KANSAS CITY, MO – Florida Southern College men's basketball standout Jonathan Lawton has taken one more step towards one of the most prestigious awards in the country when he was named to the top 50 for the Bevo Francis Award. On Friday, Small College Basketball narrowed down its Watch List for the award of to 50 of the finest men's basketball players in the country who compete in the affiliations of NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III, NAIA Division I, NAIA Division II, USCAA, and NCCAA.
Lawton currently ranks second in the Sunshine State Conference and 16th nationally at the DII level in scoring. He is also among the top 50 in the nation in free-throws made, free-throw attempts, free-throw percentage, three-pointers made, three-pointers per game, and total scoring. Lawton has helped lead Florida Southern to six-straight wins, including 10 of its last 11 games, and a No. 19 ranking in the latest NABC Coaches Poll. He has scored 20 or more points 13 times this season, including at least 30 points in four different games, with a season-high of 42 in an overtime win against Lynn on Jan. 5.
This marks the fourth season of the Bevo Francis Award, as the award was previously given to Dominez Burnett of Davenport (Mich.) in 2016, Justin Pitts of Northwest Missouri State in 2017 and Emanuel Terry of Lincoln Memorial last season.
"This process is very challenging, as there are so many good players that are having excellent seasons," said SCB Founder John McCarthy. "It's really difficult to narrow this list to 50 players. As such, we continued to go back to our specific criteria for the Bevo Francis Award. We've considered individual achievements, season statistics, awards, milestones, and team achievement.
"As we move further into this process, personal character will become increasingly important. Bevo Francis was very focused on team success, so we emphasize a player's contributions to team success during this process. As such, while this is an individual award, team success is an important consideration. I sincerely congratulate every single member of this list. It's an incredible honor to be listed amount the nation's elite at the small college level. Importantly, I thank all of our committee members that have taken the time to provide a tremendous amount of information."
Members of the Bevo Francis Award committee include the following coaches: Tobin Anderson - St. Thomas Aquinas (N.Y.), Gerald Holmes - Bloomfield (N.J.), Gary Stewart - Stevenson (Md.), Arlen Galloway - Wentworth (Mass.), Chris Briggs - Georgetown (Ky.), Bill Dreikosen - Rocky Mountain (Mont.), Klint Pleasant - Rochester (Mich.), Ryan Kane - Ripon (Wisc.), Mark Berokoff – Hillsdale Baptist (Okla.), Mike Donnelly – Florida Southern, Rhett Soliday – Vanguard (Calif.), Sam Hargraves – Alma (Mich.) and Ryan Looney – Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.).
The committee chose this elite group from over 1,100 colleges and universities and took into consideration individual statistics, previous awards, milestones and team success.
The list will be narrowed down to 25 players in a Watch List published on March 15. The finalists will be announced in a highlight video that will be released on April 6.
The 2019 Bevo Francis Award winner will be announced on April 8. The award will be presented to the award winner on May 11 at the SCB National Awards Show in conjunction with the SCB Alumni Association's Celebration of the Game event at the Crowne Plaza in downtown Kansas City, Missouri.
Small College Basketball is very grateful to the University of Rio Grande and Sheward-Fulks Insurance for their sponsorship and support of the Bevo Francis award.
To view all 50 players on today's Watch List, please click HERE.