Image Courtesy of Gerry Wall
BANNER ELK, N.C. – Five members of the Lees-McRae College men's basketball team were honored by Conference Carolinas this morning in Banner Elk with All-Conference recognitions. Lepreece Lynch earned a spot on the All-Conference Carolinas First Team, while Jordan Turner and Jason Saintizaire notched spots on the league's third team. Quay Kimble took home Freshman of the Year honors, while Head Coach Steve Hardin won the Coach of the Year award.
Lynch saved his best for his last season in the Green & Gold as he set new career-bests in scoring average, field goal percentage, three-point field goal percentage, free throw percentage, rebounding average and assists per game. Additionally, Lynch also paced the Bobcats in scoring, rebounds and steals in 2017-18. Lynch becomes the second Bobcat player in the last three seasons to be named first team all-conference joining former teammate Austin Anderson who earned the same honor following the 2015-16 campaign.
Much like fellow senior Lynch, Turner turned his best collegiate season to date in 2017-18. The Hickory, N.C. native was a major reason why the Bobcats led the league in three-point field percentage (40.3). Turner connected on 89 shots from beyond the arc, which is the fourth-most by a Bobcat in a single-season in the history of the program. For his career, Turner is third-all-time in Bobcat history with 192 made three-pointers.
Saintizaire made a definite impact in his first season in Banner Elk. Saintizaire, who transferred to Lees-McRae from Western Oklahoma State, finished fourth in the conference shooting 57.3 percent from the field. The Lakewood, Florida native finished with 10 points or more 21 times in 28 games played, while shooting a team-high 172 free throws in 2017-18.
Like Saintizaire, Kimble made a huge impact on Lees-McRae in his first season on Dunk Mountain. Kimble started 22 of the 27 games he played in as a true freshman. The Shelby, N.C. native paced the team with 93 assists on the season, while also finishing fifth on the team averaging 9.9 points per game during his freshman campaign.
Rounding out the award winners for Lees-McRae on the day was Head Coach Steve Hardin. Hardin has guided the Bobcats to new heights during the 2017-18 season including but not limited to: most wins in a single season (21), first ever regional ranking, first postseason victory and highest-ever conference finish for the program (2nd). Hardin, who is in his sixth season as the Head Coach for the Bobcats, now has coached three of the winningest seasons in Bobcat basketball history (21 wins – 2017-18, 16 wins - 2015-16, 15 wins – 2014-15).
The Bobcats will return to action later today when they take on third-seeded Barton in the semifinal round of the Conference Carolinas tournament. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. from Williams Gymnasium.