2019-20 All-Southland Conference Men’s Basketball Teams Warith Alatishe Nicholls F So. Houston, Texas Sha’Markus Kennedy McNeese F Sr. Tuscaloosa, Ala. Dexter McClanahan Nicholls G R-Sr. Ellenwood, Ga. A Navarro College transfer, Kensmil was a valuable addition to the ‘Jacks, averaging 11.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per contest while converting 58.3 percent of his attempts from the field. He tallied 13 double-digit outings and a pair of double-doubles. Kennedy made the best of his final year in a McNeese uniform, averaging a double-double with the second-highest scoring rate (18.6) and a league-best 10.8 rebounds per game. The Southland leader in field-goal percentage (.687) racked up 16 double-doubles, which is tied for third in the conference’s single-season history. Dru Kuxhausen McNeese G Jr. Scottsbluff, Neb. Stephen F. Austin also accounted for the league’s Newcomer of the Year in junior forward Gavin Kensmil, and ‘Jacks head man Kyle Keller garnered Coach of the Year honors. McNeese’s Sha’Markus Kennedy is the Defensive Player of the Year, and UIW’s Keaston Willis is the Freshman of the Year. Gavin Kensmil Stephen F. Austin F Jr. Paramaribo, Suriname A four-time Southland Player of the Week, Kennedy was the only Southland player to pull down 20 rebounds in a game, achieving the feat twice against league opponents. He posted 14 20-point performances and recorded the conference’s only triple-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocks against UMKC. Ian DuBose2 Houston Baptist G Jr. Durham, N.C. Third Team Institution Pos. Class Hometown All-conference teams and individual awards are nominated and voted upon by the conference’s head coaches and sports information directors. Voting for oneself or one’s own players/coaches is not permitted.Player of the Year: Kevon Harris, Stephen F. AustinDefensive Player of the Year: Sha’Markus Kennedy, McNeeseFreshman of the Year: Keaston Willis, UIWNewcomer of the Year: Gavin Kensmil, Stephen F. AustinCoach of the Year: Kyle Keller, Stephen F. Austin First Team Institution Pos. Class Hometown Zach Nutall Sam Houston State G So. Bryan, Texas Chad Bowie Sam Houston State G Sr. Houston, Texas Joe Pleasant Abilene Christian F So. Overland Park, Kan. Rylan Bergersen Central Arkansas G Jr. Boise, Idaho Kai Mitchell2 Sam Houston State F/C Sr. Haverstraw, N.Y. Harris headlines the all-conference first team, joined by Kennedy and Abilene Christian senior guard Payten Ricks. Sam Houston State placed two on the top squad in sophomore guard Zach Nutall and senior forward/center Kai Mitchell, last year’s Newcomer of the Year. John Comeaux Stephen F. Austin G Sr. Beaumont, Texas Sha’Markus Kennedy McNeese F Sr. Tuscaloosa, Ala. FRISCO, Texas – Stephen F. Austin senior guard Kevon Harris is the 2020 Southland Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Year, the league announced Monday along with its all-conference teams. Southland Player of the Year awards are presented by Ready Nutrition. Bryson Robinson New Orleans G Sr. Mesquite, Texas Second Team Institution Pos. Class Hometown Harris is in the top five in program history in scoring (1,833) and is the school’s Division I leading scorer. Harris helped the ‘Jacks (28-3, 19-1 SLC) to their most regular-season wins since the 2013-14 season, including an upset of No. 1 Duke in which he dropped a game-high 26 points to snap the Blue Devils’ 150-game non-conference home winning streak. 2 indicates two-time all-conference selection3 indicates three-time all-conference selection Abilene Christian, McNeese and Nicholls joined SFA and SHSU as teams with multiple selections. Central Arkansas, Houston Baptist, Lamar, New Orleans and Northwestern State each had one honoree. Payten Ricks Abilene Christian G Sr. Wichita, Kan. Appearing in all 31 games in his first year at UIW, Willis averaged 14.8 points per game and ranked fifth in three-pointers made per contest (2.7) against Southland opponents. Nailing at least one from beyond the arc in all but two league games, he hit six three-pointers on three occasions against conference foes. Kevon Harris3 Stephen F. Austin G Sr. Ellenwood, Ga. The fearless leader of the conference-champion ‘Jacks, Harris averaged a team-high 17.7 points per game on 48.5 percent shooting along with 6.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists per contest. The league leader in three-point percentage in conference games (.451), he finished in double-digits in 17 of the team’s 20 league games. All-Defensive Team Institution Pos. Class Hometown T.J. Atwood Lamar G/F Sr. Beaumont, Texas In his fourth year at the helm of the ‘Jacks, Keller helped return the program to glory after a down year in 2018-19, leading the squad to an outright conference championship in 2019-20. Under Keller’s direction, SFA led all Division I schools in steals (10.5) and turnovers forced (21.61) per game and ranked in the top-10 in the nation in field goal percentage (49.1), free-throws made (546), rebound margin (7.6), scoring margin (13.6) and scoring offense (80.6). Chudier Bile Northwestern State F R-Jr. Denver, Colo. Hayden Koval Central Arkansas C Jr. Prosper, Texas Payten Ricks Abilene Christian G Sr. Wichita, Kan.
