KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - The list of accolades continues to grow for the University of Wisconsin-Platteville men's basketball team that finished a historic season this past weekend. Pioneer guard/forward Robert Duax has been named the Central District Player of the Year and head coach Jeff Gard was selected as the district Coach of the Year as announced by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) on Monday.
The junior from Dubuque, Iowa (Hempstead) averaged 15.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game while leading UW-Platteville to their first NCAA Sweet 16 appearance since 1999. Over the final five games of the season that included a WIAC championship-clinching game, a WIAC playoff game, and three NCAA games, Duax averaged 20.4 points and shot 52.7 percent from the field.
"I think the thing with Rob is that he's a team player," said Gard. "Last year being in a role where we had some guys go down with some injuries he was asked to step up his role a little bit more. This year I think he was just more balanced."
Duax was also named the WIAC Player of the Year and is the first NABC District Player of the Year from UW-Platteville since Chas Cross in 2013.
In his ninth season as head coach at UW-Platteville, Jeff Gard led the Pioneers to the WIAC's first ever last-to-first finish. His 2018 UW-Platteville team was the first to reach the NCAA tournament since 2009 and the first to win the WIAC regular season championship outright since 1999. Two weeks ago Gard was also selected as the WIAC Coach of the Year.
"It's something that's going to give them life lessons beyond basketball," Gard said when talking about what this season has meant to him. "That when you put the work in good things will come along. It may take time, it may not happen overnight, but if you're consistently putting in the work and doing things in the right way, success will follow."