SEGUIN, Texas - In exclusive voting by the head coaches of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC), junior forward Brandon Alexander of Southwestern was selected as SCAC Men’s Basketball Player-of-the-Year and his head coach, Janson Hightower, was named the league’s Coach-of-the-Year after the duo helped lead the Pirates to a share of the conference’s regular season title and the No. 1 seed in this weekend’s conference tournament. Complete Release
In that same balloting, Centenary freshman forward Ty Prince was voted the league’s Newcomer-of-the-Year while senior guard Jontrell Herman of Johnson & Wales was named Defensive Player-of-the-Year.
Alexander is currently fourth in the league in scoring (17.7 points per game) and is on pace to post the highest single-season scoring average in program history since Southwestern joined the SCAC prior to the 1994-95 season. The junior is also second in the league in three-point field goals made (63), seventh in free throw percentage (80.7 percent) and 10th in rebounding (6.2 per game) heading into this weekend’s conference tournament. He had an 11-game stretch following Christmas break where he averaged 22.9 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, including a 32-point, 11-rebound performance against Dallas on January 12. Alexander is the second Southwestern men’s basketball student-athlete to win SCAC Player-of-the-Year honors, Aaron Bowser took home top honors in 2004-05, which was also the last time the Pirates’ program won or shared the conference regular season title.
In a very close race, Alexander received four votes in the Player-of-the-Year balloting followed by senior guard Treylan Matthews of Centenary who received three votes. Andrew Romero III of Johnson & Wales picked up the remaining two first-place votes.
One of the more versatile players in the league, Centenary’s Prince averaged 11.5 points, 6.2 rebounds (ninth in the SCAC) and added 21 blocks (fifth in the SCAC) for the Gents during the regular season. He led all first-year conference players in rebounding and was second in both scoring and blocks per game. Prince also shot 45.8 percent from the field (12th in the SCAC). The freshman from Thorndale, Texas, earned Third Team All-SCAC honors in the all-conference balloting and was the only first-year player to make one of the top three teams. Prince is the fourth different Centenary men’s basketball player to earn Newcomer-of-the-Year, and in the seven years Centenary has been in the SCAC, no men’s basketball program has earned more.
Prince was the coaches’ clear choice for Newcomer-of-the-Year, earning six votes in the balloting. First-year guard Aaron Acosta of Colorado College and sophomore guard/forward Devin Roland of Austin College received two votes each.
A two-time SCAC Player-of-the-Week, Johnson & Wales’ Herman was consistently tasked with defending the opposing team's top perimeter threat and was a primary reason why the Wildcats forced a SCAC-leading 15.8 turnovers a game. The senior led the conference in two defensive statistical categories -- steals (2.8) and defensive rebounds (5.4). His total steals (70) and steals per game were both among the top 10 in SCAC single-season history. Herman also grabbed 6.8 rebounds per game – good for sixth in the conference. He was also one of the strongest offensive players in the league, averaging 21.0 points per game (second in the SCAC). Herman’s selection as Defensive POTY is obviously a first for the JWU program and also marks the third time in the last seven years a first-year program has earned one of the league’s major awards in the program’s inaugural season in the conference.
Herman received four votes in the Defensive Player-of-the-Year balloting, followed by sophomore forward Michael Holland of Austin College and sophomore forward Matthew Rindahl of Schreiner with two votes each. Senior guard Alex Cage of Texas Lutheran picked up the remaining first-place vote.
In his fifth season at the helm of the Southwestern program, head coach Janson Hightower has led the Pirates to an 11-5 conference mark – which ties the program high for conference wins in a single season in the SCAC era – and a share of the league’s regular season title, the first for the program since 2004-05. Southwestern will be the No. 1 seed at this weekend’s conference tournament and will play the winner of Schreiner/Dallas in Saturday’s first semifinal game. Among head coaches with five or more years’ experience in the SCAC, Hightower’s .597 in-conference winning percentage is the sixth-best in league history. A former SCAC student-athlete at Hendrix College, Hightower is just the second person to both play in the league and win SCAC Men’s Basketball Coach-of-the-Year. Greg Mason was the SCAC COTY twice at Centre College after graduating from his alma mater in 1994. The COTY honor Hightower’s first and he is just the second Southwestern men’s coach to earn the recognition. Bill Raleigh, who is the current Athletic Director at Schreiner, was selected the SCAC COTY following the 2002-03 and 2004-05 seasons.
2018-19 SCAC PLAYER-OF-THE-YEAR
Brandon Alexander, Southwestern University, 6-5, Jr., Forward, Inez, Texas
2018-19 SCAC NEWCOMER-OF-THE-YEAR
Ty Prince, Centenary College, 6-6, Fy., Forward, Thorndale, Texas
2018-19 SCAC DEFENSIVE PLAYER-OF-THE-YEAR
Jontrell Herman, Johnson & Wales University, 5-9, Sr., Guard, Duck Hill, Miss.
2018-19 SCAC COACH-OF-THE-YEAR
Janson Hightower, Southwestern University, 14-11 Overall / 11-5 SCAC / Top seed in SCAC Tourney
2018-19 ALL-SCAC FIRST TEAM
Brandon Alexander, Southwestern, 6-5, Jr., Forward, Inez, Texas
Andrew Romero III, Johnson & Wales, 6-1, Sr., Guard, Northglenn, Colo.
Treylan Matthews, Centenary, 6-1, Sr., Guard, Houston, Texas
Nathan Josephs, Texas Lutheran, 5-10, Sr., Guard, San Antonio, Texas
Matthew Rindahl, Schreiner, 6-6, So., Forward, Kyle, Texas
2018-19 ALL-SCAC SECOND TEAM
Jontrell Herman, Johnson & Wales, 5-9, Sr., Guard, Duck Hill, Miss.
Cooxooeii Black, Colorado College, 6-7, Jr., Forward, Arapahoe, Wyo.
Harris Jowell, Texas Lutheran, 6-6, Sr., Forward/Center, Brock, Texas
Cedric Harris, Centenary, 6-6, Jr., Guard, Shreveport, La.
Michael Wambsganss, Dallas, 6-3, So., Guard, Denver, Colo.
2018-19 ALL-SCAC THIRD TEAM
Ellis Jones, Schreiner, 5-10, So., Guard, Houston, Texas
Ty Prince, Centenary, 6-6, Fy., Forward, Thorndale, Texas
Danny Rivara, Trinity, 6-7, Sr., Forward, Horseshoe Bay, Texas
Michael Holland, Austin College, 6-3, So., Forward, Waxahachie, Texas
Devin Roland, Austin College, 6-5, So., Guard/Forward, Little Elm, Texas
HONORABLE MENTION (players receiving votes)
Austin College – Justice Mercadel (So., G); Colorado College – Aaron Acosta (Fy., G); Dallas – Dustin Mathis (So., G); Schreiner – Paul Wells (Jr., F); Southwestern – Jake Holmes (Jr., F), Joel Martinez (Jr., G), Andrew Puhl (Jr., F), Ryan Wheeler (Jr., G); Texas Lutheran – Sebastian Andrade (So., G), Alex Cage (Sr., G), Jacob Kouremetis (Sr., G); Trinity – Matthew Colliflower (Sr., F), Taylor Kim (Sr., G)
Coaches voted for 15 places for All-SCAC with 15 points awarded for first-place votes, 14 points for second-place votes, 13 points for third-place votes, etc., down to one point for a 15th-place vote. All players not elected to the First, Second or Third Team, but who received at least one vote, were named Honorable Mention. Coaches could not vote for their own players.
For the complete release, click here.