SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Southern Conference announced its December athletes of the month for men’s and women’s basketball and wrestling Thursday, highlighting excellence among student-athletes during the month.
Cameron Jackson, Wofford, Sr., F
Wofford forward Cameron Jackson led Wofford to a 5-2 record in December, including a 2-0 start in SoCon play. The senior from Winchester, Virginia, averaged 17.1 points and 7.9 rebounds per game in the month, doing so in just 21.2 minutes of action per game. Jackson scored in double figures in each contest, turning in three efforts of 20 points or more. After opening his month with 12 points and eight boards in a win over ETSU, Jackson notched a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds at No. 2 Kansas. He scored 11 points in just 15 minutes against Kentucky Christian, poured in a season-high 24 points to go with nine rebounds in a win over Coastal Carolina and had 18 points in a win over UNC Asheville before closing his month with consecutive 20-point outings, against No. 17 Mississippi State and Western Carolina, the latter coming in just 16 minutes. Jackson pulled down at least six rebounds in each contest and at least eight in four of his seven games. He shot 59 percent from the floor (46-for-78) in the month, including a 3-for-5 effort from 3-point range. He added seven assists, eight blocked shots and 10 steals.
Others nominated: Lew Stallworth (The Citadel), Jeromy Rodriguez (ETSU), Matt Rafferty (Mercer), Jaylen Stowe (Mercer), Francis Alonso (UNCG), Ruben Guerrero (Samford), David Jean-Baptiste (Chattanooga) and Kameron Gibson (Western Carolina).
Amanda Thompson, Mercer, Sr., F
Mercer senior forward Amanda Thompson averaged a double-double as Mercer went 5-1 on the month, only falling to the ACC’s Florida State by a point on Dec. 5. The senior forward averaged 15.3 points and 10.5 rebounds per game in the month, also adding 2.3 assists and 2.3 steals per contest. Thompson scored six points and pulled down seven rebounds in the first game of the month, a 64-48 win over Kennesaw State, before exploding for 18 points and eight rebounds against the Seminoles. Following a 10-point, seven-rebound performance against Charlotte, Thompson notched a career-high 21 points and 18 rebounds in a win over Howard. She followed that up with her second straight double-double as she finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds against George Washington and was recognized as the SoCon player of the week for her effort. She capped off the month with a 20-point, 12-rebound performance on Dec. 30 as Mercer bested UNC Asheville 61-47. After entering the season with just three double-doubles and no 20-point performances to her name, the Hayesville, North Carolina, native concluded the month with three consecutive double-doubles and scored 20-plus twice. She repeated as SoCon player of the week on Dec. 31.
Others nominated: Carley Lytton (ETSU), Nadine Soliman (UNCG) and Ta’Naisha Hill (Samford).
Fabian Gutierrez, Chattanooga, So., 125 pounds
Chattanooga sophomore Fabian Gutierrez went 3-1 overall and tallied two pins at 125 pounds in the month of December. The Commerce City, Colorado, native finished second at the Cougar Classic in early December, with his only loss in the tournament coming in the final match to then-No. 8 Ryan Millhof of Arizona State. Earlier in the day, he earned a 15-0 technical fall over SIUE’s Austin Macias and pinned Arizona State’s Brandon Courtney in 6:57. In a dual match against Ohio, Gutierrez pinned NCAA qualifier Skakur Laney in 6:55. Gutierrez broke into the national rankings by the end of the month, as he is currently ranked No. 20 by InterMat Wrestling.
Others nominated: Neal Richards (VMI).
Southern Conference December Athletes of the Month
Men’s basketball Cameron Jackson, Wofford
Women’s basketball Amanda Thompson, Mercer
Wrestling Fabian Gutierrez, Chattanooga