Leasure, Ellis, Konare, Reboul Garner Big South Top Men's Basketball Awards


CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Coastal Carolina sophomore guard Jack Leasure and Birmingham-Southern head coach Duane Reboul have been voted as the 2005-06 Big South Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Year and Coach of the Year, respectively, by the League’s head coaches, sports information directors and media panel, it was announced this morning by the Conference office.  The voting panel voted UNC Asheville forward Michael Ellis Freshman of the Year and High Point senior forward Issa Konare as the League’s first-ever Defensive Player of the Year.  Leasure was also voted Scholar-Athlete of the Year by the SIDs, becoming the first men’s basketball player to garner Player of the Year and Scholar-Athlete of the Year in the same season.

Leasure helped spark Coastal Carolina’s eight-win improvement over 2004-05 with an 18.3 points per game average, ranking fourth in the Big South.  He is currently the national leader in three-point field goals per game and set the Conference’s single-season three-point record this season (118).  The shooting guard also ranks second in the Big South in assists (4.22), fifth in steals (1.70), fourth in 20-point games (11) and fifth in assist-turnover ratio (1.48).  The 2005 Freshman of the Year, Leasure is third in the Big South in three-point percentage (.437) and has made five three-pointers in a game 12 times this season.  He has scored in double figures in 25 of 27 contests, including 15 Big South games and led CCU in scoring 14 times, with a 12-2 record as the leading scorer.  Leasure received 11 first-place votes from the panel and 235 total points.

Reboul led the Panthers to the regular-season championship game against Winthrop and ended with a 12-4 Conference record, a five-game improvement over 2004-05.  Birmingham-Southern, which returned just four letterwinners and two starters from last season’s squad, won nine-straight games from Jan. 7-Feb. 4, which was the school’s longest at the Division I level.  Reboul also directed the Panthers to a 15-game home winning streak this season, which was snapped by the Winthrop Eagles.  In the 16-game Conference season, Birmingham-Southern was first in three-point percentage (.373) and rebounding defense (29.3), and second in scoring defense (61.6) and rebounding margin (+3.7).  Reboul, who won his 400th career game on Feb. 11, earns his second Big South Coach of the Year award in three seasons, and finished just five points ahead of Coastal Carolina’s Buzz Peterson for the coaching honor.

Ellis is UNC Asheville’s second Freshman of the Year winner, ending the regular-season with a 10.0 per game average, good for 21st in the League, while ranking second in overall free throw percentage (.821).  In Conference Games, he averaged 12.4 points and started 12 of the Bulldogs’ 16 games.  Against League foes, Ellis was .493 from the field (69-of-14), .791 from the line and averaged 3.6 rebounds.  He moved into the starting line-up on Jan. 16 at Coastal Carolina and produced 28 points against the Chanticleers, and topped that performance with 29 points at Birmingham-Southern on Feb. 1.  A three-time Freshman of the Week honoree, Ellis scored 20 points in four different League games, while his 29-point performance at BSC was the most points scored by a UNC Asheville freshman in more than 20 years.  Ellis edged out Coastal Carolina frosh Joseph Harris by two points for the honor.

Konare receives the Conference’s first-ever Defensive Player of the Year Award.  The 6-8 forward ranks first in the Big South in blocked shots (66) and per game average (2.44) and had twice as many blocks in Conference play (43) as any other player in the Big South this season.  Konare recorded a blocked shot in 25 of 27 games and owns 18 games of two-or-more, including seven with at least four.    He also averaged 5.2 rebounds and notched 25 steals.

Joining Leasure on the All-Conference First-team are High Point’s Arizona Reid, Liberty’s Larry Blair and Winthrop’s Torrell Martin and James Shuler.  Blair, Martin and Shuler are repeat selections from a year ago, while Reid, an All-Freshman Team honoree last year, receives his first nod.  The entire 2005-06 All-Conference team is as follows:

2005-06 Big South Conference Men’s Basketball Award Winners

First-team All-Conference
Jack Leasure, G, Soph., Coastal Carolina
Larry Blair, G, Jr., Liberty
Arizona Reid, F, Soph., High Point
Torrell Martin, G, Jr., Winthrop
James Shuler, F, Sr., Winthrop

Second-team All-Conference
Whit Holcomb-Faye, G, Sr., Radford
Chris Oliver, F, Jr., Radford
James Collins, G, Sr., Birmingham-Southern
Pele Paelay, G, Sr., Coastal Carolina
Reggie Williams, F, Soph., VMI

All-Freshman Team
Michael Ellis, G, UNC Asheville
Joseph Harris, F, Coastal Carolina
Travis Holmes, G, VMI
Anthony Smith, G, Liberty
Justin Dunn, F, High Point

Academic All-Conference
Bucky McMillan, Jr., Birmingham-Southern
Trent Drafts, R-Sr., Charleston Southern
Jack Leasure, Soph., Coastal Carolina
Russell Monroe, Soph., Liberty
Chad Mohn, Sr., UNC Asheville
Tadas Mankevicius, Sr., VMI

Player of the Year
Jack Leasure, G, Soph., Coastal Carolina

Defensive Player of the Year
Issa Konare, F, Sr., High Point

Freshman of the Year
Michael Ellis, F, UNC Asheville

Coach of the Year
Duane Reboul, Birmingham-Southern

Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Jack Leasure, Soph., Coastal Carolina