Kansas City, MO – Small College Basketball and the National Awards Committee are pleased to announce the Bevo Francis Top 25 Watch List for the 2022-23 season. The Top 25 Watch List consists of some of the top players from the NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III, NAIA, USCAA and NCCAA. Sunshine State Conference and D2CCA Player of The Year, RJ Sunahara has led No. 1 Nova Southeastern back to the NCAA Elite Eight and to a 33-0 record on the 2022-23 season.
John McCarthy has this to say about this year’s Top 25 Watch List: “Congratulations to the 25 players selected for the Bevo Francis Award Watch List,” stated McCarthy. “There are approximately 13,000-16,000 players that play college basketball at the small college levels, and to be among the 25 players on this list, is obviously a very high honor. Based on our selection criteria, each of these players has earned their spot on this list, and they have had – or are still having – a phenomenal season. I am very grateful for the time and insight from our committee.”
Sunahara and the Sharks have dominated during the 2022-23 campaign, with an average margin of victory of 27.3, which has increased during the NCAA Tournament. RJ has averaged 18.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, leads NSU in blocks (51), while shooting 60% from the field. The junior earned five weekly Sunshine State Conference Player/Defensive Player of the Week honors this season.
Sunahara recorded two double-doubles – his first coming on November 26, where he scored 27 points and grabbing 11 rebounds against Francis Marion and recorded 19 points and a season-best 14 rebounds on December 10 in a Sunshine State Conference matchup versus Palm Beach Atlantic. Sunahara scored over 30-points three times during the 2022-23 season, including a career-high 41 against Bluefield State on December 19.
The Clarence “Bevo” Francis Award is presented annually to the player who has had the finest overall season within Small College Basketball. Considerations will be season statistics and individual achievements, awards, personal character and team achievements. This is an incredibly prestigious award, as this award will only be given to one player within Small College Basketball per season. 2023 marks the seventh year of the Bevo Francis Award.
Past winners include Dominez Burnett of Davenport University in 2016, Justin Pitts of Northwest Missouri State University in 2017, Emanuel Terry of Lincoln Memorial University in 2018, Aston Francis of Wheaton College in 2019, Kyle Mangas of Indiana Wesleyan University in 2020 and Trevor Hudgins of Northwest Missouri State University in 2022. The award was not presented during the 2021 season. On April 1st, the finalists of this year’s award will be announced, followed by the Bevo Francis Award winner being crowned on April 3rd
2022-23 Bevo Francis Award Top 25 Watch List
Kaden Anderson 6’8″ Sr. Point Loma Nazarene
Diego Bernard 6’0″ Sr. NW MO State
Jalen Brooks 6’5″ Sr. LSU-Shreveport
Bryce Butler 6’5″ Jr. West Liberty
Frank Champion 6’7″ So. North Georgia
Cevin Clark 5’11” Jr. Southwestern (KS)
Tyshaun Crawford 7’1″ Sr. Augusta
Tyson Cruickshank 5’11” Sr. Wheaton (IL)
Zach Goodline 6’1″ Sr. Huntington
Jeff Hunter 6’7″ Sr. Keene State
Josiah Johnson 6’1″ Sr. Mary Hardin Baylor
KJ Jones 6’6″ Jr. Emmanuel (GA)
Brandon Knapper 6’0″ Sr. Cal State San Bernardino
Akuel Kot 6’2″ Jr. Fort Lewis
Zach Laput 6’4″ Jr. Bentley
Jaden Lietzke 6’7″ Jr. Oklahoma Wesleyan
Miles Mallory 6’5″ Jr. Randolph-Macon
Sam Masten 6’2″ Sr. Northern State
Riley Minix 6’7″ Sr. Southeastern (FL)
Christian Parker 6’6″ Jr. Mount Union
Joel Scott 6’7″ Sr. Black Hills State
Matt Simpson 6’1″ Sr. Florida College
Alex Sobel 6’8″ Sr. Middlebury
RJ Sunahara 6’8″ Jr. Nova Southeastern
Mason Walters 6’9″ Sr. Jamestown