Apr 1, 2014 2:40 AM by UL Sports Information
BOSTON - Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns men's basketball player Elfrid Payton was named a finalist to his second postseason award in five days when was one of 25 student-athletes selected as a finalist for the 2014 Lefty Driesell award, which was announced by CollegeInsider.com on Monday.
The list of finalists also comprise the 2013-14 Lefty Driesell Defensive All-America team. The honor is the second for Payton, who was named Thursday as a finalist for the Lou Henson award, which is presented to the top Mid-Major basketball player in Division I.
A first-team All Sun Belt Conference and NABC All-District pick, and the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year, Payton led Louisiana in scoring (19.2 ppg.), assists (5.9) and steals (2.3). He was second on the team in rebounds (6.0) and helped guide the Ragin' Cajuns to a 23-12 record, the Sun Belt Conference Tournament championship and a berth in the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship.
The award is one of many for the Gretna, La., native who spent last summer as the starting point guard for Team USA at the FIBA U19 World Championship, helping the team to the gold medal. The John Ehret High product took part in a seven-game goodwill tour of China and the Far East with Reach USA, where he led the team in scoring in seven games.
The junior was the only player in Division I to average 19 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals on the season. Payton scored in double figures in 32 of 35 games played, including 14 games with 20 or more points and four 30-point performances.
He was one of 10 Division I players during the season to record a triple-double when he scored 34 points, with 11 rebounds and 11 assists at ULM. Payton scored 31 points in games against Houston and Western Kentucky and 32 against Oakland while posting six double-doubles, including games at Louisiana Tech and defending national champion Louisville.
The Lefty Driesell award is named in honor of coaching legend Lefty Driesell, who is the only person to ever win 100 games at four different Division I schools. He is best known for his time at Maryland, leading the program to the National Invitational Tournament title in 1972 and its second-ever ACC Tournament Championship in 1984. He finished his career at Maryland with a 348-159 record and concluded his career with an impressive 786-394 mark.
Joining Payton among the finalists include Cameron Ayers (Bucknell), Khem Birch (UNLV), Alec Brown (Green Bay), Rhamel Brown (Manhattan), Willie Cauley-Stein (Kentucky), Tekele Cotton (Wichita State), Aaron Craft (Ohio State), Scott Eatherton (Northeastern), Joel Embiid (Kansas), Justin Jackson (Cincinnati), Jordair Jett (Saint Louis), Nick Johnson (Arizona), Du'Vaughn Maxwell (Hampton), K.J. McDaniels (Clemson), Daniel Miller (Georgia Tech), Chris Obekpa (St. John's), Trevor Releford (Alabama), Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State), Kenneth Smith (Louisiana Tech), Corey Walden (Eastern Kentucky), Scottie Wilbekin (Florida), Kendall Williams (New Mexico), Briante Weber (VCU) and Patric Young (Florida).
The winner of the 2014 Driesell award will be announced at the CollegeInsider.com Awards Banquet on April 4 in Dallas, site of the Division I Men's Basketball Championship.
2014 LEFTY DRIESELL DEFENSIVE ALL-AMERICA TEAM
Cameron Ayers 6-5 Sr. Bucknell
Khem Birch 6-9 Jr. UNLV
Alec Brown 7-1 Sr. Green Bay
Rhamel Brown 6-7 Sr. Manhattan
Willie Cauley-Stein 7-1 So. Kentucky
Tekele Cotton 6-2 Jr. Wichita State
Aaron Craft 6-2 Sr. Ohio State
Scott Eatherton 6-8 Jr. Northeastern
Joel Embiid 7-0 Fr. Kansas
Justin Jackson 6-8 Sr. Cincinnati
Jordair Jett 6-1 Sr. Saint Louis
Nick Johnson 6-3 Jr. Arizona
Du'Vaughn Maxwell 6-7 Sr. Hampton
K.J. McDaniels 6-6 Jr. Clemson
Daniel Miller 6-11 Sr. Georgia Tech
Chris Obekpa 6-9 So. St. John's
Elfrid Payton 6-3 Jr. Louisiana
Trevor Releford 6-0 Sr. Alabama
Marcus Smart 6-4 So. Oklahoma State
Kenneth Smith 6-3 Jr. Louisiana Tech
Corey Walden 6-2 Jr. Eastern Kentucky
Scottie Wilbekin 6-2 Sr. Florida
Kendall Williams 6-4 Sr. New Mexico
Briante Weber 6-2 Jr. VCU
Patric Young 6-9 Sr. Florida