FRANKFORT, Ky. — University of Rio Grande men’s basketball standout D.D. Joiner was named Mid-South Conference Freshman of the Year, while also being named to the All-MSC Second Team during last Thursday’s annual awards banquet prior to the start of the MSC Tournament.
Joiner led a trio of RedStorm players recognized by the league for their performances both on the court and in the classroom.
Sophomore guards Travis Elliott and Evan Legg both were among those who received Academic All-MSC honors.
Both teams were named prior to the start of the MSC Tournament at the league’s annual awards banquet in Frankfort, Ky.
“It’s always good when you have individuals honored for their accomplishments,” said Rio Grande head coach Ken French. “D.D. Joiner more than earned the Freshman of the Year and there were some good freshmen in the league. The awards that Travis and Evan received - that’s why they’re here. They take being a student-athlete very seriously and I’m proud of them both. They work hard in the classroom and on the court.”
Joiner led the RedStorm in scoring at 15.3 points per game, including a career-high 42 points in a double overtime win at the University of the Cumberlands. The 42-point outing ranked as the top single-game performance in the conference this season and tied fourth-highest single-game total in NAIA Division I this season.
Joiner, a native of Columbus, Ohio, appeared in 28 games for Rio, including 24 starts, and also averaged 4.6 rebounds per contest. He connected on 45.7 percent of his overall field goal attempts (164-for-359), while shooting 32.7 percent from three-point range (48-for-147) and 76.1 percent from the free throw line (51-for-67).
Joiner becomes Rio’s second straight Freshman of the Year selection. Legg grabbed the honor last season.
“D.D. was probably our most consistent player and he’s got a chance to have a great career here,” French said. “He’s one the pillars that we’re trying to build a foundation with. We’ve had the Freshman of the Year for two straight years now and we’re getting better. We’re taking small steps, but we’re getting better. I think he was worthy of the first team, but we needed to have a little more team success for that to happen. Still, to be Second Team as freshman in our league is huge.”
The 10-player all-conference first team was comprised of the University of Pikeville’s Jamar “Duece” Briscoe and Trevor Setty, Antonio Bumpus and Benito Santiago, Jr. from the University of the Cumberlands, Bluefield College’s Byron Carpenter, Kalen Kimberland and DeAntra Scott from Lindsey Wilson College, Tyler Morgan of Shawnee State University, Georgetown College’s Vic Moses and Vernon Payne from Campbellsville University.
In addition to Joiner, the All-MSC Second Team included Shawnee State’s Jeremy Bennington; Deon Boyce and Javon Moore from the University of Virginia’s College at Wise; Daronte’ Clark and Wes Hanspard of Lindsey Wilson; Campbellsville’s Justin Ennis; Kearsten Marion from Bluefield; Arthur McMillian and Travis Wilkins of St. Catharine College; and the Georgetown duo of Allan Thomas and Monty Wilson.
Briscoe was named the league’s Player of the Year, while Lindsey Wilson head coach Paul Peck was the league’s Coach of the Year Shawnee State’s Tyler Boyles was the MSC Champions of Character Award winner.
The awards were selected through balloting of the league’s head coaches, who were not allowed to vote for their own players or themselves.
Elliott and Legg were among 22 student-athletes recognized with Academic All-MSC honors.
In order to be nominated by an institution, the student-athlete must have a minimum grade point average of 3.25 on a 4.00 scale and must be at least a sophomore in academic status.
Cumberland University’s seven honorees represented the highest total of any single school on the list.