March 10, 2013
RUSTON - After leading the Louisiana Tech men's basketball team to the program's first ever Western Athletic Conference regular season championship in just his second year as head coach, Michael White was selected as the WAC Coach of the Year by the league's 10 head coaches announced today.
LA Tech reeled off 16 straight conference wins from late December to early March, finishing with a 16-2 mark and earning the No. 1 seed in the WAC Tournament set to begin March 12-16 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.
"This is a staff and program award that is normally given to a team that has success," said White. "It is a reflection of the year that we have had and the job that my staff has done."
Coach White is the first Bulldog coach in school history to receive the Don Haskins Coach of the Year honor.
Appleby was a second team All-WAC selection his freshman year, and made the first team this season after leading the Bulldogs in scoring during conference action with 12.3 points per game.
Smith earned his first ever postseason honor, leading the WAC in assists per game with an average of 4.89 and was second in assist-to-turnover ratio.
The first team was led by Idaho senior Kyle Barone who was also voted the WAC's Player of the Year. Denver's Chris Udofia and New Mexico State's Bandja Sy rounded out the other first team selections.
Smith also joined sophomore forward Michale Kyser as members of the WAC's all-defensive team along with Denver's Chase Hallam and Udofia and New Mexico State's Daniel Mullings.
After breaking the freshman school record for most steals in a single season with 42 swipes, Smith needs only one more steal to add to his 53 already to also break the sophomore school record.
Freshman guard Alex Hamilton was chosen to the WAC's all-newcomer team. The Chipley, Fla. native averaged 8.6 points per game during conference play, tied for the second highest average on the team behind Appleby.
"I'm ecstatic for our four young men who received recognition from the WAC," said White. "Their teammates were a big part of their success and I know all four of them would trade individual success for a championship this week."
Also selected to the WAC's all-newcomer team were New Mexico State's Sim Bhullar who was also chosen as the WAC Freshman of the Year, Texas State's Joel Wright and Utah State's Spencer Butterfield and Jarred Shaw.
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