Four members of South Georgia State College’s men’s basketball team received postseason honors recently from the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA), and head coach Cory Baldwin offered reflections on the 2017-2018 season that saw the Hawks make their fourth consecutive appearance in the GCAA semifinals.
Tracy Hector, Jr., a 6’5” redshirt sophomore from Mobile, Ala., was named GCAA Defensive Player of the Year, second team All-GCAA, and to the GCAA’s All-Defensive Team. Hector averaged 15 points, 9.3 rebounds, and seven assists per game for the Hawks (23-9, 11-5). He finished in the top five in rebounding average, defensive rebounds (154), total rebounds (222), assists (168), and steals (74).
“Good basketball always starts with good defense,” said Hector. “It’s a blessing to receive these awards.”
Nate Louis, a 5’11” sophomore from Miami, Fla., was a first team All-GCAA selection. Louis averaged 17.7 points (fourth in the GCAA) and six assists per game. Like Hector, Louis was a top five player in many categories – free throw shooting (81 percent), three-point shooting (42.8 percent), total points (566), total assists (196), and total steals (70).
“It’s truly an honor to be named first team all-conference. I played with a heavy heart all year. God is good,” said Louis.
Jacob Spence, a 6’7” redshirt sophomore from Fernandina Beach, Fla., was named to the GCAA’s All-Defensive Team. Spence averaged eight points and 6.4 rebounds per game. He finished in the top five in offensive rebounds (92) and the top ten in total rebounds (206).
“It was a good season, although it didn’t finish like we had hoped,” Spence said. “I feel like I have joined a family here and feel like I will always have a place in Waycross.”
An additional GCAA All-Academic Award was presented to Louis and sophomore Willem Vermylen.
“As always, I love that this team has received honors and awards for their excellence both on the court and in the classroom,” Baldwin said.
After starting conference play 0-2, the Hawks fought their way back to earn the second seed in the GCAA Tournament. A 90-85 loss in the semifinals to the tournament champion Central Georgia Tech Titans ended the Hawks’ season prematurely, but Baldwin was quick to point out that this was accomplished with a fairly young team.
“This year we only had Nate (Louis) and Sheldon (Hendrix) who played major minutes for us last season, and they weren’t even starters,” said Baldwin. “For us to have this success speaks volumes for the grit, toughness, and leadership from those two this season.”
Hawks basketball will begin its tenth season this fall, and Baldwin said he is grateful for the continued support from the fans.
“Our fan support in Waycross grew more than ever this season, and I am extremely excited about the possibilities for season 10,” he said.