LATEST STORIES Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Palace OKs total deployment ban on Kuwait OFWs “We can help change things from the inside out,” Frazier said. “We are hand in hand with the survivors, 100 percent. We want to be the people on the inside helping.”Forster knows part of his role as one of the most visible people in the sport is to facilitate the change within the elite program. When he took over in June, he talked about the need to create an environment where the athletes felt they had more of a say in how things are done. He went to the gymnasts and asked them what they would like to see change at selection camps. They told him they wanted open scoring like they receive during a typical meet. So he obliged.“They have to be able to voice whatever their concern is without fear of any retaliation or that it would impact them not making a team,” Forster said.It’s one small facet of an overhaul that will be fought on many fronts over many years. There is no pat on the back or motivational chat or fist bump among teammates that will signal all is well. There shouldn’t be. The Nassar effect will linger for decades. That’s not a bad thing.“I think we should never try to bury that stuff,” Hurd said. “It happened and it’s an awful thing that happened and such an unfortunate thing. But I don’t think we should ever try to bury that conversation because that’s how it all comes back.”Yet Hurd, Forster and the current national team members are optimistic there is a way forward.“I’ve read through all the manuals. There isn’t anything in any of our manuals that demands we win medals,” Forster said. “Not one. No matter what the press has said. There isn’t anything that says we have to win medals. We have to put the best team out on the floor. That’s our job, and we’re going to do it in the very best, positive way we can so that athletes have a great experience doing it. That’s the hope. Well, it isn’t hope. It’s mandatory I do it.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Some PH athletes to miss Asian Games opening parade Judy Ann’s 1st project for 2020 is giving her a ‘stomachache’ DepEd’s Taal challenge: 30K students displaced And then Tom Forster came over. The newly appointed high-performance team coordinator for the embattled USA Gymnastics women’s elite program pulled Hurd aside and put things in perspective.“He was like, ‘It’s OK because now is not your peak time anyways,’” Hurd said. “That was the exact mindset I had.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSTim Cone still willing to coach Gilas but admits decision won’t be ‘simple yes or no’It was a small moment, one of many Forster shared with various competitors as he walked the floor during the first significant meet of his tenure. He plans to do the same when the U.S. championships start on Friday night. He insists he’s not grandstanding or putting on a show or trying to prove some sort of point about a new era of transparency in the wake of the Larry Nassar scandal.The way Forster figures it, he’s just doing what he’s always done. His title has changed. The way he acts around athletes — many of whom he’s known for years while working with the USA Gymnastics developmental program — will not. ‘High crimes and misdemeanors’: Trump impeachment trial begins MOST READ Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award And in a way symbolic, even if that’s not exactly what Forster is going for.USA Gymnastics’ response to the scandal involving disgraced former national team doctor Larry Nassar — who abused hundreds of women, including several Olympians, under the guise of medical treatment — has included a massive overhaul of the leadership and legislative changes designed to make the organization more accountable from the top down. It has also been peppered almost non-stop with buzzwords like “culture change” and “empowerment.”A true shift will take years. Forster understands that. Still, he’s taken steps during his first two months on the job designed to create a more open, welcoming environment.For Margzetta Frazier, the proof came in June when her phone buzzed with a number she didn’t recognize. The 18-year-old decided in late spring she was retiring from elite gymnastics and would instead focus on her college career at UCLA. At least, that was the plan until she slid her thumb to the right and answered.“Tom was like, ‘Hey, I know you retired but can you come back? We need you,’” Frazier said. “I had no idea he even had my number.”For the first time in a while, Frazier says she “felt respected” by USA Gymnastics. That wasn’t the case this spring, when she took the unusual step of texting USA Gymnastics president Kerry Perry to express her disappointment in the organization’s decision to fire senior vice president Rhonda Faehn in the middle of a national team camp. Frazier briefly posted her text to Perry on Instagram.“I was taught to speak my mind respectfully,” Frazier said. “It was so unprofessional to have one of our top coordinators fired. I was mentally distressed. I had to say something.”So she did. And then she retired. And then Forster called. And she couldn’t say no. So she didn’t say no. Instead, she developed a training plan with Chris Waller and 2011 world champion Jordyn Wieber and will be in Boston this weekend hoping to do enough over the next two months to earn a spot on the world championship team.All because Forster called her out of the blue. Now Frazier views her second chance as an opportunity to help the athletes steer the culture in a more positive direction. It’s quite literally the “empowerment” that Perry talks about in action.While Frazier understands Nassar victims — a list that includes Wieber and UCLA teammates Kyla Ross and Madison Kocian — are clamoring for change, Frazier believes the athletes still competing at the elite level can be an integral part of the process. Gov’t in no rush to rescue animals in Taal Still, that doesn’t make the image of the person who will play an integral role in figuring out which gymnasts will compete internationally jarring. Forster’s hands-on approach is in stark contrast to longtime national team coordinator Martha Karolyi’s aloofness. Karolyi would spend meets not on the floor but watching from a table, lips often pursed and her face betraying little. It was the same during national team camps, with Karolyi often talking to the personal coaches of the athletes rather than the athletes themselves.That’s not Forster.“I never envisioned being in this role so I never really thought about sitting at that big table and just watching,” he said.Maybe, but it’s a departure, one Hurd called “kind of strange” but welcome.“He’s walking around practices and interacting with absolutely everyone,” she said. “I think it’s pretty cool.”ADVERTISEMENT In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ Peza offers relief to ecozone firms Morgan Hurd practices on the balance beam during a training session at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018, in Boston. The mandate to change the culture within USA Gymnastics will take years. Yet there are small signs at the U.S. Championships that the process has already begun under new high performance director Tom Forster, from quiet chats during the middle of meets to impromptu phone calls of encouragement. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)BOSTON — The pep talk was short and to the point, a reminder to reigning world gymnastics champion Morgan Hurd that all was not lost.The 17-year-old had just fallen on beam at the U.S. Classic last month, ending any serious chance she had at making a serious run at Simone Biles in the Olympic champion’s return to competition after a two-year break. In the moment, Hurd was frustrated.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments