Left to right: Will Nelson, Dalton Payton, LT Davis, Justin Harley, Jordan Dembley, Jeremy Deemer
As each game progressed, one unexpected win after the next, Graceland’s secret sauce would slowly be exposed to the world. On paper, there were more talented and experienced teams in the tournament. But Coach Doty and his staff preached repeatedly that despite the odds being against them, by staying disciplined and playing together, they would do great things. And that they did.
-Scott Thompson, Honorary Coach
On and Off the Court: A Class Act
Pat Draves with Jordan Dembley and LT Davis
“I had a first row seat for the entire men’s basketball season, and what a season it was. The student-athletes and coaches on this team taught us what is possible with hard work, determination, trust, attention to detail and teamwork. Witnessing their behavior on and off the court was a gift. Their kindness and humility, while being intensely competitive and committed to the excellence needed for a national championship, are models for our everyday work.”
President Draves, Graceland University
Coach Doty remarked, “Our bench from top to bottom was committed to helping each other. This is the toughest national tournament to win in all of college basketball, as we had to win five games in six days to win it all. Thanks to my staff for staying up until 3 a.m. preparing scouting reports, thanks to my administration, and thanks to our students and fans, who single-handedly changed the culture of our program from the stands.”
Meet the Team
#1 Justin Harley
Hometown: Central Islip, NY Major: Business Administration
#2 LT Davis
Hometown: Rockford, IL Major: Corrective Exercise and Performance Enhancement
Hometown: Rockton, IL Major: Business Administration
#50 Brady McMains
Hometown: Pleasantville, IA Major: Business Administration
RS Mo Jackson
Hometown: Belvidere, IL Major: Sport Management
Associate Head Coach
Assistant Coach / Recruiting Coordinator
Head Student Assistant
Assistant Coach / Head JV
Graduate Assistant Coach
Graduate Assistant Coach
I have had good experiences with some of the assistants of the mens’ basketball team–Ben Kluzak has really stood out in the classroom, taking initiative and being enthusiastic about learning; Ron Keller I just met in sports psych–impressed by his professionalism; same for Dylan Martin (sports psych); Teddy Palmer was an INTD student of mine a while back and a good team player in the classroom. Quality all through the staff.
– Dave Devonis, PhD
Professor of Psychology
Coach Doty and players were recognized for their outstanding performance — after a season of working together to overcome adversity and achieve victory.
National Tournament Honors
Left to right: Will Nelson, LT Davis, Jeremy Deemer
LT Davis, Jeremy Deemer and Will Nelson each made the 2018 NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship All-Tournament Team. Davis was also named the Chuck Taylor Most Valuable Player.
Nelson, a junior small forward, averaged 19.20 ppg in the tournament. The Kansas City, MO native averaged a career-high 30 points in the title game of the tournament. Nelson totaled 44 rebounds in the tournament to average 8.8 rpg.
Davis, a five-foot-11-inch guard from Rockford, IL, averaged 23.6 ppg. Known for his ability to hit the three, Davis shot 42.9 percent from beyond the arc.
Deemer, a senior center from Lamoni, IA, shot 61.4 percent (27-of-44) in the tournament. He averaged 13.8 ppg and recorded a double-double in all five games of the tournament.
Players were selected by the NAIA Men’s Basketball Coaches Association All-America Committee. Graceland University’s LT Davis and Jeremy Deemer earned NAIA All-American recognition.
Davis was named to second team, while Deemer was honorable mention for the second time in his career. Since moving to NAIA Division I, Graceland now has a total of four men’s basketball players to receive the honor.
Jeremy Deemer was one of 63 NAIA Division I men’s basketball student-athletes to be named a Daktronics NAIA Scholar-Athlete for the 2017-18 season.
In order to be nominated, a student-athlete must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and must have achieved a junior academic status to qualify for this honor.
Coach of the Year
Just two years after being hired as head coach, Craig Doty put together the most historic season in Graceland’s basketball history. Doty has guided his teams to a national tournament appearance four out of the last five years, with three championship titles: 2014, 2016 and 2018. He highlights his appreciation for the support of his wife, Alexys, and son, Braylon, who have traveled the national championship road with him each time.
2018 DON MEYER AWARD
2018 NAIA NATIONAL COACH OF THE YEAR
HOOPDIRT.COM 2017-18 NAIA NATIONAL COACH OF THE YEAR & COACH OF THE WEEK presented by Just Play Solutions
“Our commitment is to maintain a competitive men’s basketball program that is focused on recruiting, retaining and graduating the best student-athletes in the nation. Working together with Doty, we won a conference and national championship in only his second year.
As we move forward, there is confidence
that the future is bright.”
Scott Briell VP for Enrollment Management
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