What You Need to Know:
* Sophomore D’Marcus Simonds earned Sun Belt Player of the Year honors on Monday, along with All-Sun Belt First Team honors.
* Junior Devin Mitchell garnered All-Sun Belt Third Team recognition for the first time in his career.
* Georgia State will open the Sun Belt tournament on Friday against the winner of No. 7 Troy and No. 10 South Alabama. The game will air live on WatchESPN.


ATLANTA-Georgia State sophomore D’Marcus Simonds earned Sun Belt Player of the Year honors on Monday, becoming the third Panther in the last five years to earn the league’s top honor. Simonds also earned All-Sun Belt First Team recognition, while junior Devin Mitchell garnered All-Sun Belt Third Team honors.

Simonds, who earned freshman of the year honors last year, led the Sun Belt in scoring this season averaging 21.5 points per game. He enters play on Friday just 20 points shy of R.J. Hunter’s school-record of 688 points in a season. Ironically it was Hunter who earned Sun Belt Player of the Year honors the first two seasons that the Panthers returned to the league (2013-14 and 2014-15).

The sophomore is also the league leader in minutes played (35.2), third in steals (1.7), fourth in assists (4.5) and fifth in field goal percentage (46.2). He has been named conference player of the week twice this season while leading Georgia State to a 21-10 mark and the No. 2-seed in the upcoming Sun Belt Conference Championship. He has scored in double-figures in 48-straight games dating back to last year and has already set Georgia State’s field goals made record this season. Less than two weeks ago, he scored the 1,000th point of his career in just 58 games.

Mitchell is having one of the best 3-point shooting seasons in Georgia State history and among the best in the country. The junior has knocked down 89 3-pointers, just 11 shy of R.J. Hunter’s school-record of 100. He is shooting 44.9 percent from 3-point range which ranks first in the Sun Belt and No. 15 in the nation. His 2.9 3-pointers per game is ranked No. 2 in the Sun Belt. He is 20th in the league in scoring (12.5) and 27th in minutes per game (28.6).

Mitchell has three games this year in which he made seven or more 3-pointers, including a 10 3-pointer effort at Little Rock which is the second-most in program history and set a Jack Stephens Center record.

“It is great to see D’Marcus earn the top award in the league and for Devin to be recognized as well,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “It is remarkable to think that Georgia State has had the Sun Belt’s Player of the Year in three of the last five years. The future is bright for both of D’Marcus and Devin and I doubt this will be the last awards that they receive.”

Georgia State will open the Sun Belt tournament on Friday as the No. 2 seed having earned a bye into the quarterfinals. The Panthers will play at 6 p.m. ET against the winner of No. 7 Troy and No. 10 South Alabama. All games of the tournament will be carried by WatchESPN. The championship game will tip at 2 p.m. on Selection Sunday and will be televised nationally on ESPN2.

2017-18 SUN BELT MEN’S BASKETBALL AWARD WINNERS 

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