Hardwood standouts collect December Athlete of the Month honors

Purdue Fort Wayne's John Konchar and North Dakota's Lexi Klabo earned December Athlete of the Month nods after impressive performances throughout the final calendar month.
Purdue Fort Wayne's John Konchar and North Dakota's Lexi Klabo earned December Athlete of the Month nods after impressive performances throughout the final calendar month.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Two hardwood standouts captured the December Summit League Athlete of the Month awards announced by league officials Tuesday. North Dakota's Lexi Klabo collected the honor on the women's side, while Purdue Fort Wayne's John Konchar claimed the award on the women's side.

Klabo and the Fighting Hawks found their rhythm as the month of December closed, winning four of the final five games. During that stretch, UND defeated Purdue Fort Wayne for its first-ever Summit League victory as a league member. In that contest, Klabo had 21-points and eight rebounds. For the month, Klabo averaged 16.8 ppg, 7.1 rpg and 2.4 bpg and reached double figures seven times. On the year Klabo has produced two 30-point performances, two 25-point games and two 20-point contests while earning five double-doubles, second most in the league.

Konchar averaged 23.5 ppg, 10.8 rpg and 4.5 apg in eight December contests for the Mastodons who ended the month with a four-game winning streak. Two of those victories came on back-to-back days late in the month as Purdue Fort Wayne opened Summit League play with road wins at North Dakota and North Dakota State.

Konchar averaged 28.0 ppg, 10.5 rpg and 4.5 apg in those two contests, including a career-high 38-point effort in a win over North Dakota State where he buried a game-winning 3-pointer with seven ticks of a second remaining in overtime.

Male Athlete of the Month
John Konchar, Purdue Fort Wayne
Senior | Guard | West Chicago, Ill.

  • Led Purdue Fort Wayne to a 5-3 record in December, amassing six double-doubles and reached the 20-plus point plateau five times
  • Currently ranks second in The Summit League in scoring (19.9 ppg), rebounding (9.4 rpg) and tops the league in assists (4.9 apg)
  • After going 16-for-40 from the free throw line in nine November games, went 52-for-66 (78.8 percent) from the foul stripe in December

Also nominated: J.T. Gibson (Omaha), Kobe Webster (Western Illinois), Stanley Umude (South Dakota), Emmanuel Nzekwesi (Oral Roberts), Mike Daum (South Dakota State)

Female Athlete of the Month
Lexi Klabo, North Dakota
Senior | Forward | Fargo, N.D.

  • Klabo was named The Summit League Player of the Week on Dec. 3 and then again on Dec. 31 to become the first repeat award winner this season
  • Made 89 percent of her free throws in December and ranks first nationally with 112 total makes
  • Leads The Summit League in scoring in overall games (18.8 ppg) and is second in rebounding (8.3 rpg)
  • Recorded 19 blocked shots in the month of December, ranking in the top 25 nationally

 Also nominated: De'Jour Young (Purdue Fort Wayne), Taylor Higginbotham (Western Illinois), Ciara Duffy (South Dakota)

2018-19 Summit League Athletes of the Month
September
Male: Andre Shinyashiki / Denver / Soccer
Female: Olivia Swenson / North Dakota / Soccer

October
Male: Eldon Warner / South Dakota / Cross Country
Female: Emma Rafuse / Purdue Fort Wayne / Cross Country

November
Male: Mike Daum / South Dakota State / Basketball
Female: Taylor Wilson / South Dakota / Volleyball

December
Male: John Konchar / Purdue Fort Wayne / Basketball
Female: Lexi Klabo / North Dakota / Basketball

ABOUT THE SUMMIT LEAGUE
Through 36 years of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of nearly 115,000 at nine institutions, including three located in top 60 U.S. metro populations and two land-grant universities. Member institutions include: Denver (University of Denver), Purdue Fort Wayne (Purdue University Fort Wayne), the University of North Dakota, North Dakota State University, Omaha (University of Nebraska Omaha), Oral Roberts University, the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Western Illinois University. Previously known as the Mid-Continent Conference, The Summit League rebranded in 2007 and has since produced 12 NCAA Champions along with over 100 Academic All-Americans, and nearly 125 All-America selections and numerous former student-athletes competing at the highest professional level.

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