Coaches association recognizes players from local college programs

Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 11:47pm

Belmont, Middle Tennessee State and Tennessee State all briefly tasted the postseason.

On Tuesday, the seniors who helped lead them there raked in postseason accolades. Belmont’s dynamic backcourt tandem, TSU’s frontcourt pair and MTSU’s shooting guard earned All-District honors from the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).

In District 19, Belmont shooting guard Ian Clark and TSU power forward Kellen Thornton were named to the first team. Bruins point guard Kerron Johnson and Tigers center Robert Covington garnered second-team honors. In addition, MTSU shooting guard Marcos Knight made the All-District 24 first team.

Clark leaves as Belmont’s all-time NCAA era leader in points (1,920) and 3-pointers made (340). The Memphis native was named the Ohio Valley Conference’s co-player of the year and defensive player of the year after averaging 18.2 points. On Monday night, he was also named to the Lute Olson All-America Team.

Paired with Johnson (1,388 points) the duo ranked third among active Division I backcourts. Only Kenny Boynton and Mike Rosario of Florida and Kevin Foster and Evan Roquemore of Santa Clara scored more. Johnson led the Bruins with 158 assists this year and was the conference tournament MVP the last two years.

Together, Johnson and Clark helped lead the Bruins to their third straight NCAA Tournament.

Thornton and Covington also guided the Tigers to the postseason. After an 18-year postseason drought, TSU made the CollegeInsider.com Tournament the last two seasons. Thornton, in his second year after transferring from Illinois State, averaged 15.8 points and led the team with 8.1 rebounds a game. Covington, a 6-foot-9 skilled big man, averaged a team-high 17 points a game despite missing 10 games with a knee injury.

Knight anchored an experience-laden MTSU team that won a school-record 28 games and reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1989. The junior college transfer averaged a team-high 12.5 points and 5.8 rebounds to lead the Blue Raiders to their third Sun Belt Conference title in four years.