ODU basketball standout BJ Stith named Conference USA Player of the Year; Jones wins COTY

DALLAS (ConferenceUSA.com) – Old Dominion senior guard B.J. Stith has been named the Conference USA Player of the Year for the 2018-19 season, while Monarchs head coach Jeff Jones has been named the Gene Bartow Coach of the Year presented by the Birmingham Tip Off Club.

Brandan and BJ Stith celebrate after a dunk.

These awards were announced today prior to the opening of the 2019 Air Force Reserve Conference USA Men’s Basketball Championships presented by Baylor Scott & White Sports Performance Center at the Ford Center at The Star.  Voting on the awards was done by the C-USA head coaches and media members in each conference city.

Stith picked up the top individual honor after leading the Monarchs to their first regular season C-USA title and first conference crown since winning the 2010 CAA regular season championship.  He was named to the All-Conference USA first team earlier this week.

Stith’s nine double-doubles this season ranks third in the conference, while his 6.1 defensive rebounds per contest also place third.  For the season, he is averaging 7.4 rebounds per game, which ranks sixth in C-USA.  He also ranks sixth in the league in free throw percentage, connecting on 83.6% from the charity stripe.  Stith is averaging 17.3 points per game, which leads the squad and ranks eighth in the league while his 34.2 minutes played per contest places 10th in the conference. Stith ranks 12th in Conference USA with 2.2 three-pointers made per outing and 13th for his 37.4% three-point field-goal percentage.

Stith is the ninth player in Old Dominion program history to earn a conference player of the year award and the first since Alex Loughton won the CAA’s top honor in 2005.

Faced with replacing three starters and two other key contributors from last season’s squad, Jones guided Old Dominion to the regular season crown with a 13-5 league record and a 23-8 overall mark.

ODU men’s basketball coach Jeff Jones

The Monarchs clinched their first C-USA title with two games remaining in the regular season.  Among the highlights of their non-conference campaign was a victory at then-No. 25 Syracuse and a win over Atlantic 10 champion VCU.  ODU was the only team to place multiple players on the All-Conference USA First Team in senior guards Ahmad Caver and B.J. Stith.

Defense has been a big part of the success that Jones’ unit has enjoyed this season.  The Monarchs rank eighth in the nation in field goal percentage defense, holding teams to 38.9% shooting from the floor for the season.  Old Dominion’s defense places 10th in the country for scoring defense, allowing just 61.2 points per game.  ODU’s 39.3 rebounds per game rank 22nd in Division I.

Under Jones’ direction, ODU is two victories away from the 25-win mark for the fourth time in the last five years.  He will be also be taking the Monarchs to postseason play for the fifth consecutive season.

Jones becomes the sixth coach in Old Dominion history to be named conference coach of the year and the first since Blaine Taylor in 2005 (CAA).  This is his third conference coach of the year award, as he was honored by the Patriot League in 2002 and 2009 when he was leading American University.

The last eight C-USA Coach of the Year awards have come from eight different schools.

The C-USA Coach of the Year award is named in honor of Gene Bartow, the legendary former coach at UAB along with other schools, who passed away in January 2012.

2018-19 CONFERENCE USA PLAYER OF THE YEAR 
B.J. Stith, Old Dominion, Sr., G, 6-5, 205, Lawrenceville, Virginia

2018-19 CONFERENCE USA GENE BARTOW COACH OF THE YEAR 
Jeff Jones, Old Dominion (137-66 at ODU, seventh season; 494-353 career, 27th season)

The 2019 Air Force Reserve C-USA Men’s Basketball Championship presented by Baylor Scott & White Sports Performance Center at The Star in Frisco tips off on Wednesday at 6 p.m. CT. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit ConferenceUSA.com.

ODU PLAYER OF THE YEAR HONORS
Ronnie Valentine 1980………ECAC South
Kenny Gattison 1986………Sun Belt
Chris Gatling 1990………Sun Belt
Chris Gatling 1991………Sun Belt
Odell Hodge 1994………CAA
Petey Sessoms 1995………CAA
Odell Hodge 1997………CAA
Alex Loughton 2005………CAA
B.J. Stith 2019..…..C-USA

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