CHARLESTON, SC – Georgia Southern’s Elton Nesbitt today was named the Southern Conference Sports Media Association Player of the Year. Elon’s Ernie Nestor was named the Coach of the Year while College of Charleston’s Jermaine Johnson was tabbed the Freshman of the Year.
Nesbitt, a 5-9, 165-pound senior from Deerfield Beach, FL, is first in the league in scoring, averaging 22.4 points per game. In league-only games, Nesbitt’s average climbs to 23.6 ppg. The guard topped the league charts in 3-point field goals (99) and is among the league leaders in free throw percentage (6th at .804), steals per game (5th at 2.1) and 3-point field goal percentage (tied for 5th at .407). Nesbitt is the first GSU player to score more than 600 points twice in a career, with his current season points total of 628 ranking third in Eagle annals. UNC Greensboro’s Kyle Hines finished second in the media voting, while College of Charleston’s Dontaye Draper finished third. Davidson teammates Ian Johnson and Brendan Winters finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Johnson, a 6-7, 250-pound forward from Anaheim, CA, topped all freshmen in scoring and rebounding during the regular season. He was 36th in the league in scoring at 8.7 ppg and fourth in rebounding at 7.3 rpg. Johnson posted eight games of 10 or more rebounds, including a career-high 13 rebounds twice in the final three games of the regular season. Runner-up for the top freshman, according to the media was Furman’s Stanley Jones, while Elon’s Brett James was third.
Nestor guided the Phoenix to a 10-4 record in league play and captured the program’s first-ever North Division crown. Picked to finish fourth in the division back in the preseason by the media, Elon won the division by two games and finished the regular season with 14 victories, the most by an Elon team since moving to Division I. The Phoenix are the No. 2 seed in the SoCon Basketball Tournament which starts Thursday, March 2 at the North Charleston Coliseum. Georgia Southern’s Jeff Price was second in the media voting while Western Carolina’s Larry Hunter was third.
Joining Nesbitt on the first team are three other guards: Appalachian State’s D.J. Thompson, College of Charleston’s Dontaye Draper and Davidson’s Brendan Winters. The lone non guard on the top media team is UNC Greensboro’s Kyle Hines.
The second team includes Davidson’s Ian Johnson, Elon’s Chris Chalko, Furman’s Robby Bostain, UNC Greensboro’s Ricky Hickman and Wofford’s Howard Wilkerson.
The third team consists of College of Charleston’s Josh Jackson, Davidson’s Kenny Grant, Furman’s Moussa Diagne, Georgia Southern teammates Louis Graham and Donte Gennie and Wofford’s Shane Nichols.