September 25, 2017

Milligan makes a play for basketball greatness

On Feb. 24, the Webster men’s basketball team was eliminated from the postseason after a 75-61 loss to Westminster College. Sophomore forward Evan Milligan led the team with 15 points, three steals and two blocks.

Despite the early postseason loss, head coach Chris Bunch said he was pleased with the production of Milligan and said he has high hopes that the team will continue to improve next season with him at the forefront.

“He really came on, he was first team all-conference, he was on the all-defensive team, he was on the all-tournament team, so he did a lot of good things for us this year,” Bunch said. “If he continues to work and get better for next year, he’s going to be a really good player.”

Milligan led the team in points with a 14.7 average and in rebounds with a 7.1 average. Bunch said that Milligan has grown as an all-around player and as a leader from his freshmen to his sophomore season and that experience helped fuel his success.

“Last year [Milligan] was more of a role player and this year he became our leading scorer with Hunter [Ward] out, he shot 60 percent [in field goals] for the season and he led the league in blocks,” Bunch said. “I think the sky is the limit for Evan, and I think Evan will determine how good Evan gets.”

Milligan said that gaining experience last year as a freshman helped him get more comfortable with the team. He said that comfort along with the support from his teammates helped him become a better player and leader.

“It became a lot easier to get comfortable with the team this year,” Milligan said. “I had some great teammates, and when you have a good group of guys around you, it makes your job a lot easier to do.”

Men's Basketball vs. Iowa Wesleyan University

Men’s Basketball vs. Iowa Wesleyan University

Milligan said he set high goals for himself this season and being chosen as a first team all-conference player was one of them. He said he was honored to be recognized as one of the best players in the conference. He also hopes that next season, one of his teammates can experience the joy of being selected as an all-conference player just as he did.

Milligan was named to the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference  All-Conference First Team following the season.

“It felt good to be chosen because this was what I was working for,” Milligan said. “I was just trying to get up there and be one of the best players in the conference. It also gives me motivation for next year, knowing that I can win first team [all-conference] again and maybe I can take one of my teammates with me.”

Senior guard Rabasa Dobbins-Turner said Milligan was a pivotal part to the team despite him being one of the younger players. He said with the absence of senior  forward and former leading scorer Hunter Ward, Milligan stepped up and gave the team a dominant presence at the forward position.

“His impact on the team was major; he was the leading scorer on the team after we lost Hunter [Ward],” Dobbins-Turner said. “He brought a whole new dimension to our team that we did not have there, plus he was a great defensive stopper with him getting blocks and rebounds. He was pretty much the center of the team.”

With Milligan transitioning to being an upperclassman next season, Dobbins-Turner said  he has faith that Milligan will exude the proper leadership qualities when needed.

“I see qualities there that show that he’ll step up when he needs to step up,” Dobbins-Turner said. “I do trust that he’ll be a great leader for the team when needed.”

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