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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.
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The American Announces Men's Basketball Honors
POSTED: March 8, 2023 -- 3:08 p.m. CT
The American Athletic Conference has announced the men's basketball award winners and all-conference teams for the 2022-23 season ahead of the 2023 American Men's Basketball Championship, to be held March 9-12 at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas. The selections were made by the league's 11 head coaches.
Regular season champion and No. 1 in the nation Houston garnered six individual awards, including Player of the Year Marcus Sasser, Defensive Player of the Year Jamal Shead, Freshman of the Year Jarace Walker, Sixth Man of the Year Reggie Chaney, Most Improved Player of the Year J'Wan Roberts and Coach of the Year Kelvin Sampson.
East Carolina center Ludgy Debaut and Tulane guard Sion James were selected as Sportsmanship Award honorees.
Sasser ranks sixth in The American in scoring at 17.1 points per game, 10th in assists at 3.3 per contest and seventh in steals with 1.7 per game. He is the second Cougar to be named Player of the Year (Quentin Grimes, 2021).
Shead ranks sixth in steals (1.81 spg), and is the second Houston player to earn Defensive Player of the Year (DeJon Jarreau, 2021), while Walker ranks 10th in rebounding (6.7 rpg) and is the first Cougar to be named Freshman of the Year.
Roberts improved his production from 3.2 points per game in 2021-22 to 10.5 per contest this season. He joins Justin Gorham (2021) as Houston players to earn the Most Improved honor. Chaney is the third Cougar to be named Sixth Man of the Year, joining Jarreau (2019) and Armoni Brooks (2018).
Sampson has led the Cougars to a 29-2 record in the regular season and 17-1 mark in conference play. The Cougars became the first American squad to earn a No. 1 ranking in the Associate Press Top 25. It is Sampson's fourth Coach of the Year honor in The American (2018, 2019, 2022).
Debaut and James are the first players from their schools to earn the Sportsmanship Award. Debaut has been a four-year center for the Pirates and is a mentor to the younger players on the squad, while James is The American's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee President.
Sasser was named to first-team all-conference and was selected unanimously, alongside 2022 Player of the Year Kendric Davis of Memphis. The duo were joined by Tulane guard Jalen Cook, a first-team pick in 2022, Cincinnati guard Landers Nolley II and Davis' Tiger teammate DeAndre Williams.
Roberts, Shead and Walker were named to the all-conference second team, alongside UCF forward Taylor Hendricks and Tulane guard Jaylen Forbes.
The all-conference third team was comprised of Cincinnati guard David DeJulius, South Florida guard Tyler Harris, Temple guard Damian Dunn, Tulane forward Kevin Cross and Wichita State guard Craig Porter Jr.
2023 American Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Honors
Player of the Year - Marcus Sasser, Sr., G, Houston
Coach of the Year - Kelvin Sampson, Houston
Defensive Player of the Year - Jamal Shead, Jr., G, Houston
Freshman of the Year - Jarace Walker, F, Houston
Most Improved Player of the Year - J'Wan Roberts, R-Jr., F, Houston
Sixth Man of the Year - Reggie Chaney, Sr., F, Houston
Sportsmanship Award - Ludgy Debaut, Gr., C, East Carolina and Sion James, So., G, Tulane
Landers Nolley II, R-Sr., G, Cincinnati
Marcus Sasser, Sr., G, Houston*
Kendric Davis, Sr., G, Memphis*
DeAndre Williams, Sr., F, Memphis
Jalen Cook, So., G, Tulane
Taylor Hendricks, Fr., F, UCF
Jamal Shead, Jr., G, Houston
J'Wan Roberts, R-Jr., F, Houston
Jarace Walker, Fr., F, Houston
Jaylen Forbes, Jr., G, Tulane
David DeJulius, Gr., G, Cincinnati
Tyler Harris, Sr., G, South Florida
Damian Dunn, R-So., G, Temple
Kevin Cross, Jr., F, Tulane
Craig Porter Jr, Sr., G, Wichita State
Taylor Hendricks, F, UCF*
Ezra Ausar, F, East Carolina*
Jarace Walker, F, Houston*
Terrance Arceneaux, G, Houston
Emanuel Sharp, G, Houston
* denotes unanimous selection
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