Sun Belt Conference announces All-SBC teams

NEW ORLEANS – Middle Tennessee All-American Alysha Clark was named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year for the second consecutive season as voted on by the league head coaches and selected media members and announced Tuesday.

Clark becomes the fourth player in SBC history to receive the award twice (Vickie Johnson-Louisiana Tech - 1995-96, Amanda Wilson-Louisiana Tech - 1998-99 and Chrissy Givens-Middle Tennessee - 2006-07).

Clark was also named to the First Team All-Conference for the second straight year. UALR's Chastity Reed and WKU's Arnika Brown were also named to the First Team for the second year in a row.

Joining Reed, Brown, and Clark on the SBC First Team were Clark's teammate Brandi Brown and Denver's Kaetlyn Murdoch.

For the eighth consecutive season a Middle Tennessee Blue Raider was named Defensive Player of Year. This year Middle Tennessee's Jackie Pickel was voted the best defender by the coaches. The senior guard led the conference in steals with 88; Pickel was also a threat on offense leading the league in three point field goals made with 74.

Freshman of the Year honors were taken by North Texas' Jasmine Godbolt who averaged 11.8 points for the Mean Green. Godbolt scored the most points for a freshman at North Texas since 98-99 and also broke the team freshman record with the most rebounds and double-doubles in a season.

In his seventh year as head coach at UALR Joe Foley was named the Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year by his peers. Foley led UALR to a 24-5 overall record and 17-1 in conference play. Foley helped direct the Trojans to the No. 1 seed in the league's women's basketball tournament which will take place March 6-9 in Hot Springs, Ark.

First Team All-Conference

Chastity Reed (UALR, Jr., F)

Kaetlyn Murdoch (Denver, So., F.)

Alysha Clark (Middle Tennessee, Sr., F)

Brandi Brown (Middle Tennessee, Sr., F)

Arnika Brown (WKU, Sr., F)

Second Team All-Conference

Ebonie Jefferson (Arkansas State, Sr., G)

Britteni Rice (Denver, Jr., G.)

Elisa Carey (FIU, Jr., F)

Jackie Pickel (Middle Tennessee, Sr., G)

Amy McNear (WKU, Jr., G)

Third Team All-Conference

Kim Sitzmann (UALR, Sr., G)

Brittany Bowe (Florida Atlantic, Sr., G)

Brittney James (North Texas, Sr., G)

Shakira Nettles (South Alabama, Sr., G)

Donette McNair (Troy University, Jr., F)

Player of the Year: Alysha Clark (Middle Tennessee, Sr., F)

Defensive Player of the Year: Jackie Pickel (Middle Tennessee, Sr., G)

Freshman of the Year: Jasmine Godbolt (North Texas, Fr., F)

Coach of the Year: Joe Foley, UALR

Johnson Headlines Sun Belt Conference Men's Basketball Team

NEW ORLEANS - Louisiana-Lafayette's Tyren Johnson headlines the 2009-10 All-Sun Belt Conference Men's Basketball team, as voted on by the league's 26-member panel (each of the league's 13 head coaches along with a 13-member media panel with one representative who covers each school). Johnson, a senior, led the Ragin' Cajuns and the SBC in scoring this year averaging 18.0 points per game.

Johnson posted very respectable numbers in other major statistical categories as he ranked second overall in the conference with 1.8 steals per game, and 8.0 rebounds per game, while leading his team in rebounds, steals, assists (3.3 per game) and blocked shots (1.4 per game). Johnson tied for the league lead with 12 20-plus point performances, three of which were 30-plus point efforts, and was fourth in the league with seven double-doubles.

Additionally, Brett Royster of Florida Atlantic was tabbed the Defensive Player of the Year, while Arkansas State's Brandon Reed and Head Coach John Brady were named the SBC Freshman of the Year and Coach of the Year, respectively.

The 15-member all-conference team features seven seniors, five juniors and three freshman, led by North Texas which had four student-athletes earning all-conference nods. Florida Atlantic, Troy and WKU each had two selections on the all-conference squad.

The first team consisted of all seniors led by Johnson. He was joined by three-time All-SBC First Team selection Desmond Yates of Middle Tennessee, back-to-back First Team selections Brandon Hazzard of Troy and Nate Rohnert of Denver and WKU's AJ Slaughter.

Freshman of the Year Brandon Reed highlighted the second team and was joined by North Texas' George Odufuwa who led the SBC this season in double-doubles with 12. Tim Williams (South Alabama), Michael Vogler (Troy), and Steffphon Pettigrew (WKU) all earned second team selections.

The third team consisted of two freshmen from Florida Atlantic, Greg Gantt and Ray Taylor. Taylor led the SBC this season in assists per game averaging six per game while Gantt ranked fifth in scoring averaging 15.7 points per game. North Texas' Tristan Thompson, Eric Tramiel and Josh White rounded out the third team selections. Tramiel earned his second-straight third team nod.

Reed, a native of Atlanta, Ga., led the Red Wolves with 15.0 points per game, as he helped lead the team to an 11-7 conference record and No. 5 overall seed in the SBC Tournament. Reed has 434 points this season which is a new ASU freshman record, shattering the 48-year old school record of 416 points set during the 1961-62 season.

Royster, the Defensive Player of the Year, averaged 2.9 blocked shots a game for the Owls, which is ranked 13th in the NCAA this season. He was sixth in the league in rebounding averaging over seven boards a game. Royster is now FAU's all-time leading shot blocker.

Brady, in his second year at the helm of the ASU program, guided the Red Wolves to its best conference record (11-7) since the 2006-07 season. The 11 wins marked the seventh time since ASU joined the Sun Belt that they posted double-digit league wins. The Coach of the Year honor was the third such honor overall for Brady, having earned the honor twice before while at LSU. This season the Red Wolves rank fifth in scoring offense and rank fourth in team defense in the league. The Red Wolves lead the SBC in rebounding and in field goal defense allowing opponents to shoot just over 40 percent.

The 2010 Sun Belt Conference Men's Basketball Tournament is set to begin this week. All 13 league teams will be in Hot Springs, Ark. looking to earn the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Troy, North Texas, and Middle Tennessee - the top three seeds - all have byes and will see their first tournament action on Sunday, March 7.

First Team All-Conference

Nate Rohnert (Denver, SR, G/F)

Tyren Johnson (Louisiana-Lafayette, SR, F)

Desmond Yates (Middle Tennessee, SR, F)

Brandon Hazzard (Troy, SR, G)

AJ Slaughter (WKU, SR, G)

Second Team All-Conference

Brandon Reed (Arkansas State, FR, G)

George Odufuwa (North Texas, JR, F)

Tim Williams (South Alabama, JR, G)

Michael Vogler (Troy, SR, G)

Steffphon Pettigrew (WKU, JR, F)

Third Team All-Conference

Greg Gantt (Florida Atlantic, FR, G)

Ray Taylor (Florida Atlantic, FR, G)

Tristan Thompson (North Texas, JR, G)

Eric Tramiel (North Texas, SR, F)

Josh White (North Texas, JR, G)

Player of the Year: Tyren Johnson (Louisiana-Lafayette, SR, F)

Defensive Player of the Year: Brett Royster (Florida Atlantic, JR, F)

Freshman of the Year: Brandon Reed (Arkansas State, FR, G)

Coach of the Year: John Brady, Arkansas State