 6-3 and certainly played like he was 6-7. But when he played tight end for the Otterbein football team, he was listed at 6-1, and that was far more accurate. Regardless, Gibbs’ athleticism and leaping ability let him make plays bigger men couldn’t. Over the course of his career he scored 1,924 points and had 1,496 rebounds, capping it with an incredible 25-point, 25-rebound performance in the national title game. He shot 63.8 percent from the floor for his career.
Rankings and links
to all D-III teams