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.

Captain

#12 Tony Burks 6’2 Junior, Columbia (MO)

17.3ppg|7.1rpg|4.1apg

American Midwest Conference Player of the Year last year. The 2nd Team All-American is already out to a big year again this year with five games of 20 or more points, including a season high 31pts on #3 William Penn. Burks is great at finishing at the rim, but has also started to hit more 3’s this year. He’s also one of the best closers in the NAIA. He’s really good down the final stretch of games! Tonight you can expect big things from Burks as they face off with Baptist Bible.

Rest of Today’s Starting Five

#0 Jason Hubbard 6’6 Senior, Taylor

20.1ppg|9.2rpg|2.3apg

The 2nd leading scorer on today’s slate, only trailing 1st Team All-American Mason Walters of Jamestown. Hubbard has been a star in the Crossroads League for the past few seasons. Going to be a fun to see him matched up against the Indiana Tech Trio.

#3 Cade Coffman 6’5 Senior, Evangel

16.6ppg|5.1rpg

One of the most underrated players in the NAIA. Cade can really stretch the defense out from deep and at his size and how Evangel uses him, he is a tough matchup night in and night out for opponents. 

#12 Austin Cook, 6’5 Freshman, Life Pacific

15.9ppg|4.6rpg|2.4apg

Austin is one of a handful of sons throughout the NAIA who are currently playing for their dads! The D1 transfer from Idaho St is having a great Freshman year. He is also coming off of his season high of 33pts last game. LPU will need the Freshman to continue to have big games in order to put them in position to win games!

#3 Trequan Spivey 6’1 Super Senior, IU Kokomo

16.8ppg|2.9rpg|3.7apg

Feels like Spivey and teammate Desean Hampton have been playing for a decade now, but the two have this IU Kokomo squad playing great basketball. This is an underrated bunch that is ready to make some noise. Spivey has been fun to watch over his career and the reigning River States Player of the Week is ready to continue his great final season!


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