Ryan Coody Photography
Preston Wynne, Spokane, drives to the basket.

Spokane Player Wins MVP at NAIA National Basketball Tournament

Jack McNeel

Preston Wynne, a Spokane tribal member, was named MVP of the National Basketball Championship for NAIA schools on March 25 when his team, Vanguard University from Costa Mesa, California, won the National Championship. Wynne was also named as a First Team All-American.

Preston talked to ICTMN about these awards, his background, and what he sees for his future.

How does it feel to be MVP of the National Tournament?

It feels good. It was a goal I had personally set for myself at the start of the season. I thought I could get the NAIA MVP for the whole season, but I guess I finished second. It feels like all the hard work I’ve put in over the years has finally paid off a little bit.

Who did you play in the finals and what was the score?

We played Emmanuel from Georgia. The final score was 70-65.

You scored 42 in the semifinal game, but how were your stats for the entire tournament?

I think I averaged 26 or 28 points a game, which was pretty solid. I didn’t shoot extremely well, but we play such hard defense. I think that’s one of the reasons we won the tournament. Our defense was way different than anyone else, but that takes a toll on your legs, playing five games in seven days.

Why did you pick Vanguard?

One of the main reasons is that the coach was from Reardan, Washington, near the Spokane Reservation. He knew me, and I had a workout with him right out of high school. When I was getting recruited by all those D-1 teams, he was one of the only NAIAs that contacted me. Other NAIAs came in after they heard I was D-1 ineligible.

Tell me about Vanguard and what it’s meant to you?

It’s a private Christian school. It’s an amazing place. We have one of the smallest gyms in the country and almost every student would pack that gym every night. It was just an amazing, amazing experience. It’s just a family atmosphere you get when you come down here.


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