SEWARD, Neb. – After teammate Justin Wiersema garnered the Midlands NAIA/NCAA D-III honorary captain award from the Omaha World-Herald in 2021, Carter Kent has been recognized with the same distinction a year later. Kent and four other Concordia University Men’s Basketball student-athletes picked up Midlands Team accolades from the news outlet, as released on Sunday (April 17). Gage Smith joined Kent on the five-man team while honorable mention Midlands status went to Noah Schutte, AJ Watson and Wiersema.
The Omaha World-Herald chooses its All-Midlands team out of the pool of men’s basketball student-athletes that play at NAIA or NCAA Division III Nebraska colleges and universities. The complete team can be viewed at bottom.
As Head Coach Ben Limback told the World-Herald regarding Kent, “Statistics show he had a great year, but I think what people don't realize is the standard he had for himself throughout his career. He put in the work that allowed him to have that kind of senior season. That's what we'll miss, his leadership and his commitment to be the best.”
Kent was recognized with honorable mention status a year ago by the World-Herald. A four-time All-GPAC honoree (first team in 2021-22), Kent (Crete, Neb.) put together a senior year to remember as part of the team’s run to the national quarterfinals. He averaged 5.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.1 steals per game while shooting 43.6 percent from the floor, 34.7 percent from beyond the arc and 83.8 percent from the foul line. The NAIA rewarded Kent with a Second Team All-America placement. Over the past four seasons, Kent did not miss a single game while playing in 126 contests (125 starts). His career totals stand at 1,699 points, 438 rebounds, 324 assists, 248 3-point field goals (.351) and 115 steals. On the program’s all-time lists, Kent ranks fifth in scoring and 3-point field goals and seventh in assists.
Like Kent, Smith was selected to the GPAC’s first team this past winter. The 6-foot-6 post from Elizabeth, Colo., averaged 13.7 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.1 rebounds per game in his fourth season with the Bulldogs. Smith shot 54.1 percent from the floor, 33.3 percent from 3-point range and 72.4 percent from the foul line. In his career, Smith has compiled 964 points and 634 rebounds (10th most in program history).
Schutte (Laurel, Neb.) was recognized this past season as Honorable Mention All-GPAC and with a spot on the NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championship All-Tournament Team. Schutte earned a starting role in his second collegiate season and averaged 13.9 points and 6.2 rebounds while shooting 55.9 percent from the floor, 44.1 percent from 3-point range and 73.6 percent from the foul line. During five national tournament games, Schutte averaged 20.0 points and 9.8 rebounds.
Watson took on the starting point guard role this past season and garnered Honorable Mention All-GPAC accolades. In 34 games, averaged 9.9 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.0 steal per game. The Kansas City, Kan., native 40.8 percent from the floor, 34.1 percent from 3-point range and 83.6 percent from the foul line.
Wiersema was honored with All-GPAC recognition three times in his career (first team in 2020-21). In his fourth collegiate season, the native of Loveland, Colo., averaged 11.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.1 steals per game. He shot 51.8 percent from the floor, 36.5 percent from 3-point range and 75.4 percent from the foul line. Wiersema finished his career with program all-time rankings of ninth in assists (300), 16th in rebounds (484) and 18th in scoring (1,276).
2022 NAIA/D-III Midlands Team
G, Carter Kent, Sr., Concordia
F, Josiah Gardiner, So., Doane
F, Jibril Harris, Jr., Peru State
F, Peter Lash, Fr., Neb. Wesleyan
F, Gage Smith, Sr., Concordia
Honorable mention: Bellevue: Paulo Araujo, Vinny Belcaster, Eric Pierce. Concordia: Noah Schutte, AJ Watson, Justin Wiersema. Doane: Anthony Laravie, Alec Oberhauser, Brady Timm. Hastings: Karson Gansebom, Dashawn Walker. Midland: Ryan Larsen, Laurence Merritt, Jake Rueschhoff, Bo Sandquist. Nebraska Wesleyan: Landon Torneten. Peru State: Troy Houghton, Henry Tanksley. York: Brent Clark, Keyaun Hoskin, Erik Talton.