FRISCO, Texas – Two Stephen F. Austin men’s basketball players – senior Thomas Walkup and sophomore Ty Charles – were selected to the 2015-16 Preseason All-Southland Conference teams it was announced by the league office on Tuesday morning.
Walkup, who calls Pasadena, Texas home, was one of five student-athletes to be named to the Preseason All-SLC First Team while Charles - the only underclassman among the group of 10 honorees - carved out a spot for himself on the Preseason All-SLC Second Team.
Heading into his final season as a collegian, Walkup – the reigning Southland Conference Player of the Year – adds this latest piece of preseason recognition to an already lengthy list of laurels. No player in NCAA Division I men’s basketball succeeded in matching Walkup’s 2014-15 statistical line of 15.6 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game while connecting on 56.7-percent of his field goal tries.
Upping the ante by a considerable margin in league play, the 2014-15 AP All-America Honorable Mention selection led the 13-team Southland Conference in field goal percentage a season ago (.612) and pumped in 18.1 markers per SLC tilt – the fifth-best average in the league. Those figures allowed the ‘Jacks to take home their third-straight Southland Conference regular season crown, capture their second consecutive SLC Tournament title and advance to their second NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament in as many seasons.
Other accolades for Walkup following a banner junior season include being named a Lou Henson All-American, a First Team NABC All-District 23 player, the Southland Conference Tournament MVP, a Southland Conference All-Academic First Team selection and a finalist for the Lou Henson Player of the Year.
The boost given to SFA’s backcourt by Charles in his inaugural season at the collegiate level was substantial to say the least. Owning the distinction of being the only freshman on the ‘Jacks roster to see time in all 34 of their 2014-15 battles, the Kennedale, Texas, product also made 22 appearances in SFA’s starting five and arguably saved his finest basketball for the final stages of the season.
A 6-5 guard, Charles averaged 6.8 points, five rebounds and 1.7 assists per game and once conference play started up, his numbers inflated to 10.2 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.1 helpers per SLC outing.
A major player in SFA’s latest postseason run, Charles swished 52.6-percent of his field goal tries (10-of-19), which included a 6-of-11 (54.5-percent) showing from long range. In the ‘Jacks three postseason skirmishes, Charles sprung for 10.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and two assists per outing which included a team-high 14 points in SFA’s second-round NCAA Tournament setback to Utah.
Charles and Walkup – along with the remaining 15 members of the Lumberjacks’ squad – commence the 2015-16 campaign on Friday, Nov. 13, by making a short excursion to Waco in order to engage in a bout with the No. 21-ranked Baylor Bears. Tip-off for the non-conference clash, which will be televised on FOX Sports Southwest Plus, is scheduled for 8:30 p.m.
To purchase season tickets for the 2015-16 men’s basketball season, fans can contact the SFA ticket office at (936) 468-JACK (5225).
2015-16 Men’s Basketball Preseason All-Southland Conference Teams
Thomas Walkup (Sr., G/F) - Stephen F. Austin
Jalan West (Sr., G) - Northwestern State
Zeek Woodley (Jr., G) - Northwestern State
Rashawn Thomas (Jr., F) - Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Paul Baxter (Sr., G) - Sam Houston State
Ty Charles (So., G) - Stephen F. Austin
Zay Jackson (Sr., G) - Southeastern Louisiana
Craig McFerrin (Sr., P) - McNeese State
Kyle Hittle (Sr., F) - Incarnate Word
Anthony Odunsi (Sr., G) - Houston Baptist
Courtesy: SFA Athletics