Kent, Smith named to All-GPAC first team, five Bulldogs honored

By Jacob Knabel on Mar. 2, 2022 in Men's Basketball

GPAC Release

SEWARD, Neb. – A group of five Bulldogs from the GPAC regular season and tournament championship Concordia University Men’s Basketball team landed on the 2022 all-conference list released on Wednesday (March 2) by the conference. Carter Kent and Gage Smith were recognized as first team selections while Justin Wiersema raked in second team laurels and Noah Schutte and AJ Watson were named honorable mention all-conference. The 2022 GPAC Men’s Basketball All-Conference honor roll includes 10 first teamers and 12 second teamers.

2022 GPAC All-Conference
First Team – Carter Kent; Gage Smith
Second Team – Justin Wiersema
Honorable Mention – Noah Schutte, AJ Watson

A Crete, Neb., native, Kent has taken his game to a new level this winter. Kent is a four-time all-conference award winner having also been second team twice and honorable mention once. He was chosen by league coaches as the 2018-19 GPAC Freshman of the Year. On the season, Kent leads the Bulldogs in scoring at 15.9 points per game on the strength of 43.8 percent shooting from the floor, 34.1 percent shooting from 3-point range and 85.3 percent shooting from the free throw line. He is also averaging 3.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Also a CoSIDA Academic All-American, Kent has posted career totals of 1,638 points, 421 rebounds, 311 assists, 238 3-point field goals and 113 steals. He ranks No. 6 on the program’s all-time scoring list. Kent grabbed the spotlight this season with his full-court alley-oop pass on the game winner that beat Briar Cliff on senior night and with his game-winning shot to sink Doane in the GPAC semifinals.

Smith moved up to the GPAC’s first team after picking up second team recognition in 2020-21. The native of Elizabeth, Colo., is averaging 14.1 points and sports shooting percentages of 55.6 from the floor, 32.4 from 3-point range and 70.4 from the foul line. Smith ranks as the team’s rebound leader with 218 for an average of 7.8 per game. Like Kent, Smith was also part of the 2019-20 squad that captured the GPAC tournament title. Smith’s season high of 28 points came in the home win over Hastings. Another of his top performances was the 23-point, 17-rebound outing versus Briar Cliff. In his career, Smith has totaled 922 points, 598 rebounds, 143 assists, 83 steals and 36 blocked shots.

Wiersema has collected all-conference honors for the third time. He was tabbed a first team honoree in 2020-21 and an honorable mention selection in 2019-20. This season, the native of Loveland, Colo., is averaging 11.5 points while shooting 51.8 percent from the floor, 36.2 percent from 3-point range and 76.6 percent from the foul line. He also averages 5.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Wiersema ranks in the top 10 of the program’s all-time list in assists and inside the top 20 in scoring and rebounding. His career totals stand at 1,241 points, 471 rebounds, 294 assists and 134 steals. Wiersema was recognized by the Omaha World-Herald as the 2020-21 Midlands All-Nebraska Honorary Team Captain.

In his second season as a Bulldog, Schutte earned a spot in the starting lineup and has averaged 13.1 points per game. The Laurel, Neb., native is shooting 54.8 percent from the floor, 41.0 percent from 3-point range and 72.0 percent from the free throw line. He also contributes 5.7 rebounds per game. Schutte produced a career high 27 points in the win over then No. 10 Jamestown back in November. His season stat ledger also includes five double-doubles. Schutte has accumulated 454 points and 201 rebounds in his collegiate career.

Another Bulldog who made his way into the starting lineup this season, Watson is a first time All-GPAC honoree. The native of Kansas City, Kan., has started 29 games at the point and has averaged 9.7 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.0 steal per game. He’s shooting 40.1 percent from the floor, 35.3 percent from the 3-point arc and 82.0 percent from the foul line. Watson’s 17 points in the regular season finale at Dakota Wesleyan were a career high. In three seasons at Concordia, Watson has compiled 522 points, 140 assists, 133 rebounds and 64 steals.

Head Coach Ben Limback’s squad will learn of its national tournament draw on Thursday when the NAIA selection show is aired. Concordia will make its second national tournament appearance in three seasons.