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Lafayette—(excerpts taken from LSWA-Matt Sullivan) After a season in which he enrolled in school as the most heralded basketball recruit in the nation, LSU's Ben Simmons was selected as the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA) Men's College Basketball Player of the Year in a vote by a statewide panel of media members.
Simmons, a consensus first-team All-America selection, was also the overwhelming choice as the state's top freshman player with Dillard's Demetric Austin (JR/Washington, D.C.) tabbed as the LSWA Newcomer of the Year while second-year head coach Larry Cordaro of LSU Alexandria was named the state's Coach of the Year after leading the NAIA Generals to a 27-2 regular-season record, their second consecutive Red River Athletic Conference championship and a berth in the NAIA National Tournament. Cordaro, a Ruston native, beat out Dillard head coach Mike Newell for LSWA Coach of the Year. This is Newell's second Coach of the Year runner up award as he finished behind Talladega's Matt Cross for GCAC Men's Basketball Coach of the Year.
However, along with LSWA Newcomer of the Year, Austin was also named Second Team All-LSWA. He crushed the competition in terms of voting by picking up 25 votes for Newcomer of the Year while the next highest only received three votes.
Austin, a junior from Washington, D.C., helped turnaround a Bleu Devil program that had won just five games overall in 2014-15. Austin, the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Newcomer of the Year and a second-team NAIA All-American, averaged 19.8 points and 9.3 rebounds for Dillard (regular season) where he led the team to a GCAC championship and a berth in the NAIA National Tournament, including a first-round upset over #8 Hope International.
"Hard work pays off," explained Austin. For him, it is just another day, but in reality he has had one of the most decorated seasons in the history of Dillard University athletics.
Austin's 2015-16 accomplishments:
LSWA First Team
LSWA Second Team