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Basketball: Brandi Williams (Women) & JaKeenan Gant (Men) Earn SBC Honors

Brandi Williams Named Sun Belt Women's Basketball Freshman Of The Year

Williams becomes the first from Louisiana named Sun Belt FOTY in program history

David Collins, Athletics Communications Assistant

Brandi Williams
Brandi Williams

NEW ORLEANS – Louisiana Women's Basketball freshman guard Brandi Williams, who set a school record for most points scored in a single season by a freshman and is on pace to set a school record for free throw percentage in a single season, was named Sun Belt Women's Basketball Freshman of the Year as a part of the 2018-19 Sun Belt Women's Basketball Postseason Honors announced by the conference on Monday.

Williams, a native of Lake Charles, La., becomes the first player from Louisiana to be named Sun Belt Freshman of the Year in program history, and her numbers this season, leading freshman scorer (13.0 ppg.), top free throw percentage (.877) in the conference and third in minutes (33.3 mpg.) have been solid all season long.

"Brandi being named Freshman of the Year is an award that she has earned and is well deserved," said head coach Garry Brodhead.  "What has impressed me, and the staff is how consistent she has been throughout the entire season, as she played through all kinds of situations.  We are excited and proud for Brandi and even more, we are looking forward to what the next three years of her career will begin for Louisiana."

During conference play this season, Williams has increased her production, averaging 14.7 points per game and at the free throw line Williams has been automatic, shooting .913 percent from the charity stripe.  Nationally Williams ranks 19th in free throw percentage, and among the Top-20 for best free throw percentage, Williams has attempted the third most free throws.

2018-19 SUN BELT WOMEN'S BASKETBALL POSTSEASON HONORS 

All-Sun Belt First Team
Ronjanae DeGray, Little Rock (Sr. F, Odessa, Texas)
DJ Williams, Coastal Carolina (Jr., G, Moreno Valley, Calif.)
Antoinette Lewis, South Alabama (So., F, Memphis, Tenn.)
Cierra Johnson, UTA (RS-Sr., G, Bedford, Texas)
Toshua Leavitt, Texas State (Sr., G, Nixa, Mo.)

All-Sun Belt Second Team
Kyra Collier, Little Rock (Jr., G, North Little Rock, Ark.)
Alexis Brown, Georgia Southern (Jr., G, Madison, Ga.)
Jada Lewis, Georgia State (So., G, Powder Springs, Ga.)
Savannah Jones, South Alabama (So., G, Ocean Springs, Miss.)
Sky'Lynn Holmes, Troy (Sr., F, Mount Pleasant, Texas)

All-Sun Belt Third Team
Bayley Plummer, Appalachian State (Jr., C, Thomasville, N.C.)
Tori Lasker, Little Rock (So., G, Mayflower, Ark.)
Peyton Martin, Arkansas State (So., F, Pine Bluff, Ark.)
Allison Johnson, Georgia State (Sr., F, Norcross, Ga.)
Arsula Clark, ULM (So., G, Douglasville, Ga.)

Sun Belt Women's Basketball Co-Players of the Year
Ronjanae DeGray, Little Rock (Sr. F, Odessa, Texas)
Cierra Johnson, UTA (RS-Sr., G, Bedford, Texas)

Sun Belt Women's Basketball Defensive Player of the Year
Sky'Lynn Holmes, Troy (Sr., F, Mount Pleasant, Texas)

Sun Belt Women's Basketball Freshman of the Year
Brandi Williams, Louisiana (Fr., G, Lake Charles, La.)

Sun Belt Women's Basketball Newcomer of the Year
Allison Johnson, Georgia State (Sr., F, Norcross, Ga.)

Sun Belt Women's Basketball Coach of the Year
Krista Gerlich, UTA 

* * * * * * * * 

Gant Repeats As SBC Men's Basketball Defensive Player Of The Year

Senior named first-team All-Sun Belt after finishing in top 3 in scoring, rebounds, blocks

Matt Sullivan, Associate Director of Athletics Communications

Louisiana Men's Basketball Wednesday Sept. 5, 2018 in Lafayette, La. Photo by Brad Kemp
JaKeenan Gant

NEW ORLEANS – Louisiana's JaKeenan Gant earned postseason honors by the Sun Belt Conference on Monday as he was selected as the league's Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season while being named a first-team selection in voting by the league's head coaches and a selected media panel.
 
The selection of Gant, who was selected as both the league's Defensive and Newcomer of the Year in 2018, marked the third straight season a Louisiana player was chosen as the Sun Belt's top defensive player, joining former high school teammate and Ragin' Cajuns point guard Jay Wright.
 
The Springfield, Ga., native, joined Wright (2017) and Elfrid Payton (2014) as the only Ragin' Cajuns in earning the award, while Gant became the fifth player overall and first two-time winner of the league's Defensive Player of the Year Award since Brett Royster of Florida Atlantic in 2010-11.
 
The 6-foot-8 senior finished the regular season ranked third in the Sun Belt in scoring (20.4), led the league in blocked shots (2.7) for the second consecutive year while finishing second in the league in both rebounds (8.6) and field goal percentage (.541). In Sun Belt games, Gant averaged 23.1 points – third among all SBC players – while finishing second in field goal percentage (.562) and pacing the conference in both rebounds (9.2) and blocked shots (2.2).
 
Gant recorded 15 games during the season with 20 or more points, highlighted by a career-high 45 points in a win over Little Rock on Jan. 5. Gant grabbed 10 or more rebounds in a dozen games during the regular season, with a career-best 17 boards coming at Texas State.
 
Georgia Southern's Tookie Brown was named the Sun Belt Player of the Year with UT Arlington's Chris Ogden named the Joe Gottfried Sun Belt Coach of the Year. ULM's Daishon Smith was named the league's Newcomer of the Year while DeVante Jones of Coastal Carolina was selected as the Freshman of the Year.
 
Gant, Brown and Smith were joined on the first team by Georgia State's D'Marcus Simonds, and Nijal Pearson of Texas State.
 
The second team was represented by Josh Ajayi of South Alabama, Ty Cockfield of Arkansas State, Zac Cuthbertson of Coastal Carolina, Ronshad Shabazz of Appalachian State and Rayjon Tucker of Little Rock.
 
ULM's Michael Ertel, Quan Jackson of Georgia Southern, Trhae Mitchell of South Alabama, Tre Nottingham of Texas State and UTA's Brian Warren comprised the third-team.
 
Louisiana, the No. 5 seed in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament, will open play on Thursday at New Orleans' Lakefront Arena in a 5 p.m., contest against the winner of South Alabama and Arkansas State.
 
2018-19 SUN BELT MEN'S BASKETBALL POSTSEASON HONORS
All-Sun Belt First Team
Tookie Brown, Georgia Southern (Sr., G, Madison, Ga.)
JaKeenan Gant, Louisiana (Sr., F, Springfield, Ga.)
Nijal Pearson, Texas State (Jr., G, Beaumont, Texas)
D'Marcus Simonds, Georgia State (Jr., G, Gainesville, Ga.)
Daishon Smith, ULM (Sr., G, Jacksonville, Fla.)
 
All-Sun Belt Second Team
Josh Ajayi, South Alabama (Jr., F, El Monte, Calif.)
Ty Cockfield II, Arkansas State (Sr., G, Gainesville, Ga.)
Zac Cuthbertson, Coastal Carolina (Sr., F, New Bern, N.C.)
Ronshad Shabazz, Appalachian State (Sr., G, Raleigh, N.C.)
Rayjon Tucker, Little Rock (Jr., G, Charlotte, N.C.)
 
All-Sun Belt Third Team
Michael Ertel, ULM (So., G, Indianapolis, Ind.)
Quan Jackson, Georgia Southern (So., G, Tallahassee, Fla.)
Trhae Mitchell, South Alabama (Jr., F, Austell, Ga.)
Tre'Larenz Nottingham, Texas State (Sr., G, Moreno Valley, Calif.)
Brian Warren, UTA (Jr., G, Indianapolis, Ind.)
 
Sun Belt Player of the Year
Tookie Brown, Georgia Southern (Sr., G, Madison, Ga.)
 
Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year
JaKeenan Gant, Louisiana (Sr., F, Springfield, Ga.)
 
Sun Belt Freshman of the Year
DeVante Jones, Coastal Carolina (Fr., G, New Orleans, La.)
 
Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year
Daishon Smith, ULM (Sr., G, Jacksonville, Fla.)
 
Joe Gottfried Sun Belt Coach of the Year
Chris Ogden, UTA
 
SUN BELT CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT TICKETS AVAILABLE
• Tickets booklets for the 2019 Sun Belt Conference Tournament, scheduled for March 13-17 at New Orleans' Lakefront Arena, are currently on sale on-line at RaginCajuns.com, using Account Manager, or by visiting the Louisiana Athletics Ticket Office Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
• For more information, call the Louisiana Athletics Ticket Office at (337) 265-2357.