LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The USC Aiken men’s basketball team had two players, senior guard Re’mon Nelson and junior forward Paul Larsen, selected to the National Association of Basketball Coaches All-Southeast District team. That made both eligible to be named to the Division II All-America team.
Neither Nelson, a first team selection, nor Larsen, a second-team pick, were tabbed by the NABC member coaches to the All-America squad, which was announced Thursday. The team is composed of 16 players described as the finest across America, and there are a couple of players who were named All-Americans who should be familiar to Pacer fans.
One is Aric Miller, a senior guard for Armstrong Atlantic State who finished the regular season as the Peach Belt Conference’s top scorer – averaging 23.7 points per contest. Miller ranked sixth in Division II in scoring this season, tallying 641 points. Miller will take part in the Reese’s Division II College All-Star game today at Freedom Hall.
Another player selected from the Southeast Region is Tyshawn Good, a senior guard from Belmont Abbey. Good was D-II’s top scorer this season with an average of 27.0 points per game, breaking the school record with 864 points. He was also selected to play in today’s All-Star game and scored 26 points against USCA in the first round of the Southeast Regional, but it wasn’t enough as the Pacers prevailed 94-76.
The final player is Alex Hall, a senior guard for Drury University, USCA’s opponent in the Elite Eight. Hall is averaging 19.4 points per game this season and is sixth in the nation in 3-pointers made, trailing Pacer guard Ronald Zimmerman, who’s first in D-II.
The rest of the All-America team includes Kwame Alexander (CSU San Bernardino), Mitchel Anderson (Cal Poly Pomona), Alex Falk (West Liberty), Craig Foster (Cameron), Eric Jean-Guillaume (Franklin Pierce), Ali Haidar (Michigan Tech), Luis Leao (Mercyhurst), Roy Mabrey (St. Anselm), Cameron McCaffrey (Augustana), Jaime Smith (Alabama-Huntsville), Corbin Thomas (Midwestern State), Clayton Vette (Winona State) and Ellis Young III (West Florida).
Another honor for Nelson
Although Nelson wasn’t named an All-American, it has been a year of milestones for the senior point guard. He has already been named the PBC Player of the Year, the PBC Tournament MVP and Most Outstanding Player in the Southeast Regional.
He can add another line to his impressive résumé, as Nelson was also recently named to the 2013 Daktronics All-Southeast Region team. Out of 10 players singled out for the recognition, Nelson was the only Pacer selected, being named to the All-Southeast Region First Team.
Nelson’s averaging 13.8 points, 6.2 assists and 1.7 steals per game this season. Earlier this season, he became the Pacers’ all-time leader in steals and assists – a category that he’s also first all-time in among PBC players – while surpassing the 1,000-point threshold for his career, moving into second place all time in USCA history.
Two of Four
The half of the draw opposite USCA in NCAA Tournament is set, as West Liberty and Metro State punched their tickets for the Final Four. West Liberty (34-1), the Atlantic Regional champion, advanced with a 110-84 win over Central Regional champ Winona State (27-8). Metro State (30-2), the South Central Regional winner, advanced with a 78-65 win over East Regional champion Franklin Pierce (24-8).
Six West Liberty players scored in double figures in the lopsided win for the top-ranked team in the nation. Alex Faulk and Cedric Harris tied for game-high honors with 23 points apiece as West Liberty allowed Winona State to make nearly 60 percent of its field goal attempts in the first half but still trail by nine points at the break.
Metro State, No. 3 in the nation, had four players score in double figures and used defense to create offense with an 18-3 edge over Franklin Pierce in points scored off turnovers. Nicholas Kay led all players with 19 points for Metro State, which will play West Liberty at noon on Saturday in a national semifinal game to be broadcast on CBS Sports Network. The winner of that game will advance to the national championship game in Atlanta’s Philips Arena on April 7.
Pacers give back
Mixed in with practices and meals on Wednesday, the Pacers participated in a community engagement event with local students in the Louisville area. They spent just over an hour with a large group of students at Shelby Traditional Academy and were welcomed with special “Go Pacer” signs created by the students.
USCA head coach Vince Alexander explained to the students why focusing on hard work in the classroom was so important. The students were then given the opportunity to participate in drills with the Pacers, which included an impromptu dunk exhibition by Santoine Butler and Re’mon Nelson.
That was followed by an address from Jesse Seilern, a PBC All-Academic selection. He talked to the students about his success in the classroom and on the hardwood before USCA gave a special autographed basketball to the school. The ball was signed by all of the Pacers and the coaching staff.
Noah Feit is the sports editor for the Aiken Standard and has been a professional journalist for more than a dozen years after graduating from Syracuse University.