Bob Marlin named SBC Coach of the Year - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Bob Marlin named SBC Coach of the Year

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NEW ORLEANS – Another memorable season of Sun Belt men’s basketball was capped by the unveiling of the 2017-18 postseason honors, highlighted by Georgia State sophomore guard D’Marcus Simonds named Player of the Year, Louisiana junior forward JaKeenan Gant named Defensive Player and Newcomer of the Year, ULM freshman guard Michael Ertel named Freshman of the Year and Louisiana head coach Bob Marlin named Joe Gottfried Coach of the Year in a vote by the league’s 12 head coaches and selected media panel.
Coming off earning Freshman of the Year honors a year ago, Simonds is playing in his second season at Georgia State. The first-team All-Sun Belt selection leads the league in scoring (21.5 points), third in steals (1.7 per game), fourth in assists (4.5 per game) and fifth in field goal percentage (46.2 percent). The Gainesville, Ga., native scored in double figures in every game this season with four games topping 30 points or more. His biggest game came on Feb. 10 vs. ULM when he went off for a career-high 39 points, along with 12 rebounds and five assists, in leading the Panthers to victory. Simonds, a preseason first-team all-conference selection, was twice named Player of the Week on Jan. 8 and Jan. 29.
Gant, a key cog in Louisiana’s record-breaking season, is doing a little bit of it all for the Ragin’ Cajuns in his first season in Lafayette. He leads the conference in blocks (2.5 per game) and has grabbed 112 of his 180 rebounds off the defensive glass. Offensively, Gant is Louisiana’s second-leading scorer at 14.7 points per game, good for 15th in the conference. The Missouri transfer was also received All-Sun Belt third-team honors.
At the helm of Louisiana’s breakout season is Marlin, in his eighth season guiding the Cajuns. His 2017-18 squad has recorded the most single-season wins and reached the 20-win plateau faster than any team in school history. The Cajuns claimed their first Sun Belt title since sharing the 1999-2000 title with South Alabama and their first outright regular-season since joining the conference in 1991-92. With the victory over Arkansas State on March 1, Marlin won his 154th game at Louisiana, passing Bobby Paschal for fourth in the school’s all-time coaching wins list.
About three hours north in Monroe, Ertel is making an impact of his own in his first season at ULM. He has started 24 of 29 games and is averaging 11.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. The Indianapolis native has scored in doubles figures in nine of his last 13 games, including a career-high 22 points on 8-of-16 shooting vs. Troy on Jan. 25.
Headlining the All-Sun Belt teams are Georgia Southern junior guard Tookie Brown, earning his third-straight All-Sun Belt first-team nod, and UTA senior forward Kevin Hervey, garnering his second-straight, first-team recognition. Joining Simonds, Brown and Hervey on the first team are the Louisiana senior duo of guard Frank Bartley IV and forward Bryce Washington. Washington is third in total rebounds (1,077) and tied for fifth in career double-doubles (37) among active NCAA Division I players, while Bartley leads the Cajuns and sits eighth in the conference in scoring at 17.4 points per game. 
Louisiana led with three all-conference selections, followed by Georgia State, ULM, UTA and Troy with two each.
The 2018 Sun Belt Conference Men’s Basketball Championship begins on Wednesday, March 7 and concludes with the title game on Selection Sunday, March 11. The first-round, quarterfinal and semifinal games are set for live coverage on ESPN3 with Sunday’s championship game slated for live coverage on ESPN2. All games will be available on the WatchESPN app.
All-Sun Belt First Team
Tookie Brown, Georgia Southern (Junior, G, Madison, Ga.)
D’Marcus Simonds, Georgia State (Sophomore, G, Gainesville, Ga.)
Frank Bartley IV, Louisiana (Senior, G, Baton Rouge, La.)
Bryce Washington, Louisiana (Senior, F, New Orleans, La.)
Kevin Hervey, UTA (Senior, F, Arlington, Texas)
All-Sun Belt Second Team
Ronshad Shabazz, Appalachian State (Junior, G, Raleigh, N.C.)
Travis Munnings, ULM (Junior, F, Freeport, Bahamas)
Rodrick Sikes, South Alabama (Junior, G, Ocean Springs, Miss.)
Erick Neal, UTA (Senior, G, Dallas, Texas)
Jordon Varnado, Troy (Junior, F, Brownsville, Tenn.)
All-Sun Belt Third Team
Devin Mitchell, Georgia State (Junior, G, Suwanee, Ga.)
JaKeenan Gant, Louisiana (Junior, F, Springfield, Ga.)
Sam McDaniel, ULM (Senior, G/F, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia)
Nijal Pearson, Texas State (Sophomore, G, Beaumont, Texas)
Wesley Person, Troy (Senior, G, Brantley, Ala.)
Sun Belt Player of the Year
D’Marcus Simonds, Georgia State (Sophomore, G, Gainesville, Ga.)
Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year
JaKeenan Gant, Louisiana (Junior, F, Springfield, Ga.)
Sun Belt Freshman of the Year
Michael Ertel, ULM (Freshman, G, Indianapolis, Ind.)
Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year
JaKeenan Gant, Louisiana (Junior, F, Springfield, Ga.)
Joe Gottfried Sun Belt Coach of the Year
Bob Marlin, Louisiana

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