C-USA Men's Basketball Specialty Awards Announced
March 11, 2014
IRVING, Texas - All-Conference USA first-team selection Chad Frazier of UAB, UTEP freshman Vince Hunter and the Louisiana Tech duo of Kenneth "Speedy" Smith and Kenyon McNeail received the 2013-14 Conference USA specialty awards. Frazier was named the C-USA Newcomer of the Year, while Hunter was the Freshman of the Year. Smith, a second-team All-C-USA selection, highlighted the All-Defensive Team as the C-USA Defensive Player of the Year. McNeail came off the bench for the regular-season co-champions and top-seeded Bulldogs to be named the Sixth Player of the Year. All awards were voted on by the conference's head coaches and select media.
Frazier adds C-USA Newcomer of the Year to his awards as he was named to the All-Conference USA first team yesterday. A native of Charlotte, N.C., Frazier joined the Blazers after spending two seasons at Gulf Coast Community College in Florida. This season, Frazier has poured in 17.7 points per game to lead UAB and rank third in the league. During the non-conference season was named to the Charleston Classic All-Tournament Team after back-to-back 30-point performances against then-No. 19 New Mexico (34 points) and Nebraska (32). He also received recognition as a two-time C-USA Player of the Week selection.
Hunter was selected as the C-USA Freshman of the Year after being named Freshman of the Week a league-leading five times during the regular season. He tied UTEP's freshman scoring record when he poured in a career-best 26 points against Louisiana Tech and again at Southern Miss. He already has five 20-point games this season, which ranks second in school history. The Detroit native already ranks third on UTEP's freshmen scoring list (389) and fourth on the school's rebounding chart (206) entering tournament play. Hunter highlights a six-man all-freshman team due to a tie in voting. He is joined by the Marshall duo of Kareem Canty and Ryan Taylor, Florida Atlantic guard Marquan Botley, Rice forward Sean Obi and Tulane guard Jonathan Stark.
Smith is the league leader in assists (7.9 per game), steals (2.6 per game) and assist-to-turnover ratio (3.25) and ranks among the Top 10 nationally in all three categories. He has already set the school's single season record for assists (237) and steals (78) and is just two shy of tying the league's single-season assist record. The St. Petersburg, Fla., native was credited with at least eight assists in 14 of the team's 16 games, including back-to-back contests with 13 helpers, to average 9.3 assists against C-USA opponents. Smith also had a least one steal in every game played this season. UTEP junior Julian Washburn is a repeat selection to the all-defensive team and he and Smith are joined on this year's by Charlotte junior guard Pierriá Henry, Louisiana Tech junior forward Michale Kyser and Middle Tennessee senior guard Tweety Knight.
McNeail came off the bench for the Bulldogs in all 31 contests and was a tremendous spark to the Bulldogs' 25-6 overall mark and C-USA regular-season title. He averaged 21.9 minutes off the bench and contributed 10.6 points per game. The senior from Conway, Ark., leads the team and ranks third in C-USA for free-throw percentage (.870). McNeail also ranks among the top five in C-USA for three-point field goals made and hit five treys in three games against league foes this season.
The 2014 Conference USA Men's Basketball Championship tips off today at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas. Saturday's title game begins at 11:35 a.m. EDT/9:35 a.m. MDT and will be nationally televised on CBS. Tickets are available by calling the Don Haskins Center box office at (915) 747-6150.
2013-14 CONFERENCE USA ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM
2013-14 CONFERENCE USA FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
2013-14 CONFERENCE USA ALL-DEFENSIVE TEAM
2013-14 CONFERENCE USA DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
2013-14 CONFERENCE USA NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
2013-14 CONFERENCE USA SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR