Senior forward Mason Peatling has been named Big Sky Conference Most Valuable Player, just days after helping Eastern Washington lock up the outright conference championship on senior night.
The former Dandenong Rangers junior has enjoyed an outstanding season, becoming the first Big Sky player in three seasons to average a double-double in conference play with 18.5 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. Demonstrating his versatility, he was also sixth with 3.8 assists per game while ranking third with 1.7 blocks and a 56.3 shooting percentage as he was also named a unanimous All-Big Sky First Team player.
Peatling was the most dominant player throughout conference play, collecting four conference player of the week awards before being selected as the Most Valuable Player by the league's 11 head coaches. In doing so, he is just the fifth Eagle to win the award in their league history. It comes after he was named to the second team last season and after earning honorable mention as a sophomore.
The Victorian is also excelling off the court too, this week being named first team Academic All-America selection by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), boasting a perfect 4.0 grade average while studying for a graduate degree in business administration.
"Mason is as deserving of the MVP as any player I've ever been around," said Eastern head coach Shantay Legans. "I'm so thrilled he is getting recognized for all the hard work he's put in over his years at Eastern."
Not only did Peatling dominate conference play in which the Eagles amassed a 16-4 record, but he also impressed during the non-conference schedule. The 6'8 forward broke the school's scoring record in scorching the net for 54 points on 24 of 30 shooting with 13 rebounds in playing just 24 minutes back in December against NAIA school Multnomah.
As the only player to average a double-double in conference play, Peatling was also the only one to rank top 10 in scoring, rebounding, assists, blocked shots and field goal percentage, and he ranked in the top six in each such is his versatility.
"Those who have followed the team know just how much he's improved year after year, which is a product of his tireless work ethic," added Legans. "He's as good a person and teammate as he is a ball player, and there's no one that embodies the Eagle culture more than him."
The Eagles will now turn their attention to the Big Sky Conference Tournament where they will aim to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015. That side was led by fellow Dandenong product Venky Jois, and Peatling will be looking to end his college career with a trip to the big dance. Jack Perry and Tyler Robertson are the other two Australians on the team who will be keen to advance also.
Eastern Washington's first game of the Big Sky Conference tournament is against the winner of Weber State or Sacramento State on Friday Australian time.
We are expanding! Next season we are looking to expand our Australian NCAA coverage to beyond Division I and we need your help. Let us know of anyone playing NCAA Division I, II, III, NAIA or Junior College by clicking here and filling out the form.