SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Southern Conference announced the 2014 men’s basketball postseason awards today (March 4). Davidson forward De’Mon Brooks was named the 2014 Player of the Year after leading the Wildcats to a 15-1 record in conference play. The Charlotte, N.C., native won the award in 2012 and becomes the first player in league history to win the award multiple times without winning it in consecutive seasons.
UNCG’s Tevon Saddler was named the league’s Freshman of the Year, while Chattanooga’s Z. Mason took home the Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Year award. Wofford’s Mike Young was named the league’s Coach of the Year.
Brooks joins East Tennessee State’s Keith Jennings and fellow Wildcat Stephen Curry as the only players to win the coaches’ Player of the Year award multiple times. He is joined by Curry, Jake Cohen (2013) and Brendan Winters (2005) as the four Wildcats who have won the award.
Saddler was tied for the lead in scoring among SoCon freshmen, as he averaged 12.4 points per game. He averaged 3.0 assists per game, which was good for 11th overall in the league this season. His 1.3 steals per game were tops among freshmen and seventh-best in the conference. Saddler becomes the first Spartan to win the Freshman of the Year award since Kyle Hines in 2005.
Young was named the league’s Coach of the Year by his peers for the second time, after earning the award in 2010. He guided the Terriers to an 11-5 mark in league play, which was tied for third place. Wofford was picked to finish sixth in the standings during the preseason. The Terriers earned the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament and earned a bye into Saturday’s quarterfinals.
A physical presence on the front line for the Mocs, Mason led the league in blocked shots (3.0 bpg) and was the top rebounder in the league, pulling down 9.5 rebounds per game. The senior helped engineer the Mocs’ turnaround season, as UTC finished second in the conference with a 12-4 mark after being picked to finish seventh in preseason balloting. Offensively, Mason was fifth in the SoCon in scoring (18.2 ppg) and led the league with 13 double-doubles.
Chattanooga was the only school to place a pair on the all-conference team, as Mason and Casey Jones joined Davidson’s Brooks on the 10-man team. Seven other schools each had one representative on the all-conference squad. Elon’s Lucas Troutman and Western Carolina’s Trey Sumler earned all-conference honors for the second consecutive season. They were joined by Stephen Croone (Furman), Jelani Hewitt (Georgia Southern), Kyle Cain (UNCG), Tim Williams (Samford) and Karl Cochran (Wofford).
The all-freshman team also included five student-athletes representing five different teams. UNCG’s Saddler was joined by Brian White (The Citadel), Jack Gibbs (Davidson), Isaiah Williams (Samford) and Eric Garcia (Wofford).
The 2014 Southern Conference Men’s Basketball Championship begins Friday at 11 a.m. at the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville, N.C. The championship game is scheduled for Monday at 9 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN2.
2014 SoCon Men’s Basketball Awards
De’Mon Brooks, Davidson
Lucas Troutman, Elon
Stephen Croone, Furman
Jelani Hewitt, Georgia Southern
Kyle Cain, UNCG
Tim Williams, Samford
Casey Jones, Chattanooga
Z. Mason, Chattanooga
Trey Sumler, Western Carolina
Karl Cochran, Wofford
Brian White, The Citadel
Jack Gibbs, Davidson
Tevon Saddler, UNCG
Isaiah Williams, Samford
Eric Garcia, Wofford
Player of the Year
De’Mon Brooks, Sr., F, Davidson
Defensive Player of the Year
Z. Mason, Sr., F, Chattanooga
Freshman of the Year
Tevon Saddler, G, UNCG
Coach of the Year
Mike Young, Wofford