CALGARY, Alta. — The 2016-17 season may be all but a distant memory for most fans across the country, but there was still plenty to be excited about for fans of both the North Dakota Fighting Hawks and the Wright State Raiders.
The third annual College Court Report Player of the Year Fan Vote was in its final week, as the initial field of 96 players had been cut down to just two. Quinton Hooker was matched up with Mark Alstork in the finale, capping off a seven-week journey to name the Player of the Year.
Last year, Hooker was named the CCR Player of the Year, knocking off Damon Lynn in the final round. This time around, fans of North Dakota had a heavy presence on social media, as well as the online polls. As the weeks have gone on, the support system behind Hooker had picked up steam, and he was looking to build on that in the final week.
On the flip side, a heavy dose of social media votes over the first six weeks propelled Alstork into the finals. After a tough battle with guard DeWayne Russell in the semi-finals, Alstork was looking to knock off the reigning Player of the Year.
Both players saw an out-pouring of support over the past seven days across all three voting platforms, but only one could come out on top.
After seven weeks, and over 190,000 votes, the 2016-17 College Court Report Player of the Year is……
……from the North Dakota Fighting Hawks, QUINTON HOOKER!
From the start of the week, Hooker took a big lead in terms of the online polls. Alstork held an advantage in terms of both Facebook and Twitter votes, but that wasn’t enough to eclipse the advantage that Hooker held in the online polls.
Hooker won the Player of the Year award over Alstork by a final margin of 69.36% – 30.64%.
Just like last season, Hooker had the support of the entire department of athletics at North Dakota, along with his friends and family. They propelled him past a slew of talented players each week, pushing him into the finals against Alstork.
Hooker used a strong first few days, in terms of online polls, to open up a sizable lead. He never looked back. While it looked like Alstork would make a comeback, much like the week before against Russell, the tireless efforts of his friends and family fell short in the end.
As a senior, Hooker helped to lead the Fighting Hawks to their first-ever NCAA Tournament berth, securing both the Big Sky regular season and tournament titles. Following their loss to the Arizona Wildcats in the Round of 64, North Dakota finished the year with a 22-10 record overall.
Hooker appeared in all 32 games this season, averaging a team-best 19.3 points per contest. He also averaged 4.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.8 steals per game, while shooting 46.8% from the field and 86.5% from the free throw line.
Following his four-year career with North Dakota, the native of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota will go down as arguably the best player to ever don a jersey for the Fighting Hawks. The 6’0” guard has been a star for the past three seasons in the Big Sky, and has helped take the program to new heights.
Here are Quinton Hooker’s round-by-round results:
First Round: BYE
Second Round: def. Jordon Varnado (TROY), 70.77% – 29.23%
Round of 32: def. Dallas Moore (UNF), 71.96% – 28.04%
Sweet 16: def. Joe Cremo (ALB), 73.24% – 26.76%
Elite Eight: def. Trayvon Palmer (CHS), 72.16% – 27.84%
Final Four: def. Rashawn Thomas (AMCC), 61.87% – 38.13%
Finals: def. Mark Alstork (WRST), 69.36% – 30.64%
– T. Bennett