For a moment, Davon Haynes was a first-team All-SWAC performer. Then, he was moved to the second team.
Arkanasas-Pine Bluff men’s basketball coach George Ivory said he heard the reason for his star senior forward’s move was because Southern’s Malcolm Miller was left off the first team. That also knocked Alcorn State’s Octavius Brown off the second team from the conference’s original news release.
Ivory didn’t think highly about the change, saying it wasn’t right. But at any rate, Haynes — who thrilled the home crowd with a 22-point performance Saturday against Mississippi Valley State — has refused to let a fractured right hand sideline him.
“I’m very happy for Davon to be selected to All-SWAC, but I feel like we had a couple more guys deserving to be on that team,” Ivory said.
Haynes is the only UAPB player on this year’s All-SWAC roster, which was released Monday and determined by the conference’s head coaches and sports information directors. Averaging 12.6 points (third behind Marcel Mosley and Tevin Hammond) and a team-high 6.1 rebounds per game, Haynes has scored no fewer than 13 points in his past five games — and he’s played with the fracture since Jan. 25.
Texas Southern forward Aaric Murray, the 14th leading scorer in the nation this season, was named the SWAC Player and Defensive Player of the Year. He averages 21.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game.
Southern won three superlative awards, as Tre’Lun Banks (two 21-point games) was named Freshman of the Year, Calvin Godfrey (13 points, 9 rebounds per game) was crowned Newcomer of the Year and Roman Banks was hailed as Coach of the Year. The latter Banks led Southern, which will defend its SWAC tournament championship this week in Houston, to this year’s regular-season title.
The All-SWAC first team includes Grambling State’s Antwan Scott and Miller at the guards, Alcorn State’s LeAntwan Luckett and Godfrey at the forwards and Murray at center. Joining Haynes on the second team are Alabama State’s Jamel Waters and Jackson State’s Julysses Nobles at the guards, Alabama State’s Bobby Brown at forward and Jackson State center Brandon West.
Lions on shooting tear
UAPB’s field-goal shooting has picked up in the last two games.
A 41.4 percent shooting team, the Golden Lions flirted with the 50 percent mark in last Monday’s win at Jackson State (48.6 percent) and Saturday’s feat over Mississippi Valley State (49.1 percent). The Lions connected on 46 of 94 field goals combined in those wins, just one make shy of 50 percent.
The shooting has been much needed, considering junior guard Mosley has not played the past two games with a broken jaw. The Lions’ leading scorer will not return for this week’s SWAC tournament.
“I thought they have played really well together as a team with the loss of Marcel,” Ivory said. “We lost DeAndre (McIntyre) to a leg injury, and Davon fractured his hand. When you consider that, we picked up the pace and picked up the expectations. We made sure we didn’t lose anything because of Marcel.”
UAPB’s point total in the 83-68 win over Valley is the team’s season high.
Lions ranked fourth nationally in steals
When it comes to defense, the Golden Lions find themselves in pretty good company. But Ivory didn’t know how good until Monday.
UAPB is ranked fourth in NCAA Division I in steals per game with 9.5. The three teams ahead of them are Virginia Commonwealth with 11.5, Louisville with 10 and UCLA with 9.6.
Individually, UAPB’s Hammond is seventh with 2.6 and Mosley ranks 15th with 2.35. The two also top the SWAC in that category.
“Defensively, we really stepped it up and learned a lot about playing together and our concept of the zone defense,” Ivory said.
In preparation for Thursday’s SWAC tournament quarterfinal against Alabama A&M in Houston, the Lions continued to focus on their defensive assignments and details during Monday’s practice, Ivory said. The team was expected to leave for Houston at midnight.
All-SWAC women’s teams
No one from UAPB is represented on the All-SWAC women’s teams.
Texas Southern guard Jazzmin Parker was named the conference’s Player of the Year. She headlines the All-SWAC first team, which includes Prairie View A&M forward Jeanette Jackson, Southern’s Jasmine Jefferson and Jackson State’s Ayanna Hardy-Fuller at the forwards, and Alabama State center Quentori Alford, who is also the Defensive Player of the Year.
The second team is: at the guards, Alcorn State’s Tierro Frost and Grambling State’s Joanna Miller; at the forwards, Alabama State’s Nakiya Smith and Grambling State’s Victoya Ricks; and Texas Southern center Morgan Simmons.
Texas Southern’s Sarah Williams and Mississippi Valley State’s Ashley Beals received Newcomer and Freshman of the Year awards, respectively. Southern’s Sandy Pugh is the Coach of the Year.