NEW ORLEANS – One of the nation’s premier post players headlines the 2013 All-Sun Belt Men’s Basketball Teams as South Alabama’s Augustine Rubit has been named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year. The league announced its annual award winners on Wednesday.
Rubit currently ranks sixth nationally in both rebounds per game (18.9 rpg) and double-doubles (16). The junior also ranks 29th nationally in scoring (18.9 ppg). Rubit finished the regular season with 302 rebounds, currently fourth-best in school history. He needs only five more rebounds to tie for ninth in Sun Belt history.
Joining Rubit on the first team All-Sun Belt are Florida Atlantic’s Greg Gantt, FIU’s Tymell Murphy, Louisiana-Lafayette’s Elfrid Payton and Middle Tennessee’s Marcos Knight.
Gantt ranks 10th nationally in points per game (21.2) and is joined on the All-Sun Belt team with teammate Stefan Moody who was named second team All-Sun belt
Murphy has helped lead a resurgent FIU program under head coach Richard Pitino. The Panthers the most won the most games in program history since joining the Sun Belt Conference in 1998-1999.
Payton ranks highly in numerous categories in the Sun Belt, including fourth in scoring (15.8 ppg), first in assists (5.4 apg) and first in steals (2.5 spg). Payton is joined on the All-Sun Belt teams with fellow Cajun Shawn Long who earned second team honors in addition to being named the league’s Freshman of the Year.
Knight leads the league’s best team in both points per game (12.6) and rebounds per game (5.6) and helped the Blue Raiders to a 19-1 league record and 27-4 overall record. Fellow Blue Raiders on the All-Sun Belt teams are third team selections Bruce Massey and Raymond Cintron. Massey also picked up Defensive Player of the Year honors in the league.
As his team readies for its position as the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Sun Belt Championship, MT’s Kermit Davis picked up his second consecutive Sun Belt Coach of the Year honors. Davis is the Sun Belt’s all-time winningest coach with 117 league wins. He broke the record at UALR in MT’s 66-61 win on Feb. 16, surpassing Ronnie Arrow’s (South Alabama) mark of 112. MT has won 16 in a row, the longest streak in MT history, second-longest nationally and third-longest for league games in Sun Belt history. MT has also won 20 of the last 21 games.
Votes for the All-Sun Belt teams and specialty award winners were cast by all 11 league coaches and 11 members of the media as selected by the league member institutions.
The Sun Belt Men’s Basketball Championship begins Friday, March 8 in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The championship game will be contested Monday, March 11 at 6 p.m. (CT) on ESPN.
Player of the Year
Augustine Rubit, South Alabama
Defensive Player of the Year
Bruce Massey, Middle Tennessee
Freshman of the Year
Shawn Long, Louisiana-Lafayette
Coach of the Year
Kermit Davis, Middle Tennessee
First Team All-Sun Belt Conference
Greg Gantt (Florida Atlantic, Sr., Guard)
Tymell Murphy (FIU, Jr., Forward)
Elfrid Payton (Louisiana-Lafayette, So., Guard)
Marcos Knight (Middle Tennessee, Sr., Guard)
Augustine Rubit (South Alabama, Jr., Forward)
Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference
Brandon Peterson (Arkansas State, Sr., Forward)
Stefan Moody (Florida Atlantic, Fr., Guard)
Shawn Long (Louisiana-Lafayette, Fr., Forward)
Tony Mitchell (North Texas, So., Forward)
T.J. Price (WKU, So., Guard)
Third Team All-Sun Belt Conference
Will Neighbour (UALR, Jr., Forward)
Trey Finn (Arkansas State, Sr., Guard)
Raymond Cintron (Middle Tennessee, Sr., Guard)
Bruce Massey (Middle Tennessee, Sr., Guard)
George Fant (WKU, So., Forward)