UCA's Howard earns player of the year honors
FRISCO, Texas - The men’s basketball Player of the Year in the Southland Conference was announced Monday, and to no one’s surprise, the honor went to University of Central Arkansas guard Jordan Howard.
Senior guard Mathieu Kamba was an honorable mention selection while freshman center Hayden Koval was named to the SLC All-Defensive team.
Howard, a 5-foot-11 senior from Chandler, Ariz., had one of the best statistical seasons in league history. He led the conference in scoring (25.8 points per game), three-pointers (104), free-throws made (189) and free-throw percentage (89.6 percent). Howard is third in the nation in scoring average, second in total points, 10th in three-pointers per game and 11th in total three-pointers. His scoring average was 6.3 points higher than the No. 2 scorer and his three-point total was 13 ahead of second-place.
Howard set the UCA and Arkansas Division I career records for points with 2,443 and set the UCA, Arkansas and SLC career record for three-pointers with 377. Howard also owns the top three single-season three-point marks at UCA with 104 this season, 101 last year and 95 as a sophomore.
Howard is the current active scoring leader in the nation and is second in three-pointers. He has scored in double figures in 116 of his 120 career games at UCA and has made at least one three-pointer in 116 of 120. He has topped the 40-point mark twice this season and has 13 games of 30-plus points over his career.
Howard, who played at Perry High School, closed out his regular-season on Saturday by leading the Bears with 26 points in a 61-58 victory over Northwestern State. Howard and the Bears earned the seventh seed at the SLC Tournament and will face No. 6 Lamar at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Merrell Center in Katy, Texas.
Kamba, a 6-foot-5 guard from Calgary, Alberta, is UCA’s second-leading scorer at 14.2 points per game and the Bears’ leading rebounder with 6.2 per game. He is in rare company in UCA history as a player to score 1,000 career points and pull down 600 career rebounds. Kamba has 1,406 points and 687 rebounds, both Top 10 marks in the UCA record books.
Kamba is also a career 53-percent shooter from the field and has added 211 career assists, 96 career steals and 81 career blocked shots. He has eight career double-doubles and has scored in double figures in 73 games during his four-year career at UCA.
Koval, a 7-foot freshman from Prosper, Texas, leads the SLC in blocked shots by a wide margin, averaging 3.1 per game, a better average than six teams in the SLC. He is ranked sixth in the nation in blocked shots per game and seventh in total blocks. Koval set the UCA single-game record with 11 blocked shots against Houston Baptist. His total of 92 this season is just seven short of tying the school record held by Durrell Nevels since 2007.
The Bears won a Division I-record 16 games this season and put together their best SLC finish with a 10-8 record. UCA will be making its second consecutive appearance in the Southland Conference Tournament this week.