A trio of honors came down Tuesday for WKU men’s basketball players. Redshirt-freshman Chris Harrison-Docks has been named the Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year, becoming the fourth Hilltopper to win that honor in the SBC.
Meantime, junior guard T.J. Price was named second-team all-conference after leading the team in scoring with 15.4 points per game. Junior forward George Fant was named to the third team, All Sun-Belt Conference. Fant led the team in scoring ten times during the regular season.
The Hilltoppers play in the semifinals of the Sun Belt Conference tournament Saturday afternoon in New Orleans.
Also Tuesday, junior Chastity Gooch of the WKU women’s basketball team was named the conference Defensive Player of the Year. Kendall Noble was named the women’s Freshman of the Year. The WKU women open up the Sun Belt Conference tournament Wednesday night against Louisiana-Lafayette.
The WKU men’s basketball team heads into the weekend on the verge of another 20-win season.
The Hilltoppers are traveling to the Lone Star State in search of another Sun Belt conference victory. WKU will enter Saturday night’s game against UT-Arlington with a 19-9 record, with 11 wins and four losses in the Sun Belt Conference.
You can read more about the UT-Arlington game at WKU Sports.
The Hilltoppers are in second place in the Sun Belt, behind only Georgia State.
WKU hopes to continue the momentum from Thursday's win over Texas State, which saw the Tops rally from a 12 point deficit and win by one. The team's final home game is next Thursday against Sun Belt foe Louisiana-Lafayette.
Trency Jackson scored 25 points and Chris Harrison-Docks added 15 as Western Kentucky got off to a fast start and beat Louisiana-Monroe 72-63 on Saturday night.
Western Kentucky (18-9, 10-4 Sun Belt Conference) raced to an 18-1 lead to start the game as Louisiana-Monroe (8-14, 5-9) struggled to score. It took the Warhawks more than 8½ minutes to make their first field goal.
The Hilltoppers held a 43-28 advantage in rebounding, which helped them overcome their own offensive struggles. Western Kentucky won their eighth game out of their last 10 despite shooting just 39.7 percent from the field and hitting only 17 of 32 field goals. The Hilltoppers also committed only six turnovers.
Tylor Ongwae scored 19 points and Jayon James had 13 for Louisiana-Monroe, which has now lost seven of its last nine.
Darel Carrier looks back on his childhood, his pro career and his three remarkable years at WKU
Darel Carrier’s new home just outside of Bowling Green features an expansive workout room in the basement. Upstairs there’s a display of many of the mementos from his distinguished college and pro basketball careers. He enjoys giving visitors a detailed tour of the home, right down to the insulation
The handsome, two-story house is a far cry from his humble beginnings in Warren County.
His family's house growing up lacked electricity or a bathroom until he was a teen, but Carrier found a way to sharpen his basketball skills.
“I saved up enough money to buy my first ball and goal. It was a little lace up ball and a goal for $3.99. I put it on the side of a corn crib and I shot with my little ball through that goal for two or three days,” said Carrier. “My ball went over the fence and a big ol’ hog took a bite of it. That was the last of my ball.”
Later this month, another jersey will be hoisted to the rafters at E.A. Diddle Arena. The WKU Athletics Department has announced that Bowling Green native Darel Carrier will have his uniform No. 35 retired on February 22nd as WKU plays host to the University of Louisiana-Monroe.
He’ll be the eight person affiliated with WKU Men’s basketball to have his jersey retired, joining E.A. Diddle, Clem Haskins, Thom Marhsall Jim McDaniels, John Oldham, Carlisle Towery and Bobby Rascoe. Carrier was a Hilltopper from 1962 to 1964 and later played professionally in the ABA.
Four new opponents highlight the WKU Hilltoppers’ 2014 football schedule. The school’s athletic department announced the schedule Monday afternoon. It will be the first year for the ‘Toppers in Conference USA and they’ll open up the schedule on Thursday, Aug. 28 against Bowling Green State at L.T. Smith Stadium.
They’ll take on Illinois for the first time in school history September 6th and will also face conference opponents Old Dominion, Texas-El Paso and Texas-San Antonio for the first time.
Army travels to Bowling Green to take on WKU November 15th. The school also announced its ticket plans for the 2014 season on Monday.
WKU has a new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Head coach Jeff Brohm has selected Cincinnati’s Tyson Helton to fill the role that Brohm himself held last season. Helton spent one year as special teams coordinator and tight ends coach at Cincinnati. The Bearcats had a 9-4 season and appeared in the Belk Bowl against North Carolina.
Helton has 13 years of coaching experience, including six at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Brohm and Helton were on the same staff at UAB in 2012.
Helton, 36, played football and earned his bachelor’s degree from Houston. He and his wife April have two daughters, ages 10 and 8 and twin 5-year-old boys.
With the largest collegiate athletic conferences pushing to allow extra financial benefits for players, smaller schools like WKU are wondering how such changes would impact their bottom lines.
The issue of increasing compensation for college athletes is being discussed this week at an NCAA summit in San Diego. A group of high-profile conferences wants the ability to grant stipends that would pay for costs not covered by athletic scholarships.
NCAA President Mark Emmert recently said he believes such a stipend plan will soon become a reality.
WKU athletic director Todd Stewart says nothing is set in stone yet about how such stipends would be used.
WKU football is heading into a new conference with its third head coach in as many seasons.
At a news conference Friday afternoon on campus, Jeff Brohm was introduced as the new Hilltopper head coach. Brohm served last season as WKU’s offensive coordinator under Bobby Petrino, who left this week after 13 months on the Hill to become the coach at Louisville.
Brohm was asked whether he considered going to U of L with Petrino.
“Well, that was obviously always in the discussion, and Coach (Petrino) knew what I wanted," said Brohm, a Louisville native and former star University of Louisville quarterback. "There were some things that came up before this, some opportunities that I had a chance to do."
"We sat down and talked and Coach told me I had a great opportunity to be the (WKU) head football coach if I do things right.”