Jesuit’s Highsmith Named MEC Player of the Year
WLU’s Howlett, Bolon are top coach, freshman
BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — Wheeling Jesuit’s Haywood Highsmith has been selected as the Mountain East Conference Player of the Year, while West Liberty’s Dalton Bolon was tabbed as the league’s Freshman of the Year. WLU’s Ben Howlett was chosen as the MEC Coach of the Year.
Highsmith, a senior from Baltimore, Md., filled the box score on a nightly basis averaging 21.7 points, 12.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.7 blocks. He leads the league in rebounding and is fourth in the country in that category, and is second in scoring and field-goal percentage. His 24 double-doubles this year lead the country.
Bolon, a native of Gnadenhutten, Ohio, averaged 16.9 points and 5.5 rebounds in his first season with the Hilltoppers. Bolon leads all MEC freshmen in scoring and is third in the country among freshmen in that category. Bolon averages 3.15 made 3s per game (second in the league), and is shooting 41 percent from behind the arc.
Howlett led West Liberty to a 25-2 record in his first season as head coach of the Hilltoppers. He also directed WLU to a 20-2 conference record and the MEC regular-season championship. Howlett’s 25 wins are the most by a first-year coach at West Liberty. WLU has been nationally ranked in the top 10 for the entirety of the regular season, including two weeks at No. 1. Howlett’s squad is among the national leaders in multiple categories, including No. 1 in the country in scoring (106.7), assists (20.9), assist/turnover ratio (2.04) and turnover margin (+8.6).
The league also announced the 2017-18 all-conference teams. Shepherd’s A.J. Carr, Wheeling Jesuit’s Pat Moseh and West Liberty’s Dan Monteroso are returning first team picks this year, joining Highsmith. Keir Anderson (Charleston), Taiwo Badmus (UVa-Wise), Tommy Bolte (Concord) and Pat Johnson-Agwu (West Virginia State) complete the first team.
Three Fairmont State players earned second-team honors in Caleb Davis, Jason Jolly and Vonte Montgomery. Bolon earned a spot on the second team, as did West Virginia Wesleyan’s Aaron Ariri, Wheeling Jesuit’s Preston Boswell, Glenville State’s Darhius Nunn and UVa-Wise’s Michal Seals.
Malik Jacobs (Urbana), Thomas Lang (Shepherd), Kyauta Taylor (Notre Dame) and Jordan Watson (West Liberty) earned honorable mention recognition.