Apr 16, 2013 11:46 PM by UL Sports Information
LAFAYETTE, La. -- Elfrid Payton, who earned the distinction of being the only player in the nation this year to average 15 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals, was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Year at the 2012-13 Ragin' Cajuns Basketball Awards Banquet, which was held on Tuesday night at the Petroleum Club of Lafayette.
Payton was also the recipient of the Beryl Shipley Leadership Award and the team's Academic Achievement Award while Shawn Long took home the top rebounder award and Elridge Moore received The Daigle Family Best Defensive Player, which is given in memory of Charlie Daigle.
"Looking back on the season, we put a lot of pressure on Elfrid to lead this team and he really came through," head coach Bob Marlin said. "His leadership on the floor helped keep the whole team involved and his versatility gave him the skills needed to take over when he needed to."
The MOP award caps a brilliant sophomore season for Payton, who is a 6-3, guard from Gretna, La. He averaged a team-high 15.9 points and 5.5 assists and 2.4 steals per game, ranking second with 5.6 rebounds en route to earning first team All-Sun Belt and second team All-Louisiana honors this year.
Payton finished the year leading the Sun Belt Conference in both steals and assists, ranking 12th nationally in steals and 38th in assists. He was also fourth in the league in scoring and 18th in rebounds.
A starter in all 33 games, Payton ranks third in school history with 80 steals this year while his 181 assists were fourth-best. With two full seasons to play, he already ranks 18th all-time with 117 steals and 278 assists.
Long, a 6-9, 243-pound forward from Morgan City, La., was the dominant big man inside this year for the Cajuns, averaging 15.5 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game. He ranked 12th nationally and second in the Sun Belt in rebounding and was fourth in the league and 60th in the nation in blocked shots.
With 337 rebounds Long ranks sixth on the Louisiana single season list, while his 65 blocked shots are also sixth-best.
Long finished sixth in the nation with 18 double-doubles while scoring 20 points or more in a game nine times. He led all freshmen in the nation in rebounding and was ninth among freshmen in both scoring and blocks.
"We knew going into the season that if we were going to develop this team, we were going to need Shawn to rebound," Marlin said. "We expected him to do well, and he produced. We look forward to watching him to continue to develop over the next three years."
Moore, a 6-5, junior forward from New Orleans, La., continually proved to be the unsung hero of the Cajuns while guarding big defenders in the post all season. He averaged 4.8 points and 3.7 rebounds a game, ranking second on the team with 33 steals and 51 assists and third with 17 blocked shots.
"Elridge wasn't the guy you noticed on the court because he was in there guarding setting screens, playing defense and generally sacrificing of himself to make the team better. When you did notice him, it usually meant we were winning," Marlin added.