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Norfolk State’s Robert Jones voted MEAC men’s hoops Coach of the Year

Norfolk State men’s basketball

NORFOLK, Va. (NSUSpartans.com) – The Norfolk State men’s basketball team had a historic showing on Friday afternoon when the conference office announced the 2018-19 All-MEAC teams. Four players were named to one of the three all-conference teams, another earned a spot on the All-Rookie Team, and head coach Robert Jones was named the league’s Coach of the Year.

Senior guard Derrik Jamerson Jr. and junior guard Nic Thomas each earned a spot on the All-MEAC second team. Senior forward Jordan Butler and junior guard Steven Whitley were named to the All-MEAC third team.

In addition, freshman guard C.J. Kelly was voted to the MEAC All-Rookie Team. NSU’s total of five all-conference players were the most ever for the program in its Division I era, topping the three it had both in 2012-13 and 2013-14.

Norfolk State coach Robert Jones cuts down the net.

Jones earned the program’s second-ever MEAC Coach of the Year award along with Anthony Evans in 2012-13. The sixth-year coach led the Spartans this year to the MEAC regular-season title, the program’s second ever along with that 2012-13 squad. One more win will give the Spartans their first 20-win campaign since the 2014-15 year, and the team ended the regular season with a sterling 14-2 MEAC record. NSU will be the No. 1 seed in next week’s conference tournament.

Thomas emerged in his second season with the Spartans to become the team’s leading scorer this year at 14.6 points per game. He is also averaging 3.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists while hitting 39.8 percent from 3-point range. A native of Arlington, Texas, he was twice named the MEAC Player of the Week. He is currently seventh in the MEAC in scoring, third in 3-point percentage and 3-pointers made, and eighth in free-throw percentage.

Derrik Jamerson Jr.

Jamerson currently leads the nation in 3-point shooting at 50.6 percent. He is tallying 10.5 points per game this year, including 12.8 in MEAC games. The Detroit native has also grabbed 4.0 rebounds per game while also shooting 49.8 percent overall. He earned the MEAC Player of the Week award on Jan. 15 and stands fourth in the MEAC in 3-pointers made, seventh in field-goal percentage and 18th in scoring.

Butler becomes the eighth Spartan player to earn at least two all-MEAC honors in his career. Hailing from Hartford, Connective, he is posting 8.4 points and 6.3 rebounds per game while leading the MEAC in blocks per game at 1.9. He was a two-time MEAC Defensive Player of the Week and also won Player of the Week honors one time.

Whitley owns season averages of 9.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.3 steals per game. He ranks eighth in the MEAC in both steals and assists. He also stood fourth in the league in MEAC games only in assists at 5.1 per game.

Norfolk State celebrates a win.

Kelly joins Butler and Long as current Spartan players who have made the all-rookie team. Kelly also becomes the program’s eighth all-time all-rookie player since the program moved to D-I in 1997. He is averaging 4.6 points and 2.0 rebounds this year, shooting 45.6 percent from the field. He has five double-digit scoring games this season and was a MEAC Rookie of the Week three times.

Howard’s R.J. Cole was named the MEAC Player of the Year, and Cletrell Pope of Bethune-Cookman garnered the Defensive Player of the Year award. MJ Randolph of Florida A&M was voted the Rookie of the Year. Voting was done by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors.

NSU will play either Maryland Eastern Shore or South Carolina State on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the MEAC quarterfinal round at Scope Arena.

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