The Horizon League regular-season title may have eluded Wright State, but the Raiders have secured a couple of major all-conference awards.
Loudon Love is the Freshman of the Year, and Scott Nagy is the Coach of the Year, the league announced Wednesday.
A panel of conference coaches and media members also voted senior guard Grant Benzinger first team All-Horizon League, while placing Love on the second team and naming junior guard Mark Hughes to the all-defensive team.
“I think that the awards given out are essential team awards for us, I think that’s how the guys look at it, and I’m sure they’re all very humbled for being honored,” Nagy said. “All three of them made tremendous contributions to our basketball team and certainly are very deserving.”
Love, a 6-foot-9, 275-point center, led the conference in rebounding (9.7) and was 15th in scoring (12.7) and second in field-goal percentage (.533). He recorded 12 double-doubles, including a 23-point, 15-rebound performance to rally the Raiders from 14 down Sunday in an 88-81 win at UIC.
Named the conference freshman of the week seven times, Love is the first freshman of the year in WSU history.
Julius Mays (junior, 2011), Cain Doliboa (senior, 2002), Jesse Deister (junior, 2001), Kevin Melson (junior, 1999) and Vitaly Potapenko (sophomore, 1995) all won newcomer of the year when players transferring into the conference were eligible for the award.
The league reclassified it as freshman of the year prior to the 2012-13 season.
For Nagy, this is his first conference coach of the year award in nine seasons at the Division I level (seven at South Dakota State and two at WSU).
Picked to finish fifth, Wright State got off to an 8-0 start and led the league for most of the season and swept regular-season champ Northern Kentucky.
Nagy won five North Central Conference C.O.Y. awards (2003, 2002, 1998, 1997, 1996) when South Dakota State was a Division II program.
Benzinger, who was voted second team last year, ranked eighth in the league in scoring (14.6), first in free throw percentage (.891) and third in 3-point percentage (.371). He also ranked 18th in rebounding (4.9) with a career-high 153 and fifth in minutes (34.4).
Joining Benzinger on the first team are Oakland’s Kendrick Nunn, the HL Player of the Year, and Jalen Hayes, Green Bay’s Khalil Small and NKU’s Drew McDonald.
In addition to Love, the second team featured Youngstown State’s Cameron Morse, Detroit Mercy’s Kameron Chatman, NKU’s Lavone Holland II and Milwaukee’s Jeremiah Bell.
Only coaches voted on the all-defensive team, which Hughes made for the first time. The others are UIC’s Tai Odiase, the Defensive Player of the Year, NKU’s Jalen Tate, Oakland’s Martez Walker and Green Bay’s Small.