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Men’s Basketball: Long Named Sun Belt Student-Athlete Of The Year

Shawn Long


Senior averaged double-double; set SBC and UL rebounding record


 NEW ORLEANS – Shawn Long, the Sun Belt Conference’s second-leading scorer and leader in both rebounds and blocked shots, was named on Tuesday as the league’s Student-Athlete of the Year in voting by the league’s head coaches and a selected media panel.
Long, a Morgan City, La., native, averaged a career-best 18.8 points during the regular-season for Louisiana (16-13) while leading the Sun Belt Conference, and ranking second nationally, with a career-high 12.9 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-11 forward, who joined former Cajuns Michael Allen (1994) and Tyren Johnson (2010) as SBC Player of the Year recipients, led the league in blocked shots (1.9) and double-doubles (21) and finished as the only player in the SBC to average a double-double.
"Shawn has had an outstanding season for us and he continues to improve in his game," head coach Bob Marlin said. "The numbers that he put up while being double- and triple-teamed on a nightly basis is very impressive. He has been a tremendous rebounder among NCAA student-athletes and he is the best I’ve ever coached.
"His maturity, leadership and hard work improved each year since his arrival on campus, culminating with him breaking UL and Sun Belt Conference records. I’m very proud of Shawn and what he has accomplished during his career here at UL."
Tabbed as the Sun Belt Preseason Player of the Year, Long lived up to his billing while becoming the NCAA active leader in both double-doubles (73) and rebounds (1,410). Long, who ranks first in school history in both rebounds and blocked shots (264) and is fourth in scoring (2,246), recorded 14 games during the regular-season with 20 or more points with nine games of at least 20 points and 15 rebounds.
Long, who is 14th in NCAA history in career double-doubles, posted a season-best performance in both scoring and rebounds at Troy on Feb. 25 when he recorded a 29-point, 20-rebound feat in a come-from-behind victory. Long added 26 points and 16 rebounds at then No. 22-ranked UCLA, recorded 21 points and 13 rebounds at nationally-ranked Miami and 25 points and 14 rebounds at Alabama.
He became the fifth player in Ragin’ Cajuns history to earn all-conference honors all four years, joining Ed McCauley (Gulf States Conference, 1952-55), Tim Thompson (Gulf States Conference 1958-61), Andrew Toney (Southland, 1977-80) and Kevin Brooks (American South, 1988-91). He joined Bill McHorris (Gulf States, 1959-61), Toney (1978-80), Brooks (1989-91) and Lonnie Thomas (Sun Belt, 1999-01) as first-team all-conference recipients in school history.
Long was joined on the first-team by freshman Tookie Brown of Georgia Southern, Little Rock’s Josh Hagins, Majok Deng of ULM and Erick Neal of UT Arlington.
Named to the second-team was Frank Eaves of Appalachian State, Anthony Livingston of Arkansas State, Marcus Johnson, Jr., of Little Rock, ULM’s Justin Roberson and Wesley Person of Troy.
Roger Woods of regular-season champion Little Rock was named to the third team and was joined by Devin Carter of Arkansas State, Mike Hughes of Georgia Southern, Ken Williams of South Alabama and Emani Gant of Texas State.
First-year coach Chris Beard of Little Rock was named the SBC Coach of the Year with Brown named the league’s top freshman and Roberson the SBC Defensive Student-Athlete of the Year.
Louisiana, the No. 4 seed in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament, will face the winner of No. 5-seeded Georgia Southern and eighth-seeded South Alabama in the quarterfinals on Friday at 5 p.m. at New Orleans’ Lakefront Arena.