Pigram named POTY, four Bucs honored by A-Sun
Tuesday, February 27, 2007


                MACON, Ga.  (Feb. 27, 2007) - ETSU's Courtney Pigram (Memphis) quickly became one of the most dangerous offensive players in the entire Atlantic Sun Conference while leading the Buccaneers to their first league title since joining the league in 2005. As a result, Pigram claimed A-Sun Player of the Year honors on Tuesday, as voted by the league's head coaches.


Along with Pigram, ETSU head coach Murry Bartow was named Coach of the Year, forward Brad Nuckles (Council, Va.) was named second team All A-Sun, and guard Mike Smith (Vandalia, Mo.) was named to the All A-Sun Freshman Team. The quality showing on the All A-Sun squad was a direct result of the Bucs 22-8 overall record and 16-2 mark in league play, a season that has resulted in the fifth regular season title for the Bucs in seven years.


As for Pigram, he  jumped out of the shadows of last season's conference Player of the Year and 2005-06 teammate Tim Smith (Newport News, Va.) by averaging a team-best 17.2 points per game and leading the A-Sun by drilling 2.70 three-pointers per game. Pigram scored 20 or more points in six conference contests and saved some of his best outings for the team's biggest games. Against second place Belmont, Pigram averaged 19.5 points per game and put up 23 points in the regular season title clinching game at Kennesaw State. He also scored 34 points at Lipscomb to snap the Bisons' 18-game home winning streak, and in his last outing, Pigram dished out a conference record 18 assists.


Meanwhile, one year after losing one of the most prolific scorers in school history, ETSU's Murry Bartow was tabbed A-Sun Coach of the Year by his peers. Nuckles finished the season as the Bucs second leading scorer (11.4) and top rebounder (8.0), posting 12 double-doubles on the season and averaging a near double-double in league play. As for Smith, he posted 10.8 points per game to finish third on the squad.


Pigram and Mercer's James Florence both landed on the All-Atlantic Sun first team. Last year's Tournament MVP Justin Hare joined the guard oriented first team after leading Belmont in scoring and adding to his reputation as a clutch player with some outstanding performances in the final minutes of games as a junior. Another freshman sensation earned first team honors as Campbell's Jonathan Rodriguez was selected for the squad. Jacksonville's Jesse Kimbrough became the only senior on the squad, rebounding from a season-ending injury last season to lead the Dolphins to one of the most impressive turnarounds in A-Sun history.


Nuckles (ETSU), Shaddean Aaron (Mercer), Eddie Ard (Lipscomb), Brian Fisk (Lipscomb), Chris Gash (Gardner-Webb), Boomer Herndon (Belmont), and Ronell Wooten (Kennesaw State) comprised the second team.  Lehmon Colbert (Jacksonville), Ben Smith (Jacksonville) and Mike Smith (ETSU) join Florence and Rodriguez to round out the All-Freshmen squad.  The first team was made up of two freshmen, a sophomore, a junior and one senior making it one of the youngest groups honored.  Jacksonville and ETSU each had a league-best three student-athletes honored.


Fourteen of the 15 student-athletes honored by the conference office will participate in the 2007 General Shale Brick Atlantic Sun Championship.  The tournament opens on Thursday with four games beginning at 1:00pm.