Jimmies' DeMars, Walters named GPAC hoops Players of the Year

The eight players honored have scored a combined 3,143 points this season.

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University of Jamestown's Mason Walters (33) pulls down a rebound over Dordt's Lucas Lorenzen during the GPAC Championship on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023, at Newman Arena.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

JAMESTOWN — After a season that saw the University of Jamestown basketball teams both finish in the top three of the GPAC for the first time since joining the conference, the teams have combined to have both players of the year and multiple other honors.

The Jimmies’ Mason Walters was named the GPAC men’s player of the year thanks to a season in which he averaged 26.3 points per game, 9.6 rebounds per game, 100 total assists, 59 total blocks and 22 total steals. Walters also became the Jimmies' all-time leading scorer on Nov. 3. The Jimmies’ senior has now won the GPAC Player of the Year for the third year in a row. Walters was also named to the GPAC All-Conference first team for the third consecutive season.

The Jimmies’ Hannah DeMars was honored as the GPAC women’s player of the year as she averaged 17.9 points per game, 9.9 rebounds per game, 76 total assists and 42 total steals. DeMars is the Jimmies' first conference player of the year since Brynn Woodside won the North Star Athletic Association player of the year for the 2017-18 season. DeMars was also named to the All-Conference first team for the third consecutive year.

"Our team is finishing a great year," Demars said. "We worked hard to make the national tournament and it's nice to be able to share this with my teammates."

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The Jimmies' bench celebrates a three-point basket made against the College of St. Mary's on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023, at the Newman.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

DeMars and Walters are not the Jimmies to be honored with GPAC individual awards as women’s basketball head coach Thad Sankey was named co-coach of the year alongside Dordt University’s Bill Harmsen. This season, Sankey has led the Jimmies to a 21-8 overall record and a 16-4 record in the GPAC, good for third in the conference. Sankey helped push the Jimmies back into the top 25 at No. 19. This season, the Jimmies also went on an eight-game winning streak from Jan. 14 through Feb. 10.


“It’s a really nice recognition I guess,” Sankey said. “Coaching awards usually come with team success and that means you have players who have fantastic seasons on your team as well. God’s just entrusted me to be the coach of this team and my goal is to do the best that I can. We have an incredible group of women and it’s been a lot of fun.”

The Jimmies’ Kia Tower joins DeMars as an All-Conference first-team selection, for the second time in her career. This season, Tower has averaged 13.6 points per game, 3.1 rebounds per game, 50 total steals and 85 total assists. Tower also scored her 1,000th point on Nov. 16.

The Jimmies men’s team had three other players honored as Cole Woodford and Will Cordes were both named to the All-Conference second team and Marc Kjos was named an honorable mention. This season, Woodford averaged 12.8 points per game, 1.8 rebounds per game, 69 total assists and 55 total steals. This is Woodford’s first ever time on one of the two GPAC All-Conference teams after being an honorable mention last year. During his junior season, Cordes has averaged 12.8 points per game, 2.1 rebounds per game, 60 assists, and 12 steals. Cordes also joined the 1,000-point scorers on the roster with his 1,000th career point on Feb. 4.

During his senior season, Kjos averaged 8.9 points per game, 3.5 rebounds per game, 128 total assists, and 39 steals. Kjos joined Walters and Cordes in the 1,000-point club with his coming on Jan. 11, which made him the first player in program history to have 1,000 career points and 400 career assists.

The Jimmies women’s squad had two players be named All-Conference Honorable Mention, Audrey Rodakowski and Kate Busek. This campaign, Rodakowski averaged 8.6 points per game, four rebounds per game, 28 total blocks, 16 total steals and 26 total assists. This season, Busek averaged 5.9 points per game, 4.8 rebounds per game, 65 total assists, 28 total steals, and 10 blocks.

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University of Jamestown's Kate Busek (12) looks past Kaela Martinez (3) of Mount Marty on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, at Harold Newman Arena.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

My name is Max O'Neill. I am a Sports Reporter at The Jamestown Sun. I am a native New Yorker, who graduated from Ithaca College in 2020 with a degree in Television-Radio.
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