SU’s Banks voted top coach

HAMMOND — After guiding Southern to its first appearance in the NCAA tournament since 2006, coach Roman Banks was selected as Coach of the Year on the Louisiana Sports Writers Association All-Louisiana men’s basketball team.

Josh Davis of Tulane was named the state’s Player of the Year, DeQuan Hicks of Northwestern State was voted as the Newcomer of the Year, while Shawn Long of Louisiana-Lafayette was selected as the state’s Freshman of the Year.

The All-Louisiana team was voted on by a panel of media members and sports information directors from across the state.

Banks repeated as the state’s top coach after leading the Jaguars to a 23-10 record and Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament championship. Under Banks’ guidance, Southern finished second among Division I schools in field goal defense (36.7 percent) and 12th in scoring defense (57.3 points per game). The Jaguars nearly pulled off an upset of top-seeded Gonzaga in the first round of the NCAA tournament, falling to the Bulldogs 64-58.

Davis was named the state’s Player of the Year after recording one of the top single-season performances in Tulane history averaging 17.6 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. On the season, the 6-foot-8 Davis scored 617 points and grabbed 374 rebounds — the third-most by a Green Wave player.

Hicks, a 6-7 junior and second-team selection, helped Northwestern State back to the NCAA championships for the first time since 2006 as he led the Demons in scoring (14.0 points) and rebounds (5.9).

Long was the overwhelming choice for freshman of the year after averaging 15.5 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. Long finished the season as the nation’s top freshman rebounder and was 12th overall. His 337 rebounds were the sixth-best in school history and his 10.2 rebounding average was the eighth best.

Davis was joined on the first team by Johnny O’Bryant of LSU, Raheem Appleby of Louisiana Tech, Fred Hunter of Nicholls State and Derick Beltran of Southern.

O’Bryant averaged 13.6 points and grabbed 8.7 rebounds in earning first-team All-Southeastern Conference honors by the league’s head coaches. The LSU sophomore led the SEC with 15 double-doubles and scored in double figures in 22 games. He recorded five straight double-doubles in SEC games and scored 30 points at South Carolina — the first 30-point game by a Tiger in over three years.

Appleby was the key player for a Louisiana Tech team that posted a 27-7 record and an 18-game win streak — the longest in the program’s 84-year history. Appleby scored at least 20 points in eight games, paced by a career-best 34 points at Georgia State. He added 28 points against WAC opponent Idaho, setting a career-high with seven 3-pointers.

Hunter, a fifth-year senior, averaged 19.9 points and 8.1 rebounds for the Colonels and was a first-team All-Southland Conference selection.

Beltran, the SWAC tournament most valuable player, averaged 15.9 points and 4.5 rebounds for Southern. Beltran earned first-team All-SWAC honors and buried a team-high 76 3-pointers on the season.

Joining Hicks on the second team was Elfrid Payton of Louisiana-Lafayette, Brandon Fortenberry of Southeastern Louisiana, Brandon Davis of LSU-Shreveport and Centenary’s Jonathan Blount.

Long was joined on the third team by Robert Lovaglio of Loyola, Rodney Milum of LSU-Shreveport, Malcolm Miller of Southern and Tulane’s Ricky Tarrant.

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