I am honored to receive a vote for the Conference USA awards. Right now, I am merely listing all-conference candidates by team, and designating possible first-teamers. I will be voting for 5 each on a first-, second- and third team.
I have said my piece about Player of the Year in my column of Tuesday morning, February 20.
I have listed 18 for the 15 spots, but could consider a few more:
Marshall — Jon Elmore, C.J. Burks, Ajdin Penava
Western Kentucky — Justin Johnson, Darius Thompson
Old Dominion — B.J. Stith, Ahmad Caver
Middle Tennessee — Nick King, Giddy Potts
UTSA — Jhivvan Jackson
UAB — Chris Cokley
FIU — Brian Beard Jr.
FAU — Ronald Delph
La Tech — Jacobi Boykins
North Texas — Ryan Woolridge, Roosevelt Smart
Southern Miss — Tyree Griffin
Player of the Year
For players who stand out above and beyond, I am looking at Elmore, Burks, King. With 3 (MTSU) or 4 (MU) games left, I laid out my views on the topic in a Tuesday throwdown.
I am decreeing that 3 of 5 of my votes will be traditional freshmen, i.e., having played in an “ordinary” high school in 2016-17. I feel such players should be rewarded as much as possible. (I did 4 of 5 last year.)
With that, I list all freshmen who take any spot on the stat rankings. “Traditional” freshman (including those from private schools in player’s area) marked with an *:
UTSA — Jhivvan Jackson* (prohibitive favorite for Freshman of Year; public school)
WKU — Taveion Hollingsworth* (public school)
UAB — Zack Bryant (attended Providence School, Jacksonville; hometown Hastings, Florida)
Rice — Malik Osborne (attended Don Bosco Prep, Indiana)
La Tech — Amorie Archibald* (Trinity Christian Academy, Deltona, Florida, from where he hails)
UTEP — Evan Gilyard* (native of Chicago, attended Simeon Career Academy in that city), Kobe Magee (public school)*, Trey Wade (2016-17 NQ)
Marshall — Jarrod West* (Notre Dame, Clarksburg), Jannson Williams (2016-17 redshirt)
Southern Miss — Ladavious Draine* (public school)
North Texas — Zachary Simmons* (public school)
Charlotte — Milos Supica (Serbia native, high school on North Carolina)