What You Need to Know:
* Freshman D’Marcus Simonds earned Sun Belt Freshman of the Year honors on Monday, along with All-Sun Belt Third Team honors.
* Senior Jeremy Hollowell garnered All-Sun Belt Second 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 Louisiana and No. 10 Little Rock. The game will air live on WatchESPN.


NEW ORLEANS, La.-Georgia State freshman D’Marcus Simonds earned Sun Belt Freshman of the Year honors on Monday, becoming just the second freshman in program history to earn such honors. Simonds, along with senior Jeremy Hollowell each earned All-Sun Belt recognition.

After leading the Panthers in scoring, Hollowell earned All-Sun Belt Second Team honors, while Simonds earned All-Sun Belt Third Team recognition.

Hollowell finished the regular season averaging 15.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, playing a team-high 30.8 minutes per game. The senior from Indianapolis has knocked down a team-high 54 3-pointers, dished out 50 assists and swiped 30 steals. He earned Sun Belt Player of the Week honors on Jan. 17 and has scored 20 or more points eight times this season. Hollowell recorded his second career double-double on senior day against Georgia Southern, finishing with 15 points and 12 rebounds. He also scored the 1,000th point of his career earlier this season.

Simonds joins R.J. Hunter as the only players in school history to earn conference freshman of the year honors. He enters the postseason averaging 13.1 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, while shooting 56.1 percent from the floor. He has swiped a team-high 34 steals and is third on the team with 52 assists. He was named College Sports Madness National Mid-Major Player of the Week on Jan. 30, and a day later garnered Sun Belt Player of the Week recognition. Earlier this year he was named tournament MVP of the Cancun Challenge after scoring a career-high 26 points against NJIT.

“I’m very pleased to see Jeremy and D’Marcus earn such honors from the coaches in the Sun Belt,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “I’ve known Jeremy for a very long time and it was great for him to be honored as a senior. As for D’Marcus, the future is very bright for him and I think these are just the first of many awards that he will receive in the future.”

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 Louisiana and No. 10 Little Rock. 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.

2016-17 SUN BELT MEN’S BASKETBALL AWARD WINNERS 

First Team All-Sun Belt

Tookie Brown (Georgia Southern, Sophomore, G, Sport Management)

Ike Smith (Georgia Southern, Sophomore, G, Sport Management)

Kevin Hervey (UTA, Junior, F, Interdisciplinary Studies)

Kavin Gilder-Tilbury (Texas State, Senior, F, General Studies)

Jordon Varnado (Troy, Sophomore, F)

 

Second Team All-Sun Belt

Devin Carter (Arkansas State, RS Senior, G, Interdisciplinary Studies)

Jeremy Hollowell (Georgia State, Senior, F, Interdisciplinary Studies)

Bryce Washington (Louisiana, Junior, F, Accounting)

Jay Wright (Louisiana, Senior, G, General Studies)

Erick Neal (UTA, Junior, G, Broadcast Communications)

 

Third Team All-Sun Belt

Ronshad Shabazz (Appalachian State, Sophomore, G, Undecided)

Jaylen Shaw (Coastal Carolina, Junior, G)

D’Marcus Simonds (Georgia State, Freshman, G, Undecided)

Frank Bartley IV (Louisiana, Junior, G, Sociology)

Wesley Person (Troy, Junior, G, Global Business)

 

Player of the Year

Kevin Hervey (UTA, Junior, F, Interdisciplinary Studies)

 

Defensive Player of the Year

Jay Wright (Louisiana, Senior, G, General Studies)

 

Freshman of the Year

D’Marcus Simonds (Georgia State, Freshman, G, Undecided)

 

Newcomer of the Year

Frank Bartley IV (Louisiana, Junior, G, Sociology)

 

Joe Gottfried Coach of the Year

Scott Cross, UTA