Published March 18, 2019
It was a clean sweep for UB when the Mid-American Conference recently announced its top individual honors, with senior CJ Massinburg being named the MAC Player of the Year and Nate Oats earning his second straight MAC Coach of the Year honor.
Massinburg becomes the fifth different Bulls player in school history named the MAC Player of the Year. A two-time All-MAC First Team selection, Massinburg leads the Bulls in scoring this season at 18.5 points, and is second on the squad in rebounding. He has scored in double figures in all but one game this season, starting the year on a high note with a 43-point performance at West Virginia. He also had 25 points at the Carrier Dome against Syracuse, and dropped 31 points in a nationally televised win over Eastern Michigan.
Massinburg has been named the MAC East Player of the Week four times this year as he finished the regular season with 1,910 career points, the second highest in school history. He has also moved himself into the top 17 in the history of the league in career scoring.
“This is an extremely well deserved honor for CJ,” Oats says. “He has been our most consistent player on a Top 25 team all year. He does everything at a really high level, whether it is score the ball, rebound the ball, or defend. CJ is a high-character, humble kid that puts his teammates, his coaches, the managers above himself, so he’s the definition of servant leadership in my opinion and there is nobody more deserving of this award since I have been in the league,” he says.
“When you include what type of person he is, I couldn't be happier for him and for what he has meant to this program, this community, this city. He has meant a lot to this whole place and he is someone that will be impossible to replace.”
Oats has earned his second straight MAC Coach of the Year honor, just the sixth time dating back to 1970 that a MAC coach has won the award in back-to-back years. Oats has already been named a semifinalist for the Naismith National Coach of the Year, and most recently was named a finalist for the Skip Prosser Award, which is presented annually to those who not only achieve success on the basketball court, but also display moral integrity off of it as well.
Oats has led the Bulls to their best season in school history. Heading into the NCAA Tournament, the Bulls have set a program record for wins in a season with 31. During the 2081-19 season, the Bulls have been nationally ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 for 18 straight weeks, peaking as high as 14th in the nation.
“This honor to me is more of a staff award,” Oats says. “Our staff chemistry is at an all-time high. We have figured out as a group what it takes to win at a high level, and I am fortunate enough to have a wonderful staff and some really great players. I am the recipient of an award that is really more deserving of our players and our staff.”
The Bulls won four of the MAC’s five highest individual awards, the first time since 2011 that a MAC team has won Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.
Last week, Nick Perkins was named the league’s Sixth Man of the Year and Dontay Caruthers was named the Defensive Player of the Year.