May 3, 2001
NEW ORLEANS, La. - The Tulane University men's basketball team announced its team award winners at a barbecue on Sunday afternoon. Senior Ledaryl Billingsley (Chicago, Ill.) earned team Most Valuable Player honors.
Billingsley, who averaged 18.0 points and 9.2 rebounds per game last season, also earned All-Conference USA and All-Louisiana honors. In addition, he was named Tulane's Outstanding Rebounder.
"I wish I could have Ledaryl back for another year," head coach Shawn Finney said at the presentation. "He is a special player and he will have the opportunity to play professional basketball next year."
Junior Linton Johnson (Chicago, Ill.) fortified his trophy closet by collecting five awards on the afternoon. The 6-7 swingman averaged 13.1 points and 8.1 rebounds last season. He was recognized as the team Deflections Leader (226), the Blocked Shots leader (58), the Best Three-Point Shooter (.363) and the Best Field Goal Shooter (.510), as well as earning the team's Individual Workout Award.
"The Individual Workout Award is for a player who puts the most into his individual workouts," Finney said. "Linton spent a lot of time last summer and in the preseason, as well as throughout the year, working with the coaching staff to improve his game and to develop the skills we needed from him. The biggest evidence of that is his three-point shooting. He only shot a handful before this year and he wins our award as the team's best three-point shooter this year."
Another key player from last season was sophomore Brandon Spann (New Orleans, La.). The 6-0 point guard's strong season was also reflected with team honors, as he earned the team Steals Award (team-best 51), the Assists Leader award (145), and the Best Free-Throw Shooter honor (.843). In addition, Spann averaged 15.9 points per game and buried a team-high 62 three-pointers.
"Brandon really worked hard to re-make himself into a point guard," Finney said. "He had to learn on-the-job, but he developed into an solid ball distributor and began to make some excellent decisions on the court."
Earning Outstanding Defensive Player honors was freshman Wayne Tinsley (Fontana, Calif.), while classmate George Brown (Nashville, Tenn.) was recognized as the Green Wave's Most Improved Player.
Sophomore Brandon Brown (Houma, La.), who averaged 11.8 points and 6.6 rebounds, also led the team in charges taken to earn the coaches' award for that distinction.
Freshman walk-on Justin Amick (Atlanta, Ga.), who finished the season averaging a surprising 15.2 minutes per game, was tabbed for the team's Heart and Hustle Award, while his classmate and fellow walk-on, Marc Siegel (Lake Forest, Ill.), earned the Team Academic Award. Siegel posted the highest grade-point average on the team.
Freshman Ivan Pjevcevic (Belgrade, Yugoslavia) was picked for the team's Most Courageous Award.
"Ivan came in and suffered a knee injury right away," Finney said. "But he kept playing and working hard to come back. We needed him because of our thin bench. Plus, he was also making the very difficult transition to this country."
Two players who were redshirted by the team last year also earned honors. Junior Waitari Marsh (Chicago, Ill.) received the High Spirit Award, while junior Nick Sinville (Shreveport, La.), a transfer from Minnesota, was picked for the Team Player Award.
Most Valuable Player: Ledaryl Billingsley
Heart and Hustle Award: Justin Amick
Outstanding Rebounder: Ledaryl Billingsley
Outstanding Defensive Player: Wayne Tinsley
Deflections Leader: Linton Johnson
Most Improved: George Brown
Steals Leader: Brandon Spann
Charges Taken: Brandon Brown
Blocked Shots: Linton Johnson
Assists Leader: Brandon Spann
Best Free Throw Shooter: Brandon Spann
Best Three-Point Shooter: Linton Johnson
Best Field-Goal Percentage: Linton Johnson
Individual Workout Award: Linton Johnson
Team Player Award: Nick Sinville
Academic Award: Marc Siegel
High Spirit Award: Nick Sinville
Most Courageous: Ivan Pjevcevic