For the second straight year, Austin Peay’s Terry Taylor and Belmont’s Grayson Murphy were named the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, respectively.
Not quite replicating their 21-12 record from a season ago, it’s hard to imagine where the 14-12 Governors would be this year without Taylor. He averaged 21.7 points — sixth-best nationally — 11 rebounds and 37.1 minutes per game in 2021, leading the OVC in all three categories.
A senior, Taylor also leads the NCAA in double-doubles (19) and made field goals (220), and ranks second in the OVC in total rebounds (285), third in free throw percentage (80.2) and 11th in field goal shooting (52.3 percent).
He is the second Govs player to win multiple OVC Player of the Year awards and the 15th player in OVC history to win back-to-back Player of the Year awards. Taylor is also the third player in OVC history to be named to the All-OVC first team four consecutive times.
Murphy was an integral part in Belmont’s 24-3 season that included a seventh OVC regular season championship. The Franklin native and Independence High School alum averaged 10.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.1 steals per game. He ranked first in the OVC in defensive rebounds (6.5 per game) and was fifth in total rebounding. Murphy led all guards in rebounding for a second straight year.
The 6-foot-2 junior guard ranked ninth in the country with 53 steals and is just 19 away from moving into the OVC’s all-time top 10 in the category. Murphy is the only player in the NCAA to record at least 900 points, 550 rebounds, 550 assists and 150 career steals, and he’s on pace to become the OVC’s career leader in assists and steals.
Murphy is just the fourth player in OVC history to win multiple Defensive Player of the Year awards.
"Grayson is such a difference maker for us on the defensive end," Belmont coach Casey Alexander said in a release. "His ability to rebound, defend one on one, play off the ball and make the big play when we need it most is truly amazing. Our team feeds off of his energy, determination and leadership."
Tennessee State’s Mark Freeman were named to the All-OVC second team, while Belmont’s Luke Smith was named to the OVC All-Freshman team.
Belmont was also well-represented with the women’s All-OVC honors as Destinee Wells was named to the All-OVC first team and was tabbed as the OVC Freshman of the Year.
She is the second Belmont player to win the award, joining Darby Maggard who won it in 2015. Wells led all freshmen with 16.8 points per game — which ranked fourth in the OVC — and was second in the conference with 4.5 assists per game.
All-OVC men’s first team:
Terry Taylor, Austin Peay
Grayson Murphy, Belmont
Nick Muszynski, Belmont
K.J. Williams, Murray State
Tevin Brown, Murray State
Johni Broome, Morehead State
Trey King, Eastern Kentucky
Wendell Green Jr., Eastern Kentucky
Darian Adams, Jacksonville State
Marvin Johnson, Eastern Illinois
All-OVC women’s first team:
Chelsey Perry, UT-Martin
Dasia Young, UT-Martin
Destinee Wells, Belmont
Conley Chinn, Belmont
LaTrese Saine, SEMO
Tesia Thompson, SEMO
Macey Turley, Murray State
Katelyn Young, Murray State
Abby Wahl, Eastern Illinois
Yamia Johnson, Jacksonville State
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