York College’s Thadd Varmall and Midland University’s James Parrott headline one of the strongest All-Nebraska NAIA squads ever.
All five on the men’s first team were NAIA Division II All-Americans.
Varmall and Parrott were first-team All-Americans, Brady Lollman of Hastings was a third-team selection and Nick Reed of Doane and Jamil Goodwin of Bellevue were honorable mention.
“Those five players are really, really good,’’ Midland coach Todd Eisner said.
Concordia University’s Kristen Conahan, another first-team All-American, leads the women’s team. Teammate Katie Rich and the College of St. Mary’s Karyn Bixler were honorable mention All-Americans as was Peru State’s Courtney Ward at the Division I level. Nebraska Wesleyan’s Mallory Shanahan was a first-team selection in the Great Plains Athletic Conference.
Varmall, a senior guard, averaged 19.9 points and 7.9 rebounds in leading the Panthers to a 24-9 record and spot in the sweet 16 at nationals.
“He’s the leader of our team on and off the court,’’ coach Delton Deal said. “He’s a hard worker and leads by example.’’
Deal said Varmall could do anything. He shot 36.6 from 3-point range, shot 81 percent at the line and made 51 percent of his shots from the field.
He had some huge games, scoring 49 points against Central Baptist, 37 against Kansas Wesleyan and 34 against Tabor. He had 19 rebounds against Mount Marty and 17 against Southwestern Christian.
After struggling as a rookie, Varmall kept improving until breaking out during conference play last season. He was named the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference player of the year this season.
“He’s a good all-around player,’’ Deal said. “He’s in the gym as much as anybody on our team if not more.’’
Parrott, a transfer from Bellevue University, was part of a historic season for the 21-13 Warriors. The 6-2 wing player from Omaha Bryan averaged 19.1 points and 5.6 rebounds in leading Midland to its first victory at the national tournament, its first Elite Eight berth, its first time in the national poll and a school record 21 wins. He ranked eighth nationally with 2.265 blocks per game.
“There were a lot of firsts that were done here and James was a really important part of that,’’ Eisner said.
Parrott pushed his game into another gear in the last month of the season and at nationals. He was long and a good leaper, and an unbelievable finisher, Eisner said.
He had five dunks on senior night against Briar Cliff.
“When he was able to get a free look at the rim, there was going to be some exciting things that were going to happen for us,’’ Eisner said.
Conahan also was a scorer for the Bulldogs (25-7).
She averaged 15.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists for Concordia, which was ranked No. 1 before injuries took their toll in the second half of the season and at nationals, where the Bulldogs were upset in the first round.
She ranked sixth nationally in steals (3.25), seventh in 3-point field goals (92) and total steals (104), eighth in 3-pointers per game (2.88) and 25th in total scoring (505).
“She’s lightning quick, she’s a pure scorer and she’s really worked on being able to penetrate more,’’ coach Drew Olson said. “She shoots a ton of 3s and people just took her as a shooter. This year, she did a lot more in the lane and coming off the ball screen.’’
As well as becoming more of a vocal leader, Conahan made the big plays in the big games, including wins over Morningside, Briar Cliff and Northwestern.
She has 1,374 career points and Olson said 2,000 is within her reach.
Contact the writer: