Georgia State Unanimous Preseason Favorite; Simonds Sun Belt Preseason Player Of The Year; Mitchell All-Sun Belt Preseason Second Team

ATLANTA—Coming off a second NCAA tournament appearance in the last four years, the Georgia State men’s basketball team was selected the unanimous favorite to win the Sun Belt Championship once again this year by the league’s head coaches.

Junior D’Marcus Simonds, the reigning Sun Belt Player of the Year, was selected the Preseason Player of the Year and to the All-Sun Belt Preseason First Team. Senior Devin Mitchell, who earned All-Sun Belt Third Team honors last year, was selected to the All-Sun Belt Preseason Second Team.

Voting for the Preseason Sun Belt All-Conference Team and Poll was conducted by the league’s 12 head coaches.

Georgia State went 24-11 last year, winning the Sun Belt Conference tournament after finishing in second place during the regular season. The Panthers advanced to the postseason for the fourth time in the last five years, while also winning 20 or more games for fourth time in that same span.

“Although we don’t put too much weight into preseason polls, it is nice to see others have so much respect for us,” head coach Ron Hunter said. “Now we need to earn that respect on the court.

“It is also great to see D’Marcus and Devin honored. However as I am sure they would tell you, what happens to them and our team at the end of the year is much more significant. The good thing is we are just a week away from getting to see how all the work we have put in will translate on the court.”

Simonds, the reigning Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year and Associated Press All-American Honorable Mention honoree, returns following a record setting sophomore season. Simonds was named All-Sun Belt First Team and Sun Belt Conference Tournament MVP last year after scoring a school record 742 points and averaging 21.2 points per game which ranked No. 23 in the nation.

He was a two-time Sun Belt Player of the Week honoree who also earned NABC All-Region 24 First-Team honors. While averaging 34.9 minutes per game which ranked No. 2 in the Sun Belt, Simonds made a school-record 277 total field goals which ranked No. 4 in the NCAA. He led the team is scoring 22 times and garnered the program’s first triple-double in the regular season opener. During the year he dished out 4.4 assists per game which ranked No. 4 in the Sun Belt.

Mitchell earned All-Sun Belt Third Team honors last year after averaging 12.0 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. He had one of the most impressive 3-point shooting seasons in program history as a junior, making 98 3-pointers, second-most in school history, which ranked No. 30 in the nation. His 44.7 shooting percent from 3-point range ranked No. 1 in the Sun Belt Conference and No. 11 in the NCAA. His 2.8 3-pointers per game ranked No. 3 in the league while his scoring average was No. 20.

Mitchell earned Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week honors on Feb. 5, after scoring a career-high 38 points (ninth-most in school history) including 10 3-pointers which is tied for the second-most in a single game in school history. He enters his senior season ranked No. 10 in career 3-pointers in Georgia State history and No. 3 with a 42.0 3-point field goal percentage.

After Georgia State earned the top spot in the preseason poll, in-state rival Georgia Southern and Louisiana tied for second with 125 points. UL Monroe and Troy tied for fourth place with 89 points each.

The Sun Belt Conference Championship will return to New Orleans, La., March 12-17, with a new format. The top two teams at the end of the regular season will receive a double-bye into the semifinals of the championship, while teams No. 3 and 4 will receive a bye into the quarterfinals.

Georgia State will open the regular season on Nov. 6, facing East Tennessee State in the GSU Sports Arena. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 404-413-4020 or visit



All-Sun Belt First Team
**Ronshad Shabazz, Appalachian State (Sr., G, Raleigh, N.C.)

*Tookie Brown, Georgia Southern (Sr., G, Madison, Ga.)

*D’Marcus Simonds, Georgia State (Jr., G, Gainesville, Ga.)

**Travis Munnings, ULM (Sr., F, Freeport, Bahamas)

**Jordon Varnado, Troy (Sr., F, Brownsville, Tenn.)

All-Sun Belt Second Team
Zac Cuthbertson, Coastal Carolina (Sr., F, New Bern, N.C.)

***Devin Mitchell, Georgia State (Sr., G, Lawrenceville, Ga.)

***JaKeenan Gant, Louisiana (Sr., F, Springfield, Ga.)

**Rodrick Sikes, South Alabama (Sr., G, Ocean Springs, Miss.)

***Nijal Pearson, Texas State (Jr., G, Beaumont, Texas)


All-Sun Belt Third Team
Ty Cockfield II, Arkansas State (Sr., G, Gainesville, Ga.)

Ike Smith, Georgia Southern (Sr., G, Gainesville, Fla.)

Marcus Stroman, Louisiana (Sr., G, Columbia, S.C.)

Michael Ertel, ULM (So., G, Indianapolis, Ind.)

Josh Ajayi, South Alabama (Jr., F, El Monte, Calif.)


2018-19 Sun Belt Conference Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Preseason Player of the Year
D’Marcus Simonds, Georgia State (Jr., G, Gainesville, Ga.)

2018-19 Sun Belt Conference Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Preseason Poll
first-place votes in parentheses


Rank Team Points
1. Georgia State (12) 144
2. Georgia Southern 125
Louisiana 125
4. ULM 89
Troy 89
6. Appalachian State 86
7. South Alabama 80
8. Texas State 67
9. Arkansas State 42
10. Coastal Carolina 40
11. UTA 33
12. Little Rock 16


*Denotes 2017-18 All-Sun Belt First Team

**Denotes 2017-18 All-Sun Belt Second Team

***Denotes 2017-18 All-Sun Belt Third Team

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