Southern Miss basketball duo named finalists for national coach, player of the year

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)(Rogelio V. Solis | AP)
Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 2:58 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Southern Miss men’s basketball’s head coach and star player continue to rack up individual awards after a near-NCAA record breaking turnaround season.

After being named the 2022-2023 Sun Belt Conference Regular Season champions, Golden Eagles head coach Jay Ladner was named as the 2022-2023 Sun Belt Coach of the Year two weeks ago after finishing the regular season with a 25-6 record - an 18-game turnaround after winning just seven games the season before.

Coach Ladner was also named as a finalist for the Hugh Durham National Coach of the Year award Wednesday, an annual award given to the top mid-major Division 1 head coach.

Southern Miss’ leading scorer, guard Austin Crowley, was named as a finalist for the Lou Henson National Player of the Year award Thursday, an award given to the best men’s basketball mid-major player.

The junior transfer averaged 16.1 points per game during the 2022-2023 regular season and has a team-leading 62 steals.

Prior to being tabbed as a finalist for the Lou Henson award, Crowley was touted as the Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year and named to the first-team All-Sun Belt squad.

The winner of the 2023 awards will be announced in March at the Houston site of the men’s NCAA Basketball Championship.

Despite not making the NCAA Tournament, the Golden Eagles will still go dancing and play postseason games in the National Invitational Tournament, a competition that Southern Miss has won in the past.

In fact, Coach Ladner will know a thing or two about what it takes the win the NIT as he was a player with the 1987 Golden Eagles squad that won the tournament.

Southern Miss will learn their destination and opponent Saturday, March 12, during the NIT selection day.

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