SFA’s Kevon Harris named Southland Men’s Basketball Player of the Year

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Ten schools represented between the three all-conference teams

FRISCO, Texas – Stephen F. Austin senior guard Kevon Harris is the 2020 Southland Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Year, the league announced Monday along with its all-conference teams. Southland Player of the Year awards are presented by Ready Nutrition.

The fearless leader of the conference-champion ‘Jacks, Harris averaged a team-high 17.7 points per game on 48.5 percent shooting along with 6.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists per contest. The league leader in three-point percentage in conference games (.451), he finished in double-digits in 17 of the team’s 20 league games.

Harris is in the top five in program history in scoring (1,833) and is the school’s Division I leading scorer. Harris helped the ‘Jacks (28-3, 19-1 SLC) to their most regular-season wins since the 2013-14 season, including an upset of No. 1 Duke in which he dropped a game-high 26 points to snap the Blue Devils’ 150-game non-conference home winning streak.

Stephen F. Austin also accounted for the league’s Newcomer of the Year in junior forward Gavin Kensmil, and ‘Jacks head man Kyle Keller garnered Coach of the Year honors. McNeese’s Sha’Markus Kennedy is the Defensive Player of the Year, and UIW’s Keaston Willis is the Freshman of the Year.

A Navarro College transfer, Kensmil was a valuable addition to the ‘Jacks, averaging 11.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per contest while converting 58.3 percent of his attempts from the field. He tallied 13 double-digit outings and a pair of double-doubles.

Kennedy made the best of his final year in a McNeese uniform, averaging a double-double with the second-highest scoring rate (18.6) and a league-best 10.8 rebounds per game. The Southland leader in field-goal percentage (.687) racked up 16 double-doubles, which is tied for third in the conference’s single-season history.

A four-time Southland Player of the Week, Kennedy was the only Southland player to pull down 20 rebounds in a game, achieving the feat twice against league opponents. He posted 14 20-point performances and recorded the conference’s only triple-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocks against UMKC.

Appearing in all 31 games in his first year at UIW, Willis averaged 14.8 points per game and ranked fifth in three-pointers made per contest (2.7) against Southland opponents. Nailing at least one from beyond the arc in all but two league games, he hit six three-pointers on three occasions against conference foes.

In his fourth year at the helm of the ‘Jacks, Keller helped return the program to glory after a down year in 2018-19, leading the squad to an outright conference championship in 2019-20. Under Keller’s direction, SFA led all Division I schools in steals (10.5) and turnovers forced (21.61) per game and ranked in the top-10 in the nation in field goal percentage (49.1), free-throws made (546), rebound margin (7.6), scoring margin (13.6) and scoring offense (80.6).

Harris headlines the all-conference first team, joined by Kennedy and Abilene Christian senior guard Payten Ricks. Sam Houston State placed two on the top squad in sophomore guard Zach Nutall and senior forward/center Kai Mitchell, last year’s Newcomer of the Year.

Abilene Christian, McNeese and Nicholls joined SFA and SHSU as teams with multiple selections. Central Arkansas, Houston Baptist, Lamar, New Orleans and Northwestern State each had one honoree.

All-conference teams and individual awards are nominated and voted upon by the conference’s head coaches and sports information directors. Voting for oneself or one’s own players/coaches is not permitted.

Player of the Year: Kevon Harris, Stephen F. Austin

Defensive Player of the Year: Sha’Markus Kennedy, McNeese

Freshman of the Year: Keaston Willis, UIW

Newcomer of the Year: Gavin Kensmil, Stephen F. Austin

Coach of the Year: Kyle Keller, Stephen F. Austin

2019-20 All-Southland Conference Men’s Basketball Teams
First Team Institution Pos. Class Hometown
Kevon Harris3 Stephen F. Austin G Sr. Ellenwood, Ga.
Sha’Markus Kennedy McNeese F Sr. Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Kai Mitchell2 Sam Houston State F/C Sr. Haverstraw, N.Y.
Zach Nutall Sam Houston State G So. Bryan, Texas
Payten Ricks Abilene Christian G Sr. Wichita, Kan.

Second Team Institution Pos. Class Hometown
T.J. Atwood Lamar G/F Sr. Beaumont, Texas
Chudier Bile Northwestern State F R-Jr. Denver, Colo.
Ian DuBose2 Houston Baptist G Jr. Durham, N.C.
Gavin Kensmil Stephen F. Austin F Jr. Paramaribo, Suriname
Dexter McClanahan Nicholls G R-Sr. Ellenwood, Ga.

Third Team Institution Pos. Class Hometown
Warith Alatishe Nicholls F So. Houston, Texas
Rylan Bergersen Central Arkansas G Jr. Boise, Idaho
Dru Kuxhausen McNeese G Jr. Scottsbluff, Neb.
Joe Pleasant Abilene Christian F So. Overland Park, Kan.
Bryson Robinson New Orleans G Sr. Mesquite, Texas

2 indicates two-time all-conference selection
3 indicates three-time all-conference selection

All-Defensive Team Institution Pos. Class Hometown
Sha’Markus Kennedy McNeese F Sr. Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Chad Bowie Sam Houston State G Sr. Houston, Texas
John Comeaux Stephen F. Austin G Sr. Beaumont, Texas
Hayden Koval Central Arkansas C Jr. Prosper, Texas
Payten Ricks Abilene Christian G Sr. Wichita, Kan.

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