Hoops – NSU’s Sabri Thompson recognized as All-Southland honors are announced

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NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State senior guard Sabri Thompson’s remarkable performance this season, particularly in the 15 games the Demons played without injured senior star Zeek Woodley, was recognized Monday with the release of the 2017 All-Southland Conference Basketball Team.

Thompson, a 6-3 product of Dover, Del., and The Sanford School, was an honorable mention selection in voting by the 13 league head coaches and their sports information directors. Fifteen players were voted to the first, second and third teams, with an additional five earning enough votes to make honorable mention.

The eighth-best 3-point shooter (42.9 percent) among seniors from the nation’s 347 NCAA Division I basketball programs, Thompson ranks seventh among all Southland players in scoring in conference games (15.8 average) and was second in 3-pointers made per game (3.2) in 18 league contests.

Overall, he led the Demons with an average of 30 minutes played and was the second-leading scorer over 29 games with a career-best 13.3 average, adding a career-high 4.3 rebounds per game.

In Southland play, Thompson sparkled as NSU compensated for the loss of Woodley, who suffered a broken wrist Dec. 19 at Rice and missed all but the last four Southland games. He hit 45 percent of his 3-pointers and 74 percent on the free throw line in the 18 conference outings, averaging 34 minutes per game.

He had five games scoring at least 20 points, including the sixth-best single-game total in school history, a 38-point outburst at home Jan. 12 to key the Demons’ first league win, 86-81 over Nicholls. Thompson scored in double figures in 14 of 18 Southland contests, and posted eight or nine points in each of the other four. He twice snagged eight rebounds.

“Sabri had a tremendous senior season in every respect, and he rose to the occasion when we had to have somebody become our primary scorer once Zeek went out,” said 18th-year Demons coach Mike McConathy. “He was the seventh-best scorer in the conference in the 18 most important games of the year and that was with him being the focus of the other team’s defense in 14 games. Nobody on any team gave a greater effort than he did.

“All year long, he was the guy our players looked to for leadership, because of the respect he’s earned from them during his career,” said McConathy. “As a competitor, as a leader, and off the court, he was everything we could ask for, and he deserves any positive recognition coming his way. This all-conference result means he was in the top 10 percent of all the players in our league, and I think that’s understating it.”

Thompson is one of five seniors from major college basketball chosen for the Allstate National Association of Basketball Coaches Good Works Team recognizing remarkable community service efforts. He and the other Good Works Team members, who play at Iowa State, DePaul, Princeton and Georgia Tech, will attend the Final Four and participate in service activities before being recognized during the game’s biggest weekend.

Carrying a 3.73 grade point average with a double major in business and accounting, Thompson will graduate with honors in May. He is a prime candidate to earn Southland Student-Athlete of the Year honors later this month after making the Academic All-Southland Team last season.

The Demons (13-16 overall, 7-11 in the Southland) won three straight and four of their last five to end the season tied for eighth in the conference. In its last three games, NSU beat Southland champion New Orleans, runner-up Stephen F. Austin and scored 57 first-half points in a season-ending 97-83 victory Saturday over Central Arkansas as Woodley became the Demons’ all-time scoring leader.

The Demons didn’t advance to the conference tournament due to results of a five-way tiebreaker between teams at 7-11, including tournament ineligibles Incarnate Word and Abilene Christian. NSU had a 3-1 mark against the two eligible teams in the tie, UCA and Nicholls.

Former McConathy assistant Mark Slessinger, who steered UNO to the outright league title after being picked ninth in preseason polls, was voted Coach of the Year on the All-Southland Team. His senior forward, Erik Thomas, won Player of the Year honors. Nicholls senior Liam Thomas was chosen Defensive Player of the Year, while Abilene Christian’s Jalone Friday was Freshman of the Year and Jalin Hart of Incarnate Word took the Newcomer of the Year award.

First Team
Institution
Pos.
Class
Hometown
Erik Thomas
New Orleans
F
Sr.
Wesley, Chapel, Fla.
Rashawn Thomas3
Texas A&M-CC
F
Sr.
Oklahoma City, Okla.
Jordan Howard 2
Central Arkansas
G
Jr.
Chandler, Ariz.
Colton Weisbrod
Lamar
F
Jr.
Nederland, Texas
Ehab Amin
Texas A&M-CC
G
Jr.
Alexandria, Egypt
 
 
 
 
 
Second Team
Institution
Pos.
Class
Hometown
TJ Holyfield
Stephen F. Austin
F
So.
Albuquerque, N.M.
Jalin Hart
UIW
G
Jr.
Houston, Texas
Colter Lasher
Houston Baptist
F
Sr.
Anchorage, Alaska
Josh Ibarra
Houston Baptist
C
Jr.
Angleton, Texas
Reveal Chukwujekwu
Houston Baptist
G/F
Sr.
Houston, Texas
 
 
 
 
 
Third Team
Institution
Pos.
Class
Hometown
Marlain Veal
Southeastern La.
G
So.
Gretna, La.
Liam Thomas
Nicholls
C
Sr.
Sydney, Australia
Aurimas Majauskas 2
Sam Houston State
F/C
Sr.
Marijampole, Lithuania
John Dewey III
Sam Houston State
G
So.
Bronx, N.Y.
Jalone Friday
Abilene Christian
C
Fr.
Oklahoma City, Okla.
 
2 indicates two-time all-conference selection
3 indicates three-time all-conference selection
 
Honorable Mention: Derreck Brooks, Central Arkansas; Ja’Dante’ Frye, Nicholls; Christavious Gill, New Orleans; Simi Socks, UIW; Sabri Thompson, Northwestern State
 
All-Defensive Team
Institution
Pos.
Class
Hometown
Liam Thomas 2
Nicholls
C
Sr.
Sydney, Australia
Ehab Amin
Texas A&M-CC
G
Jr.
Alexandria, Egypt
Rashawn Thomas2   
Texas A&M-CC
F
Sr.
Oklahoma City, Okla.
Paul Baxter
Sam Houston State
G
Sr.
Austin, Texas
Travin Thibodeaux
New Orleans
F
Jr.
Plaquemine, La.
 
2 indicates three-time all-defensive team selection
 
Player of the Year: Erik Thomas, New Orleans
Defensive Player of the Year: Liam Thomas, Nicholls
Freshman of the Year: Jalone Friday, Abilene Christian
Newcomer of the Year: Jalin Hart, UIW
Coach of the Year: Mark Slessinger, New Orleans
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Doug Ireland

Doug Ireland

Sports Information Director, Northwestern State (LA) Chairman, Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame

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