Two Bearkats named Honorable Mention All-Southland

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FRISCO, Texas – Stephen F. Austin senior Taylor Smith has been named the 2012-13 Southland Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Year by a vote of the league’s head coaches and sports information directors, the conference office announced Tuesday in conjunction with the release of the all-conference basketball teams.
He also was selected as the conference defensive player of the year. Additionally, Northwestern State guard Jalan West earned freshman of the year honors and teammate, junior forward DeQuan Hicks, was named the newcomer of the year. SFA head coach, Danny Kaspar, was named the Southland Conference Coach of the Year.
Smith paced the Lumberjacks to their first Southland regular-season conference championship since it won back-to-back titles in 2008 and 2009. The forward from Schertz, Texas (Clemens H.S.), is the NCAA Division I leader with a field-goal percentage of 69.6 and ranks second in the conference in rebounding (9.0) and fifth in scoring (15.6). Smith, who transferred from McLennan Community College prior to his junior season, paced the Lumberjacks to a perfect 15-0 home record and scored double figures in 26 of the teams’ 29 games. He finished the regular season with 11 double-doubles, including a 21-point, 18-rebound effort against McNeese State, Jan. 30. Smith dropped a season-high 25 points to go with 14 rebounds in SFA’s conference opener against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. He recorded seven 20-point games this season, including a span of four consecutive games in early February. Smith is the third Lumberjack to earn the award and first since Josh Alexander and Matt Kingsley won the award in consecutive seasons in 2008 and 2009.
Smith also earned the conference’s inaugural defensive player of the year award. SFA leads the nation in scoring defense, holding opponents to 50.2 points and leads the Southland in field goal percentage defense (37.0) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (27.4). Smith set the school record with 87 blocked shots this season and is averaging 3.0 blocks per game. His 129 two-season total at SFA also is the school’s new standard. The senior led the conference in defensive rebounds (6.2) and finished sixth in minutes played (33.3). Smith and the Lumberjack defense have not allowed a team to score more than 69 points in any game this season.
West is the third Demon to be named the league’s freshman of the year and the first since Jermaine Wallace earned the honor in 2003. West led the Southland in free-throw percentage (83.6), steals per game (2.4) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.9). The guard from Bossier City, La. (Bossier H.S.), ranks third in the conference in assists, averaging 5.4 per game to lead all freshmen. He is also the top freshman in scoring, averaging 10.6 points per game, which ranks 20th among all league players. Additionally, he is tied for ninth with a 36.4 3-point field-goal percentage. In his season debut, West dropped a season-high 26 points while dishing out eight assists in a 118-77 win over East Texas Baptist. He went 11-for-14 from the field including 4-of-7 from 3-point range. In the regular-season finale last Saturday against Sam Houston State, West dished out a season-high 12 assists.
Hicks becomes the first Demon to be named the league’s newcomer of the year after helping the Demons to a No. 2 seed in the Southland tournament. Hicks, a junior from Racine, Wis. (Park H.S.), averaged 14.2 points per game, which is 10th best in the Southland. Hicks finished third in field goal percentage (58.3), fifth in steals (1.7) and 12th in rebounding (5.9). The transfer from New Mexico Junior College, has scored double figures in every game this season except for three. He has three 20-point games including a 28-point outburst against LSU in November. The junior turned in a 24-point, 13-rebound effort against Sam Houston State in a 73-64 victory in early January. Hicks is the first Demon to notch the award.
Kaspar picked up Southland coach of the year honors for the second time in his 13 seasons after leading the Lumberjacks to their third Southland crown and first since winning titles in consecutive seasons in 2008 and 2009. SFA brings a 26-3 record into this week’s conference tournament and finished league play with a 16-2 record. SFA is the first Southland team in its 50-year history to win 26 games before the conference tournament, surpassing the previous record of 25 wins (two losses) set by Louisiana Tech in 1985-86 during its run to the NCAA Sweet 16. The Bulldogs ended that season with a 29-3 record. SFA’s 26 overall victories ties the school mark for wins in a season in its Division I era while the 16 league victories tied the program’s win total in the 2002-03 season. SFA, ranked No. 5 in this week’s CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 Poll, leads the nation in scoring defense, allowing only 50.2 points per contest. This season, the Lumberjacks have held six opponents to 40 or fewer points and have limited the competition to 70 points or less in 61 consecutive games, dating back to the regular-season finale of 2010-11 season. SFA has won 20 or more games for the fifth time in the last six years. Kaspar earned his first coach of the year award in 2008. Former SFA coach Ned Fowler won the award in 1991.
Smith, who earns first-team all-conference honors for the first team in his career, is joined on the first team by Oral Roberts senior forward/center Damen Bell-Holter, Nicholls State senior guard Fred Hunter, Oral Roberts senior guard Warren Niles and Southeastern Louisiana senior guard Brandon Fortenberry, who garnered all-league honors for the second time in his career. Four of the first-team selections rank in the top five in the Southland in scoring. Hunter leads the league in scoring, averaging 19.8 points per game overall and 20.6 points in Southland games. Niles is second in the league (16.1), Bell-Holter is fourth (15.8) and Smith is fifth (15.6) while Fortenberry ranks eighth (14.7). The group also accounts for three of the top four rebounders in the league, headlined by Bell-Holter, who clears an average of 9.7 boards per game. Smith is second (9.0) and Hunter is fourth (7.9).
The second team is comprised of Northwestern State junior forward DeQuan Hicks (14.2 points per game and 5.9 rebounds per game), Oral Roberts junior guard/forward Shawn Glover (14.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg), Stephen F. Austin senior guard Antonio Bostic (10.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg), Northwestern State senior forward James Hulbin (12.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and Stephen F. Austin senior guard Hal Bateman (7.2 ppg, 5.7 apg). The third-team choices were Southeastern Louisiana senior forward Roosevelt Johnson (10.6 ppg, 8.3 rpg), Northwestern State senior guard Shamir Davis (12.4 ppg, 2.2 apg), Central Arkansas senior forward Jarvis Garner (16.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg) and junior guard LaQuintin Miles (15.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 3.2 apg), and McNeese State senior guard Dontae Cannon (12.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 3.2 apg).
Three all-conference selections also highlight the new five-member all-defensive team, including SFA’s Smith, the defensive player of the year. He was joined on the all-defensive squad by teammates Bostic and Bateman. The other two players on the list were among the nine other student-athletes who earned honorable mention all-conference honors, including West, the freshman of the year, and McNeese State sophomore guard Kevin Hardy.
Seven conference teams placed at least one player on the all-conference teams that were dominated by the top three teams in the standings – Stephen F. Austin, Northwestern State and Oral Roberts – who each placed three selections on the three teams. Central Arkansas and Southeastern Louisiana each had two selections, while McNeese State and Nicholls each had one all-conference honoree.
Four all-conference players had been recognized once previously, including Southeastern’s Fortenberry, who earned third-team honors in 2011 before an injury sidelined him last season. The other three players to repeat on the all-league teams were honored in 2012. Stephen F. Austin’s Bostic earned second-team honors, while Northwestern’s Davis and UCA’s Miles earned third-team kudos a season ago.
All three all-conference teams and the all-defensive team are listed below.
The 2013 Southland Conference Basketball Tournament will be played this week at the Leonard E. Merrell Center in Katy, Texas. The opening round of the tournament is Wednesday, followed by the second round on Thursday. Those four games will be streamed live on the Southland Conference Digital network, which is available online at Southland.org and on the league’s free mobile and tablet apps for iPhone and Android. The semifinals will be played on Friday and be broadcast on ESPN3, while the championship game will be played Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2. Tickets for the tournament are available through Ticketmaster or at the Merrell Center box office.

2013 Men’s Basketball All-Southland Conference Teams
First Team

School

Pos.

Cl.

Hometown
Taylor Smith

Stephen F. Austin

F

Sr.

Schertz, Texas
Damen Bell-Holter

Oral Roberts

F/C

Sr.

Hydaburg, Alaska
Fred Hunter

Nicholls State

G

Sr.

Denton, Texas
Warren Niles

Oral Roberts

G

Sr.

Cincinnati, Ohio
Brandon Fortenberry2

Southeastern Louisiana

G

Sr.

Picayune, Miss.

Second Team

School

Pos.

Cl.

Hometown
DeQuan Hicks

Northwestern State

F

Jr.

Racine, Wis.
Shawn Glover

Oral Roberts

G/F

Jr.

Dallas, Texas
Antonio Bostic2

Stephen F. Austin

G

Sr.

Shawnee, Kan.
James Hulbin

Northwestern State

F

Sr.

Shreveport, La.
Hal Bateman

Stephen F. Austin

G

Sr.

Des Moines, Iowa

Third Team

School

Pos.

Cl.

Hometown
Roosevelt Johnson

Southeastern Louisiana

F

Sr.

Norco, La.
Shamir Davis2

Northwestern State

G

Sr.

Shreveport, La.
Jarvis Garner

Central Arkansas

F

Sr.

Conway, Ark.
LaQuintin Miles2

Central Arkansas

G

Jr.

Jacksonville, Ark.
Dontae Cannon

McNeese State

G

Sr.

Alexandria, La.
Honorable Mention All-Conference: Jalan West, Northwestern State; James Thomas, Sam Houston State; Johnathan Jordan, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi; Will Nelson, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi; Darius Gatson, Sam Houston State; Desharick Guidry, McNeese State; Robert Crawford, Central Arkansas; Desmond Haymon, Stephen F. Austin; Kevin Hardy, McNeese State.
All-Defensive Team

School

Pos.

Cl.

Hometown
Taylor Smith

Stephen F. Austin

F

Sr.

Schertz, Texas
Antonio Bostic

Stephen F. Austin

G

Sr.

Shawnee, Kan.
Jalan West

Northwestern State

G

Fr.

Bossier City, La.
Hal Bateman

Stephen F. Austin

G

Sr.

Des Moines, Iowa
Kevin Hardy

McNeese State

G

So.

Lake Charles, La.

Individual Superlatives
Player of the Year: Taylor Smith, Stephen F. Austin
Defensive Player of the Year: Taylor Smith, Stephen F. Austin
Freshman of the Year: Jalan West, Northwestern State
Newcomer of the Year: DeQuan Hicks, Northwestern State
Coach of the Year: Danny Kaspar, Stephen F. Austin

#SouthlandStrong



 
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