The Starting Five series is a series that will put the spotlight on the players of the NAIA who are in action today. This series will be in replace of the old Five Players to Watch series that was part of our Schedule and Links Articles. Each Starting Five segment will consist of a captain and four players. The captain spot is simply a way of giving extra focus to a player by giving them a little bit of a deeper dive into their season. While there are always more than five players to watch every day, this article is more so to just highlight the great talent around the NAIA more than it is to say these are the five best players playing on that day.



#5 Nykolas Mason 6’6, Senior, SAGU

After being named a 2019-2020 1st Team All-American, Nykolas Mason just couldn’t get healthy last season and ended up sitting the entire season out and watched his teammates make a run into the Fab Four last season. He has been great on his return this season though averaging just under 23ppg, a number that is good enough for 8th in the NAIA. Nykolas is a high energy guard/forward that is a tough matchup for most teams. Especially when you have the reigning SAC POY on your team in Joshua Kashilla. Tonight this dynamic duo will host a John Brown team that is starting to find its stride a bit.

Rest of Today’s Starting Five

#1 Perry Carroll, 5’11 Senior, Ottawa (KS)


Perry is 7th in the KCAC in scoring right now and has already been named the KCAC Player of the Week once. Tonight they play a tough Bethany team in which the loser will have 3 losses already in KCAC play. Look for Perry to help lead Ottawa to a big win tonight!

#3 CJ Hines, 6’1 Freshman, Faulkner


The 2nd year Freshman has been great for Faulkner early on this season as his 19.1ppg leads the SSAC in scoring. Which has been big since All-American Jordan Hamlette has been out since the 2nd game of the season. 

#1 Marcus Stephens, 6’3 Junior, Providence


Marcus Stephens has already been named the Frontier Conference POW twice now and he is coming off of his best performance of the year, scoring 30pts against Norwest (WA). As the Argos enter Frontier Conference play tonight, look for Stephens to continue his scoring onslaught!

#13 DJ Mercer, 6’1 Junior, Warner


DJ will be honored in this game for scoring his 1k point last January. He currently sits 5th in The Sun Conference in scoring right now. They face a tough Keiser squad tonight and will look to end a two game losing skid to NAIA’s tonight!

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