Cooper, Conyers and Simpson earn honors Print E-mail
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CLEVELAND, OH -- The Mid-American Conference has announced that Ohio's D.J. Cooper, Akron's Jimmy Conyers and Kent State's Anthony Simpson have earned top honors for the 2009-10 basketball season. Cooper was named Freshman of the Year, Conyers was tabbed as Defensive Player of the Year and Simpson was selected as this year's Sixth Man of the Year.

The Freshman of the Year award was voted on by a 24-member MAC News Media Association Panel, while the Defensive Player of the Year and Sixth Man of the Year were voted on by the league's head coaches.

Cooper received 22 of 24 votes for Freshman of the Year as Toledo's Jake Barnett and Akron's Zeke Marshall each received one vote apiece.

Cooper is currently second on the Ohio Bobcat team in scoring (13.5 ppg.), second in rebounds (5.6 rpg.) and leads the team in assists (6.0 apg.) and steals (2.7 spg). As of March 4th, Cooper ranks sixth in the nation in steals per game and 11th in assists, which makes him one of just two players (Junard Hartley of Campbell) in the nation to rank in the top 15 of both categories. He is ranked ninth in the conference during league play with 15.1 ppg. and first in assists (6.3 per game) and steals (2.7 per game).

Cooper becomes the fifth Bobcat to win Freshman of the Year honors. Paul Graham received the honor in 1986, Rush Floyd in 1991, Gary Trent in 1993 and Leon Williams in 2005.

"DJ has had a terrific season and is well deserving of the honor," Ohio head coach John Groce said. "I am very excited about his development this year and look forward to coaching him as he continues to grow on and off the court."

Conyers leads Akron in scoring (12.1 ppg) and rebounding (7.1 rpg) in MAC games, and ranks second on the team in scoring (9.9 ppg) and first in rebounding (6.8 ppg, ranks sixth in the MAC) in all games. He has a team-high37 steals (19 in MAC play) and had a career-high-tying four steals three times this season. In addition, Conyers brought down 134 of his 212 rebounds off the defensive glass. His most notable game this season came when he grabbed a career-best 19 rebounds in 77-65 win over UIC on Dec. 22, which set a new Rhodes Arena record in that category by an Akron player.

"This is a tribute to Jimmy's work ethic," said Akron head coach Keith Dambrot. "He has been our top rebounder all season and has great ability to guard both inside and outside play. I couldn't be any more proud of him. He is without a doubt our most valuable player and without his efforts this season we would not have enjoyed the successes we have thus far."

It marks the second time in as many years that an Akron player has won the Defensive Player of the Year award. Last season the Zips' Nate Linhart took home the honor.

Averaging 8.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, Simpson gave Kent State a spark off the bench throughout the season. He was even better in MAC play averaging 9.9 ppg and 6.0 rpg while ranking second in the league with a 58.5 field goal percentage. In addition he shot 56.5 percent (13-23) from three against MAC opponents. Saving his best performance of the year for the regular season finale, Simpson poured in a career high 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds as the Golden Flashes defeated Akron to win the MAC Championship. Kent State is 13-0 this season when Simpson scores in double figures.

"Anthony is an easy choice for the award, we were undefeated when he scored in double figures so his impact with our team is clear," said Kent State head Coach Geno Ford. "Unselfishly he volunteered to come off the bench this season and consistently provide us a lift every time he stepped on the court. This is a well deserved honor for him."

Simpson is the second Kent State player to earn Sixth Man of the Year honors joining Kevin Warzynski who won in 2006.

Men's Quarterfinal action takes place at Quicken Loans Arena on Thursday as No. 2 Central Michigan takes on No. 7 Western Michigan at Noon, No. 3 Akron faces off against No. 6 Eastern Michigan at 2:30 p.m., No. 1 Kent State plays No. 9 Ohio at 7 p.m. and No. 4 Miami will tangle with No. 5 Buffalo at 9:30 p.m. All games will be broadcast on FS Ohio.

Courtesy of MAC Sports

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