Georgia State sophomore D’Marcus Simonds earned Sun Belt Player of the Year honors on Monday, becoming the third Panther in the last five years to earn the league’s top honor. Simonds also earned All-Sun Belt First Team recognition, while junior Devin Mitchell garnered All-Sun Belt Third Team honors.
Simonds, who earned freshman of the year honors last year, led the Sun Belt in scoring this season averaging 21.5 points per game. He enters play on Friday just 20 points shy of R.J. Hunter’s school-record of 688 points in a season. Ironically it was Hunter who earned Sun Belt Player of the Year honors the first two seasons that the Panthers returned to the league (2013-14 and 2014-15).
The sophomore is also the league leader in minutes played (35.2), third in steals (1.7), fourth in assists (4.5) and fifth in field goal percentage (46.2). He has been named conference player of the week twice this season while leading Georgia State to a 21-10 mark and the No. 2-seed in the upcoming Sun Belt Conference Championship. He has scored in double-figures in 48-straight games dating back to last year and has already set Georgia State’s field goals made record this season. Less than two weeks ago, he scored the 1,000th point of his career in just 58 games.
Mitchell is having one of the best 3-point shooting seasons in Georgia State history and among the best in the country. The junior has knocked down 89 3-pointers, just 11 shy of R.J. Hunter’s school-record of 100. He is shooting 44.9 percent from 3-point range which ranks first in the Sun Belt and No. 15 in the nation. His 2.9 3-pointers per game is ranked No. 2 in the Sun Belt. He is 20thin the league in scoring (12.5) and 27th in minutes per game (28.6).
Mitchell has three games this year in which he made seven or more 3-pointers, including a 10 3-pointer effort at Little Rock which is the second-most in program history and set a Jack Stephens Center record.
Georgia State will open the Sun Belt tournament on Friday as the No. 2 seed having earned a bye into the quarterfinals. The Panthers will play at 6 p.m. ET against the winner of No. 7 Troy and No. 10 South Alabama. All games of the tournament will be carried by WatchESPN. The championship game will tip at 2 p.m. on Selection Sunday and will be televised nationally on ESPN2.