ULM coach Keith Richard

ULM's men's basketball coach Keith Richard was selected Sun Belt Conference's Coach of the Year in the 2014-15 season. 

After a breakthrough year from the ULM men’s basketball program, senior Tylor Ongwae earned All-Conference First-Team honors, junior Majok Deng was named to the All-Conference Third-Team, and head coach Keith Richard won Coach of the Year, the league office announced Tuesday.

Ongwae, a native of Eldoret, Kenya, led the team in scoring with 13.8 points per game and tied Deng for the team high in rebounding with 6.9 per contest. Ongwae reached double-figures in scoring 20 times this year, including six 20-plus outings.

On the season, Ongwae tallied four double-doubles and four double-figure rebounding games. He registered a season-high 25 points two times. Ongwae played six 40-minute games, all in conference play, including a stretch of four in a row.

Ongwae was the only player from the SBC selected to a Capital One Academic All-District First-Team from any of the eight districts. He was a three-time LSWA Player of the Week winner, two time SBC Player of the Week winner and two time College Sports Madness SBC Player of the Week winner.

It marked the second consecutive All-Conference recognition for Ongwae as he was named to the Third-Team last season.

Deng got it done on both ends of the court, averaging 11.1 points and 6.9 rebounds in conference play. He ranked third in the league in blocks with 1.4 per contest. Deng swatted away a block in 24 games this year, including at least two blocks in 14 games.

The Adelaide, Australia product reached double-figures in scoring 18 times and double-figures in rebounding five times. He posted a team-high five double-doubles on the year, including a big 14-point, 15-rebound outing against UALR at home.

Deng set his career-high in scoring with 21 points on the road against UALR and neared a double-double with nine rebounds. He played 40 minutes twice and ranked third in the league in defensive rebounds with 5.1 per game.

The length of both Ongwae and Deng resulted in big defensive numbers for ULM all season. The duo helped the Warhawks keep the opposition to under 60 points 15 times, including half (10) of their conference games. ULM also ranked top-15 in the nation in both field goal and three-point field goal percentage defense the entire year.

Richard coached the Warhawks to their 11th 20-win season in school history and their first in 13 years. He elevated ULM to a tie for second-place in the final SBC standings after being picked sixth preseason and last two years ago.

For the second straight year, Richard doubled both ULM’s overall and conference win totals. The 14 SBC victories were the most in school history. He coached the Warhawks to two different six-game winning streaks in conference, a 12-3 home record and won seven of his last nine road games.

Richard won Coach of the Year in his very first season without any APR penalties from the NCAA. He inherited heavy APR sanctions when he took over at the helm on April 22, 2010, and has since won back-to-back SBC team academic awards. Last year, ULM recorded a perfect 1,000 APR score for the first time since the NCAA instituted APR scores in 2003-04.

It marked the second career SBC Coach of the Year award for Richard who previously won in 1998-99 as head coach of former league-member Louisiana Tech.

Sun Belt First-Team All-Conference
Jelani Hewitt (Georgia Southern, Sr., Guard)
Ryan Harrow (Georgia State, R-Sr., Guard)
R.J. Hunter (Georgia State, Jr., Guard)
Shawn Long (UL Lafayette, Jr., Forward)
Tylor Ongwae (ULM, Sr., Forward)

Second-Team All-Conference
Frank Eaves (Appalachian State, Jr., Guard)
Anthony Livingston (Arkansas State, So., Forward)
Ken Williams (South Alabama, So., Guard)
Lonnie McClanahan (UT Arlington, Sr., Guard)
Emani Gant (Texas State, Jr., Forward)

Third-Team All-Conference
Josh Hagins (UALR, Jr., Guard)
Trent Wiedeman (Georgia Southern, Sr., Center)
Jay Wright (UL Lafayette, So., Guard)
Majok Deng (ULM, Jr., Forward)
Wesley Person (Troy, Fr., Guard)

Player of the Year
R.J. Hunter (Georgia State, Jr., Guard)

Defensive Player of the Year
Jelani Hewitt (Georgia Southern, Sr., Guard)

Freshman of the Year
Wesley Person (Troy, Fr., Guard) 

Joe Gottfried Coach of the Year
Keith Richard (ULM, Fifth Season)

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.