Louisiana Tech Pair Earns C-USA Men's Basketball Top Honors
March 11, 2015
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - Louisiana Tech senior guard Kenneth Smith has been named the Conference USA Player of the Year for the 2014-15 season, while Bulldogs head coach Michael White has been named the Gene Bartow Coach of the Year presented by the Birmingham Tip Off Club. These awards were announced today prior to the opening of the 2015 Conference USA Men's Basketball Championship.
Speedy picked up the honor after leading the Bulldogs to the C-USA regular season C-USA title, marking their third-straight regular season conference championship.
The two-time All-Conference USA First Team and C-USA All-Defensive Team selection leads the league in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio, while swiping the third-most steals in C-USA with 56. He also anchored a defense that forced a league-best 16.1 turnovers and averaged 8.55 steals per game.
"He is one of the best players in college basketball," head coach Michael White said about his star point guard. "He is underappreciated as a player and a person. He has been an awesome addition to the Ruston community, and a big influence on a lot of the young people in our community. He has blossomed into an incredible leader, and a winner."
The St. Petersburg, Florida, native currently ranks third nationally in assists per game (7.5) and has registered nine games this season with double-digit assists. He has started in all 31 games for the Bulldogs. Smith is the program's career record holder for assists and steals.
He is the first Bulldog to win conference player of the year since Gerrod Henderson earned the honor in 2000 in the Sun Belt Conference.
White earns the Conference USA Coach of the Year award after winning back-to-back C-USA regular season titles in just the Bulldogs second year in the league.
He led LA Tech to a 15-3 conference record and 24-7 overall. His team is also riding a 29-game home court win streak that ranks as the fourth-longest nationally.
"Coach Bartow was a close friend of my father," White said. "As a young coach in the business, his name would come up weekly. I became close with his son, Murry Bartow (former UAB coach and current East Tennessee State coach), and learned more and more about Gene's legacy. How good of a coach and a person he was. It is an honor for me and my staff for our names to be minutely associated with Gene Bartow."
The C-USA Coach of the Year award is named in honor of Gene Bartow, the legendary former coach at Memphis and UAB, along with other schools, who passed away in January 2012.
This marks the second time White has been voted as league coach of the year. In 2013, he was named the Don Haskins Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.
The Bulldogs enter the Conference USA Championship as the top seed and will face either North Texas or Rice in a quarterfinal round game on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. in Legacy Arena (BJCC).
For all the latest in Bulldog Basketball, follow them on Twitter (@LATechHoops), Instagram (@LATechHoops) and Facebook (LATechMBB) or visit the official website at LATechSports.com.
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