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Spurgeon Knights Place Third in National Tournament, Jude Warren Named Player of the Year

Posted March 20, 2024 by Brett Fredenberg

KANSAS CITY, Mo—Spurgeon College’s Men’s Basketball team placed third in the NCCAA DII National Tournament on March 16, marking the first time in program history that the team has made a tournament appearance and placed in the top three. During the tournament, Senior Jude Warren was named the National Player of the Year in the division.

“I am incredibly proud of the Spurgeon Knight’s basketball team,” said President Jason Allen. “To think that just a few years ago we started a basketball team with the hopes that one day we would be competitive, to now taking third place nationally is quite the contrast. I want to say a special congratulations to coach Livezey on a fantastic season and to Jude Warren on being named the national player of the year.”

National Tournament Trip

The Spurgeon Knights competed in three games at the NCCAA DII Men’s Basketball National Tournament in Minneapolis, Minnesota, entering the event as the fourth ranked team in the nation.

On Thursday, the Knights played fifth ranked Arlington Baptist University. Top scorers Jude Warren, Drew Middleton (19), and Malikiah Gilum (17) led the team to an impressive victory, with a final score 104-97.

Thursday’s victory landed the Knights in the semi-finals on Friday, competing against the top ranked team in the country, Crown College. After leading at halftime, the Knights ended up losing to Crown College in a hard-fought battle, with a final score of 72-86.

Spurgeon College’s final game of the tournament was on Saturday, playing for third place in the nation against seventh ranked Campbellsville University. Campbellsville started strong, growing their first half lead to 21 points. The Knights slowly fought back, regaining the lead in the second half and securing their third place victory with a score of 93-85.

The third place finish marks a historic moment in Spurgeon College Athletics history by competing in the National Tournament and placing in the top three.

Jude Warren commented on the historic season and tournament run, saying, “I hope the fans will see the work of the entire Spurgeon College basketball team that made us such a dominating team. I’m confident that this team has paved the way for the Spurgeon Knights to begin dominating the NCCAA for a long time coming.”

He concluded, “If there was one thing I could tell people about this team, I would want people to know that we would not be the team we are without every single member of this team. From head to toe, this team is full of faithful men and the world is blessed to have each one of them.”

National Player of the Year Award

During an evening of awards presentations, Jude Warren received the National Player of the Year Award, recognizing him as the top player across the country in the division.

Warren competed in 25 games during the 2023-2024 season, participating in 740 minutes of game time and totaling 647 points on the season. He had season statistics included single games of 48 points, 16 rebounds, 9 steals, and 12 assists. Warren also won Most Valuable Player All-Region, in additional to several other awards during the season.

Head Coach Billy Livezey commented on the award, “There are not many players with the talent Jude Warren has. His numbers are truly remarkable this season. There wasn’t one other player even close to the numbers that Jude put up this season. And it wasn’t just scoring. He dominated in every statistical category across the nation, including rebounds, steals, blocks, and more. He truly is an all around player.”

He went on to say, “What I am most proud of, though, is his faithfulness to Jesus Christ. Jude came to Spurgeon College in obedience to the Lord. He could have played anywhere, but his heart for Christ is what motivated his hard work on the court. I’m proud of him. I’m proud of this team. And most of all, I’m thankful he knows Jesus as his personal Savior.”

Spurgeon Knights Captain Malikiah Gilum also shared of Jude, “Jude is undeniably the National Player of the Year. His desire to win is second to none, and his love for Christ is evident through his performance and leadership on the court. This is a special player, but more importantly, a great follower of Christ.”

Athletics Coach Matt Risher added, “It is a tremendous honor for one of our athletes to be named national player of the year. This recognition is the first fruits of what is to come with Spurgeon College athletics.”

“We are building the premier Christian athletic program in the nation, and Jude is an excellent example of the type of athletes we recruit, train, disciple, and celebrate. I am extremely happy for Jude and the legacy he will leave here at Spurgeon College. He is the first of many athletes who we expect to earn top honors in their various sports within the NCCAA over the next few years as we aim to be the most competitive and faithful school in the country.”

To learn more about Spurgeon College Athletics, visit spurgeonknights.com.


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