MBB: Hervey, Neal earn all-Sun Belt honors

March 5, 2018

NEW ORLEANS, La. -- UT Arlington seniors Kevin Hervey and Erick Neal each earned all-Sun Belt Conference recognition today, according to a vote of the league's head coaches.

Hervey, the reigning Sun Belt Player of the Year, earned first team honors while Neal was selected to the second team.

Both Mavericks will conclude their college careers this month as two of the top players in program history. Hervey is the program's all-time leading rebounder and is second in scoring, while Neal is the career assists leader and is third in career scoring.

"I think both Kevin and Erick are clearly very deserving of all-conference recognition," said UTA Head Coach Scott Cross. "They put us on their back. We lean on them a lot. They carry the load offensively for us, making shots, scoring and creating shots for their teammates. They are both very deserving. Frankly, when they are both playing well we win just about every time. When they are playing their best basketball, it rubs off on the rest of the guys."

Hervey, an Arlington native, finished the regular season ranked second in the Sun Belt in scoring (21.1) and rebounding (8.7). He is also among the top 10 in the league in field goal percentage, free throw percentage, steals, 3-pointers and minutes played.

He enters Friday's Sun Belt Championship quarterfinals with the second-highest single season point total in program history and is just 16 rebounds away from the program's single season record.

Neal, a native of Dallas, is the second player in program history to earn all-league honors at least three times. He was a first team selection as a sophomore and earned second team honors as a junior and senior. Only all-time leading scorer Willie Brand received more all-league recognitions, earning first team all-Southland Conference honors as a senior in 1991 after 3-straight second team selections.



The program's all-time assist leader, Neal owns three of the program's top four single season assist totals. He will conclude his career among the top five in career steals and second in career 3-point field goals. He leads the league in assists and steals and is 11th in scoring.

Neal and Big 12 Player of the Year Devonte' Graham of Kansas enter conference championship week as the only two players in the country to finish the regular season averaging at least 16 points, 4 rebounds and 7 assists per game.

UTA enters this week's league championships as the tournament's No. 4 seed and received a first round bye into the event's quarterfinal round. The Mavericks will play the winner of Wednesday's Appalachian State vs. Little Rock contest on Friday at 2 p.m. (ESPN3).

All-Sun Belt First Team
Tookie Brown, Georgia Southern (Junior, G, Madison, Ga.)
D'Marcus Simonds, Georgia State (Sophomore, G, Gainesville, Ga.)
Frank Bartley IV, Louisiana (Senior, G, Baton Rouge, La.)
Bryce Washington, Louisiana (Senior, F, New Orleans, La.)
Kevin Hervey, UTA (Senior, F, Arlington, Texas)

All-Sun Belt Second Team
Ronshad Shabazz, Appalachian State (Junior, G, Raleigh, N.C.)
Travis Munnings, ULM (Junior, F, Freeport, Bahamas)
Rodrick Sikes, South Alabama (Junior, G, Ocean Springs, Miss.)
Erick Neal, UTA (Senior, G, Dallas, Texas)
Jordon Varnado, Troy (Junior, F, Brownsville, Tenn.)

All-Sun Belt Third Team
Devin Mitchell, Georgia State (Junior, G, Suwanee, Ga.)
JaKeenan Gant, Louisiana (Junior, F, Springfield, Ga.)
Sam McDaniel, ULM (Senior, G/F, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia)
Nijal Pearson, Texas State (Sophomore, G, Beaumont, Texas)
Wesley Person, Troy (Senior, G, Brantley, Ala.)

Sun Belt Player of the Year
D'Marcus Simonds, Georgia State (Sophomore, G, Gainesville, Ga.)

Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year
JaKeenan Gant, Louisiana (Junior, F, Springfield, Ga.)

Sun Belt Freshman of the Year
Michael Ertel, ULM (Freshman, G, Indianapolis, Ind.)

Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year
JaKeenan Gant, Louisiana (Junior, F, Springfield, Ga.)

Joe Gottfried Sun Belt Coach of the Year
Bob Marlin, Louisiana

For up-to-date news, photos, videos and updates you can follow UTA sports program online at UTAMavs.com or via any of several social media accounts on twitter @UTAMavs, Instagram @UTAMavs, Snapchat @UTAMavs and Facebook at UTArlingtonAthletics. Follow the UTA basketball programs on Twitter at @UTA_MBB and @LadyMavHoops.

About the Sun Belt Conference
The Sun Belt Conference continues to establish itself as a force to be reckoned with in competition. The 2016-17 athletic season showed that the Sun Belt Conference takes a back seat to no other league in its competitive balance and in proving itself deserving of its status as a member of the NCAA's highest conference tier.

The Sun Belt has gone 8-3 in bowl games the past two years, which makes the Sun Belt's winning percentage the best among all conferences. In fact, over the past four years no one ranks higher in bowl winning percentage than the Sun Belt. The Sun Belt also had the most wins and best win percentage among the "Group of Five" peer conferences, including victories over teams in the two top-rated leagues in the final computer rankings.

During the recent 2016-17 academic year, Sun Belt member institutions awarded over $50 million in scholarships to more than 3,100 student-athletes, while also providing life experiences such as team building, domestic and foreign travel, community service, mentoring and recognition through honors and awards.

Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Louisiana, ULM, South Alabama, Texas State and Troy will give the league 10 football members and enable the Sun Belt to inaugurate divisional football play and stage a conference championship game in 2018. Little Rock and UTA compete as Sun Belt members in all sports other than football.


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