SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Southern Conference announced the 2015 men’s basketball postseason awards today (March 3). Wofford guard Karl Cochran was named the 2015 Player of the Year after leading the Terriers to a 16-2 record in conference play. The Marietta, Ga., native joins Noah Dahlman (2010) as the only two Terriers to be named Player of the Year.
Furman guard Devin Sibley was named the league’s Freshman of the Year, while Chattanooga’s Justin Tuoyo took home the Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Year award. Wofford’s Mike Young was named the league’s Coach of the Year.
Cochran, who was tabbed the Preseason Player of the Year in October, finished the regular season fifth in the SoCon in scoring (15.0 ppg) and was 11th in rebounds (5.8 rpg). The senior was second in the league in steals per game (1.8 spg) and ranked 12th in assists (2.8 apg). Cochran scored in double figures 25 times this season, including a season-high 33 in a win at Chattanooga on Jan. 5.
Sibley becomes the first Paladin since Quan Prowell in 2004 to be named the league’s top freshman. Sibley averaged 10.1 points per game, which was second among all league freshmen and second on the team. Originally from Knoxville, Tenn., Sibley earned the league’s Freshman of the Week award three times during the regular season. He scored at least 20 points in five games, including a personal-best 29 points at ETSU on Feb. 14.
Young was named the league’s Coach of the Year by his peers for the third time in the last six years, after earning the award in 2010 and 2014. With Wofford tabbed the league’s preseason favorite, Young led the Terriers to an outright regular-season championship.
Tuoyo becomes the second consecutive Moc to win the Defensive Player of the Year Award after Z. Mason took home the honor last year. With 102 blocked shots this season, Tuoyo has the second-highest single-season total in league history and needs just four more to tie Kyle Hines’ (UNCG) record of 106 set in 2005. He has averaged 3.3 blocked shots per game and ranks fourth in the SoCon with 6.5 rebounds per game. At the offensive end of the floor, the Fayetteville, Ga., native has connected on 54.5 percent of his field-goal attempts.
The league’s coaches also selected a 10-member all-conference team. Cochran, Furman’s Stephen Croone and UTC’s Casey Jones were named all-conference for the second consecutive season. Cochran was joined by teammate Lee Skinner, while Tuoyo gave UTC a second all-conference selection. League newcomer Mercer also placed two on the all-conference team, as Ike Nwamu and Darious Moten were chosen for the 10-member team. The Citadel’s Ashton Moore, ETSU’s Jalen Riley and Western Carolina’s James Sinclair also garnered all-conference honors.
The all-freshman team also included five student-athletes representing four different teams. Sibley was joined by his teammate Daniel Fowler, Jake Wright (The Citadel), Stephon Jelks (Mercer) and Christen Cunningham (Samford).
The 2015 Southern Conference Men’s Basketball Championship presented by General Shale begins Friday at 6 p.m. at the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville, N.C. The championship game is scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN2.
2015 SoCon Men’s Basketball Awards
Ashton Moore, The Citadel
Jalen Riley, ETSU
Stephen Croone, Furman
Darious Moten, Mercer
Ike Nwamu, Mercer
Casey Jones, Chattanooga
Justin Tuoyo, Chattanooga
James Sinclair, Western Carolina
Karl Cochran, Wofford
Lee Skinner, Wofford
Jake Wright, The Citadel
Daniel Fowler, Furman
Devin Sibley, Furman
Stephon Jelks, Mercer
Christen Cunningham, Samford
Player of the Year
Karl Cochran, Sr., G, Wofford
Defensive Player of the Year
Justin Tuoyo, So., F, Chattanooga
Freshman of the Year
Devin Sibley, G, Furman
Coach of the Year
Mike Young, Wofford