SFA's Walkup named conference player of year


From SFA

FRISCO, TX - Stephen F. Austin captured two of the Southland Conference's major men's basketball postseason awards, announced today by the league office. Junior Thomas Walkup was named the SLC Player of the Year with head coach Brad Underwood repeating as the conference's Coach of the Year.

Walkup also earned a spot as a first team All-SLC selection and was selected to the SLC's All-Defensive team for the second year in a row. Additionally, senior Jacob Parker was named a second team All-SLC selection.

Walkup emerged as one of the top threats for the Lumberjacks in 2014-15, averaging 15.5 points and 6.5 rebounds to lead SFA as the 'Jacks captured their third-straight SLC title. Walkup ranked among the SLC leaders in a number of statistical categories, including fifth in field goal percentage (56.9) sixth in scoring and 10th in rebounds. He was even more productive in conference play, averaging 18.1 points and 6.6 rebounds against conference foes.

Walkup recorded five double-doubles on the year, including one in each of the final three games of the regular season, leading SFA to victories over Incarnate Word, Northwestern State and Sam Houston State. The junior also became the newest member of the Lumberjack 1,000-point club, sitting at 1,080 career points with another season to play, and was a two-time Southland Conference Player of the Week selection.

The Pasadena native becomes the third-straight Lumberjack to garner SLC Player of the Year honors as Parker took home the honor in 2013-14. Taylor Smith earned the league's top honor in 2012-13 as the `Jacks won the first of three-straight conference crowns. Walkup is also the fifth Lumberjack to earn the league's top honor since 2008, joining Josh Alexander (2008) and Matt Kingsley (2009).

Brad Underwood guided SFA to another memorable season as the Lumberjacks finished the regular season with a record of 27-4 and 17-1 in Southland Conference play, capturing their third-straight regular season conference crown. In his two seasons in Nacogdoches, Underwood has posted a 35-1 record in SLC play and is 30-1 all-time on the court at William R. Johnson Coliseum.

Underwood now boasts a career record of 59-7, becoming the all-time winningest second year coach in NCAA Division I history, surpassing the 58 victories of UNC's Bill Guthridge from 1997-99, while his .894 winning percentage is tops all-time among second year head coaches. He already ranks seventh on the all-time victory list at SFA while his winning percentage is tops all-time in Lumberjack program history.

Parker, the reigning 2013-14 SLC Player of the Year, just missed another first team selection but played a key role in leading SFA to its third-straight crown. Parker averaged 14.2 points and 5.4 rebounds, both of which rank second on the team behind Walkup, while averaging nearly those identical numbers in conference play.

Parker joined the SFA 1,000-point club in the factory at Abilene Christian on Jan. 17 and currently sits at 1,227 career points, ranking 17th all-time in program history and surpassing former teammate Desmond Haymon. Parker scored in double figures in 27 of the Lumberjacks' 31 games in 2014-15 as the 27 victories established the Bixby, Oklahoma native as the all-time winningest Lumberjack at the Division I level with 106 career wins.

The conference honors adds to what has already been a monumental 2014-15 season for SFA Athletics. Underwood becomes the fifth SFA coach to be named the Southland Conference Coach of the Year, joining Clint Conque (football), Wally Crittenden (soccer), Debbie Humphreys (volleyball) and Phil Olson (track and field). Walkup also becomes the fourth SFA student-athlete to be named the conference's Player of the Year, joining Gus Johnson (football), Zuri Prince (soccer) and Demi Payne (women's field) as volleyball's Paige Holland was also tabbed the SLC Setter of the Year.

The Lumberjacks now seek to defend their Southland Conference tournament championship as well, heading to the Merrell Center in Katy this weekend. The number one overall seed, SFA received a double bye to the semifinals and will open up their title defense at 5 p.m. Friday afternoon, looking to earn a spot in the championship game Saturday at 8:30 p.m.

Tickets for the 2015 Southland Conference Championship are available by contacting the SFA Ticket Office at (936) 468-5225 (JACK).

2014-15 All-Southland Conference Honors

First Team

Thomas Wakup - Stephen F. Austin

Jalan West - Northwestern State

Denzel Livingston - Incarnate Word

DeSharick Guidry - McNeese State

John Jordan - A&M-Corpus Christi

Second Team

Jacob Parker - Stephen F. Austin

Zeek Woodley - Northwestern State

Rashawn Thomas - A&M-Corpus Christi

Jabari Peters - Sam Houston State

Tyran de Lattibeaudiere - Lamar

Third Team

Kevin Hardy - McNeese State

Kaheem Ransom - Sam Houston State

Anthony Holliday - Lamar

Michael Holyfield - Sam Houston State

DeMarcus Gatlin - Sam Houston State

All-Defensive Team

Michael Holyfield - Sam Houston State

Kevin Hardy - McNeese State

Tyran de Lattibeaudiere - Lamar

Jalan West - Northwestern State

Thomas Walkup - Stephen F. Austin

Player of the Year: Thomas Walkup - Stephen F. Austin

Defensive Player of the Year: Michael Holyfield - Sam Houston State

Freshman of the Year: Jordan Howard - Central Arkansas

Newcomer of the Year: Tyran de Lattibeaudiere - Lamar

Coach of the Year: Brad Underwood - Stephen F. Austin