Hodzic, Clark, Dunlap earn Player of the Year honors

Tuesday, March 2, 2010 at 11:20pm
Staff Reports

Adnan Hodzic, the Atlantic Sun Conference’s highest-scoring player in 15 years, was named Player of the Year on Tuesday, the conference office announced.

Hodzic, a junior center, finished the regular season with a 22.5 points per game average, the highest in the league since Mercer’s Reggie Elliot averaged 22.6 in 1995-96. He scored in double figures in every game and extended to 56 his streak of consecutive games with at least 10 points.

Junior guard Josh Slater joined Hodzic on the Atlantic Sun’s all-conference First Team. Slater became the second player in conference history to average at least 15 points, five rebounds and five assists per game.

A-Sun honors

• Belmont's Ian Clark was named Freshman of the Year after having made 70 3-pointers, fourth among all Division I freshman. He also was a unanimous All-Freshman pick and a Second-Team all-conference choice.

He was the Bruins’ leader in points and in minutes played.

“We are excited and appreciative of Ian's selection as Freshman of the Year,” coach Rick Byrd said. "It is an outstanding individual season when a freshman leads a conference co-champion in minutes played and scoring.”

• Belmont sophomore Haley Nelson who averaged close to a double-double for the season (13.0 points, 9.8 rebounds) was named to the A-Sun women’s all-conference Second Team.

The 6-foot-2 post player led the Lady Bruins in scoring 10 times and in rebounds 22 times.

“She is very deserving,” coach Tony Cross said. “Haley has made tremendous progress from last season.”

SEC women

Brentwood Academy graduate Victoria Dunlap was named Player of the Year as Kentucky became the second school ever to sweep the Southeastern Conference’s top three individual awards as determined by the conference coaches.

Dunlap, who also was named Defensive Player of the Year, is the ony player among the SEC’s top five in scoring (fifth) and rebounding (third). She also is among the top 20 nationally in blocked shots and steals.

“(Defense) is my main forte that I focus on a lot,” Dunlap said. “The coaches have pushed me a lot harder to be offensive minded to help my teammates out.”

• Also for Kentucky, Matthew Mitchell was named Coach of the Year and A’dia Mathies was named Freshman of the Year.

The only other time one school won all three awards was in 1998 when Tennessee’s Chamique Holdsclaw (Player of the Year), Pat Summitt (Coach of the Year) and Tamika Catchings (Freshman of the Year) did so.

Dunlap was one of three unanimous choices for the eight-player All-SEC first team, which included Vanderbilt junior guard Jence Rhoads. Commodores’ senior guard Merideth Marsh earned second-team honors, and Tiffany Clarke and Elan Brown made the All-Freshman team. Clarke was a unanimous choice.

Sun Belt awards

Alysha Clark was named the Sun Belt Conference’s Player of the Year, the conference office announced Tuesday.

It was the second straight SBC honor for the senior forward from Mt. Juliet, who also was a two-time Atlantic Sun Player of the Year for Belmont before she transferred to MTSU.

Clark also earned First-Team all-conference recognition. Lady Raiders’ forward Brandi Brown joined her on the first team, and Jackie Pickel became the eighth straight MTSU player named the conference’s women’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Desmond “Boogie” Yates, the leading scorer in MTSU men’s basketball history, earned his third consecutive First-Team all-conference honor.

The senior forward was the only honoree for the Blue Raiders, who finished in a three-way tie for the regular-season conference championship. He missed the first seven games of the season with an injury but averaged a team-high 13.6 points in 24 games since he returned.

OVC Tournament

Ivan Aska scored 17 points to lead five players in double figures as Murray State pounded Tennessee State 84-51 in the first round of the Ohio Valley Conference tournament on Tuesday night in Murray, Ky.

Isaiah Canaan added 13 points, Tony Easley 12, Danero Thomas 11 and B.J. Jenkins 10 for the Racers (28-4), who improved to 15-0 at home this season. They will play Eastern Illinois, a 68-61 winner over Eastern Kentucky, in Nashville on Friday.

Murray State, ranked No. 1 in the OVC in field goal percentage (50.9), shot 57.1 percent from the field (32 of 56), 50 percent from 3-point range (9 of 18) and went 11-for-11 from the free throw line against the Tigers.

Jeremiah Crutcher and Martell Buie scored 11 each for Tennessee State, which ended its season at 9-23.


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