DAYTONA BEACH, FL – Florida Southern senior guard Jonathan Lawton is the 2018-19 Division II Conference Commissioner's Association (D2CCA) South Region Men's Basketball Player of the Year, receiving top billing on the D2CCA All-South Region Team. The squad was selected by NCAA Division II Sports Information Directors from institutions and conference offices in the South Region, made up of the Gulf South Conference, Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, and Sunshine State Conference.
Lawton is joined on the first team by senior guard Marquil Smith of West Georgia, graduate senior guard Beau Justice of Valdosta State, junior guard/forward Mark Matthews of Nova Southeastern and senior forward Adam Dieball (of Christian Brothers. Justice, who was the 2017-18 South Region Player of the Year, repeats as a first team selection along with Smith, while Lawton moves up from his second team honor a year ago. Dieball collects the third All-Region accolade of his career after second-team honors in both 2017-18 and 2016-17.
The Sunshine State Conference Player of the Year, Lawton is averaging 22.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game for a Moccasin team that is 24-7 on the year. Lawton helped lead the Mocs to the SSC Tournament crown with a semifinal win over No. 22 Lynn and then a championship victory over No. 3 and tournament host Nova Southeastern. Lawton is shooting 44.5 percent (210-for-472) from the field, including a 41.9 percent (95-for-227) effort from deep. Lawton has scored in double-figures in all 30 games he has appeared in for FSC, including a career-high 42 points in an overtime victory over Lynn on Jan. 5.
The 2018-19 Gulf South Conference Player of the Year, Smith led the league in scoring (27.3 ppg), rebounding (8.7 rpg) and three-point field goals (100). After claiming South Region POY honors last season, Justice also earned NABC All-America accolades and capped off his senior season by leading Valdosta State to their third straight regular-season GSC title while averaging 21.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists per outing.
Matthews led the way for Nova Southeastern as the Sharks claimed the SSC regular season title for the first time in program history, averaging a team-best 20.3 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Meanwhile, Dieball registered an NCAA Division II-best four triple-doubles this season for CBU, recording 11 20-point games and averaging 18.4 points, 8.3 boards and 6.7 helpers per contest.
In addition to the first team, seven other individuals have been recognized as second-team selections. The second team All-South Region squad is comprised of Nova Southeastern senior guard David Dennis, senior forward/guard Michael Baez of Lynn, junior guards LaJuan Hardy of West Alabama, Joe Laravie of Christian Brothers and Brett Hanson of Florida Southern, along with Morehouse senior forward/guard Omar Alston and Kentucky State's senior guard Ditalion Battle.
The 2018-19 D2CCA men's basketball All-America team will be announced on Tuesday, March 26. The five first team members from each of the country's eight regions are placed on the national ballot with NCAA Division II Sports Information Directors selecting first, second and third-team All-America honorees. The Ron Lenz Player of the Year will also be chosen from a list comprised of the eight Regional Players of the Year.
The Division II Conference Commissioners Association encourages and promotes Division II athletics and high standards of sportsmanship as important elements of higher education. The CCA is a key communications link among the conferences as they discuss views, policies and regulations that impact Division II intercollegiate athletics and works closely with the NCAA as a communications channel to NCAA Division II member colleges and universities.
Jonathan Lawton (Florida Southern)^
Marquil Smith (West Georgia)#
Beau Justice (Valdosta State)*#
Mark Matthews (Nova Southeastern)
Adam Dieball (Christian Brothers)^&
David Dennis (Nova Southeastern)^
Michael Baez (Lynn)
LaJuan Hardy (West Alabama)
Joe Laravie (Christian Brothers)
Brett Hanson (Florida Southern)
Omar Alston (Morehouse)
Ditalion Battle (Kentucky State)
*-2017-18 South Region Player of the Year / #-2017-18 first-team All-South Region Pick
^-2017-18 second-team All-South Region Pick / &-2016-17 second-team All-South Region Pick