Hoffman, Hall, Smith and Gollon Collect A-Sun Hardware

6:30 PM, Mar 5, 2013   |    comments
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MACON, Ga. (School Release) - Three days after clinching the program's first outright regular season championship, the Mercer men's basketball team garnered a handful of postseason honors as announced by the Atlantic Sun Conference on Tuesday.  Head coach Bob Hoffman was named A-Sun Coach of the Year, while Travis Smith and Langston Hall landed second team honors and Jakob Gollon picked up Academic All-Conference recognition.

Hoffman's Coach of the Year selection is his first since signing on with Mercer prior to the 2008-09 season.  Hoffman's five years with the team has featured more wins than any other five-year span in program history and saw him recently solidify the school's first back-to-back 20-win seasons.

"When you get an award like this, it means you have a really good team with a lot of good players and amazing assistants," Hoffman said.  "We were able to win in a lot of tough environments this year, so the credit goes to those guys.  I'd much rather see several of our other guys recognized than me, as we have other players who had great years and didn't get awards."

His A-Sun honor will sit alongside a handful of other awards earned throughout his 22-year head coaching career.  Hoffman was named the 2002 National Independent Coach of the Year by CollegeInsider.com while head coach of Texas Pan-American, the Basketball Times National Coach of the Year and Sooner Athletic Conference and District 9 Coach of the Year in 1999 with Oklahoma Baptist, and the Sooner Athletic Conference, District 9 and NAIA Coach of the Year at Southern Nazarene in 1989.

Hall's second team nod is his third A-Sun All-Conference honor in any many collegiate seasons.  In 2011, Hall picked up All-Freshman team honors and one year later took home an All-Conference first team selection.  After missing the first five games of the year with injury, Hall has come back to lead Mercer to a 19-7 record and while averaging 10.7 points, 4.5 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game. 

"Langston is a special player who's consistent in his game and how he handles himself on and off the court," Hoffman said.  "He's an extension of us as coaches in the way he prepares himself every night out.  We're fortunate to have him a part of what we're doing and he continues to make us better every day."

Entering Wednesday's A-Sun tournament opener, Hall is just 20 points short of 1,000 for his career and five assists short of 400.  He's leads A-Sun active players in career assists and ranks third in Mercer program history for the category.  He's also the only the league's only active player with 900 points, 300 assists and 100 steals.

Smith takes home his first A-Sun honor after a stellar season that saw him post a team-leading 13.4 points per game while shooting 43.3% from the floor, 40.7% from three-point range and 88% from the free throw line.  If the season ended today, the sharp shooter would finish first in program history for single-season free throw percentage.

"Travis worked hard all year and was one of the better players in the league all season," Hoffman said.  "He's hit big shot after big shot for us to win on numerous occasions.  We hope he's got a few more of those in the days ahead.  He's been a blessing to coach."

Smith has led or tied for the team scoring lead in 18 games this year and posted double-figures in 22 outings.  He also scored 20 or more four times, including a career-high 25 points versus Stetson on December 31, 2012.

Gollon joins three other players on the Academic All-Conference team, a distinction reserved for players with a minimum 3.3 GPA who have played in 50% of their team's contests.  Nominees are voted upon by conference Sports Information Directors.

"Jake deserves any award he achieves because he's worked hard through adversity on and off the court," Hoffman said.  "For him to get recognized in this way is special for him and the university.  He continues to put others above himself while also achieving individual success and helping us win."

Gollon finished the regular season with averages of 8.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game while maintaining a 3.83 GPA in graduate coursework.  The Stevens Point, Wisconsin native has also been named a Capital One Academic All-District IV first team and an NABC Allstate Good Works team member.

Hoffman, Hall, Smith and Gollon will lead the No. 1 seed Bears against Lipscomb in the first round of the A-Sun tournament on Wednesday night.  Tipoff at Hawkins Arena is scheduled for 8:30 p.m.

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