MEAC Announces 2023-24 Men’s Basketball All-Conference Honors

NORFOLK, Va. — Norfolk State senior guard Jamarii Thomas was named Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Player and Newcomer of the Year. Deywilk Tavarez of Delaware State University was named Rookie of the Year, while Maryland Eastern Shore junior forward Troy Hupstead earned Defensive Player of the Year honors. Norfolk State University’s graduate student Allen Betrand garnered the 6th-Player of the Year laurels, while NSU head coach Robert Jones was named Coach of the Year.

All awards were voted on by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors and announced Tuesday evening in the Chrysler Hall during the MEAC BBT Awards.
Thomas continued Norfolk State’s streak of claiming the Player of the Year honor to three years in a row, following in the footsteps of Joe Bryant Jr., who also garnered the recognition the previous two seasons. Additionally, Thomas received the newly instituted MEAC Newcomer of the Year award after leading the conference in scoring averaging 17.5 points with two 20-point performances on the year. He boasts the most free throws in the league, successfully connecting on 183 of 225 free throws for an 81.3 percentage. Thomas sits second in the league with 3.8 assists (114) and 2.0 (60) steals per game. Thomas is the second consecutive Spartan to garner the award and extends NSU’s streak to three years in a row.

Tavarez secures the Hornets their first MEAC Rookie of the Year honoree since the 2015-16 season when Devin Morgan claimed the honor. He collected five MEAC Rookie of the Week honors throughout the season. The freshman from Pennsauken, NJ, recorded 19 double-digit performances with six 20-point games and one 30-point outing. Tavarez posted a career-high 31 points and 10 assists in the Hornets win over the Spartans of Norfolk State (Mar. 2). He sits fourth overall in the MEAC in points per game with an average of 17.0, fourth in field goal percentage (43.2), seventh in free throw percentage (81.8), fifth in three-pointers per game (2.1), third in assists per game (3.5) and third in steals per game (1.8).

Hupstead is the first UMES player to garner the Defensive Player of the Year award, and the first major award recipient for the Hawks since 2014-15. He has recorded seven double-doubles and six 20-point games with an average of 13.5 points on the season to lead the Hawks. Additionally, Hupstead leads his team in rebounding with 211 (8.4), sits second with 15 blocks (0.6), and fifth in steals (0.64). In MEAC rankings, he is eighth in scoring per game (14.8), first in rebounding (9.1), fourth in field goal percentage (42.4), 15th in free throw percentage (71.9), and sixth in blocked shots per game (0.9).

Betrand was named the MEAC Men’s Basketball Sixth Player of the Year award. The graduate student from Philadelphia, Pa., has appeared in all 30 games for the Spartans this season playing 722 minutes (24.1 per game) on the court. He sits second on the team in scoring behind Thomas averaging 10.9 points. He has collected 85 rebounds, 35 assists, 25 steals, and six blocks. Betrand has tallied a free throw percentage of 85.7 percent.
Jones picked up his third career MEAC Coach of the Year honor after leading the Spartans to their second MEAC regular-season title in the last three years, going 11-3 in conference play and 21-10 overall. The Spartans are ranked first in the MEAC In scoring defense allowing just 67.7 points per game, first in opponent field goal percentage holding teams to a 40.8 shooting percentage, first in steals and first in turnover margin. Jones earned Coach of the Year honors twice before in 2018-19 and 2021-22.

Joining Thomas on the 2024 All-MEAC First Team are Delaware State’s Martaz Robinson, Howard University’s Bryce Harris, North Carolina Central’s Fred Cleveland, Jr., and Maryland Eastern Shore’s Troy Hupstead.
The 2024 MEAC Basketball Tournament begins Wednesday, March 13, and runs through Saturday, March 16, at the Scope Arena in Norfolk, Va.