CLEVELAND, OH – The Mid-American Conference announced their top individual honors on Wednesday morning and it was a clean sweep for Buffalo as senior CJ Massinburg was named the MAC Player of the Year and Nate Oats earned his second straight MAC Coach of the Year honor.
Massinburg becomes the fifth different Buffalo player in school history named the MAC Player of the Year. A two-time All-MAC First Team selection, Massinburg leads the Bulls in scoring this season at 18.5 points, while he is second on the squad in rebounding. He has scored in double figures in all, but one game this season, starting the year on a high note with a 43-point performance at West Virginia. Massinburg also had 25 points at the Carrier Dome against Syracuse and dropped 31 points in a nationally-televised win over Eastern Michigan.
Massinburg has been named the MAC East Player of the Week four times this year as he enters the conference tournament with 1,910 career points, the second highest in school history. Massinburg has also moved himself into the top 17 in the history of the league in career scoring.
"This is an extremely well deserved honor for CJ," said Oats. "He has been our most consistent player on a Top 25 teams all year. He does everything at a really high level, whether it is score the ball, rebound the ball, or defend. CJ is a high-character, humble kid that puts his teammates, his coaches, the managers, above himself, so he's the definition of servant leadership in my opinion and there is nobody more deserving of this award since I have been in the league. When you include what type of person he is, I couldn't be happier for him and for what he has meant to this program, this community, this city. He has meant a lot to this whole place and he is someone that will be impossible to replace."
Oats earns his second straight MAC Coach of the Year honor, just the sixth time dating back to 1970 that a MAC coach has won the award in back-to-back years. Oats has already been named a semifinalist for the Naismith National Coach of the Year and most recently was named a finalist for the Skip Prosser Award, which is presented annually to those who not only achieve success on the basketball court but who also display moral integrity off of it as well.
Oats has led Buffalo to its best season in school history as UB is set to begin Mid-American Conference Tournament play on Thursday. Buffalo has already set a program record for wins in a season with 28 and they set a record for MAC wins with 16. On Monday, the Bulls earned their 18th straight week in the national rankings as they are 18th in the latest AP Poll and 16th in the latest USA Today Coaches Poll.
"This honor to me is more of a staff award," said Oats. "Our staff chemistry is at an all-time high. We have figured out as a group what it takes to win at a high level and I am fortunate enough to have a wonderful staff and some really great players. I am the recipient of an award that is really more deserving of our players and our staff."
The Bulls won four of the five highest individual awards, the first time since 2011 that a MAC team has won Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year, and Defensive Player of the Year.
The Bulls will open Mid-American Conference Tournament action on Thursday at Noon when the top-seeded Bulls face #8 Akron at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH.