FORT MYERS, Fla. – On the eve of the Atlantic Sun Tournament, the conference announced its postseason honors Tuesday afternoon in vote conducted by the league head coaches. FGCU men’s basketball redshirt sophomore Anthony Banks (Lantana, Fla./Santaluces HS) was named to the All-Conference second team, while Christophe Varidel (Versoix, Switzerland/Worcester Academy) became the third Eagle in as many years to make the All-Freshmen squad.
Less than 24 hours removed from picking up an 82-65 win at USC Upstate on Monday night, FGCU improved to 7-13 in the A-Sun to finish in sole possession of seventh place. FGCU cannot compete in the conference postseason tournament due to the NCAA reclassifying period. FGCU will be eligible for postseason play in 2011-12.
Banks is the first player in program history to be named to one of the A-Sun All-Conference teams, while Varidel follows in the footsteps of Banks on the All-Freshmen team.
“This is certainly a great individual accolade for Anthony and Christophe, but it’s also a team honor,” said head coach Dave Balza. “We had great team chemistry this season and that had a lot to do with these guys having great seasons because the team played together. I’m very proud of each of these two guys and the team for finishing the season strong.”
A native of Lantana, Fla., Banks finished as the team leader in scoring (14.6) and rebounding (6.4), figures that rank seventh and eighth in the A-Sun, respectively. Banks finished in double figures a team-best 27 times, while also producing five 20-point games. His 106 offensive rebounds, including 17 games with at least four offensive caroms, rank second in the conference and mark the second straight season he’s hit the triple-digit plateau. Banks started all 30 games, leading the team in scoring 11 times, rebounding on 11 occasions and both in the same game seven times.
Varidel made his mark from long range, drilling a program Division I record 78 three-pointers en route to finishing third on the team at 11.5 points per game. The Versoix, Switzerland product ranks third among freshmen in the conference in scoring, while also ranking third in threes per game at 2.60. Varidel found his grove in early January when he went on a run of 13 straight double figure games in which he averaged 16.7 points and led the team in scoring eight times. Varidel’s season-high 29 points featured six three-pointers in a triple-overtime win at Stetson.
The Atlantic Sun Conference is an 11-member league committed to Building Winners for Life. The A-Sun stands for achievement with integrity in both the academic and athletic arenas, with a focus on the balance between the two for our student-athletes. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun boasts five of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Belmont University, Campbell University, East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.
A-Sun Postseason Awards
Player of the Year: *Mike Smith, ETSU
Defensive Player of the Year: Ayron Hardy, Jacksonville
Freshman of the Year: *Torrey Craig, USC Upstate
Coach of the Year: Rick Byrd, Belmont
All-Conference First Team
*Mike Smith, ETSU
Ian Clark, Belmont
Ayron Hardy, Jacksonville
Adnan Hodzic, Lipscomb
Brian Mills, Mercer
Josh Slater, Lipscomb
**-A tie in the voting resulted in a 6-player first team
All-Conference Second Team
Anthony Banks, FGCU
Markeith Cummings, Kennesaw State
Mick Hedgepeth, Belmont
Scott Saunders, Belmont
Micah Williams, ETSU
*Torrey Craig, USC Upstate
*Christophe Varidel, FGCU
*Corey Walden, Stetson
Langston Hall, Mercer
Luis Jacobo, Stetson
J.J. Mann, Belmont
Keith McDougald, Jacksonville
*-Unanimous Selection **-A tie in the voting resulted in a 7-player All-Freshmen team