By Chris Whitaker, The Americus Times-Recorder
AMERICUS - Evan Mobley and the rest of his Georgia Southwestern teammates were heading to Outback Steakhouse Tuesday evening when he heard the news.
The All-Conference teams were announced Tuesday, and Mobley was picked as Freshman of the Year.
GSW senior Anthony Sargent was selected to the Second Team.
"I think it's great," said Mobley. "I worked hard as a freshman this year, and after me getting red-shirted last year, and that experience, I was ready to play. I'm pretty proud of it."
Mobley averaged 9.8 points and three rebounds this season while making 36 percent of his 3-point attempts. He scored a career-high 24 points against Lander at home, and it was his shot at the buzzer that lifted GSW past UNC Pembroke 84-82 and into the conference tournament.
"It was great for me and a great feeling, to be praised by my teammates," said Mobley.
"Even when Anthony (Sargent) fouled out that game, someone had to step up and make a shot. We weren't going to last into overtime. We had to win that game right then and there. Thankfully it went in."
Mobley was also quick to point out the recognition doesn't belong all to him.
"My teammates helped me get to where I am at, especially Anthony and Rick (Russell) being leaders on the team," he said. "When I wasn't doing good, they picked me up and kept telling me to do my thing."
Hurricanes coach Mike Leeder said all season he thought Mobley was the best freshman in the conference. He said that shot "exemplified" the type of season Mobley had.
"I think he scored the ball at different times, he was a good defender, and I think he played with a lot of poise as a freshman," said Leeder. "He hit big shots in the games we won. (Against Pembroke) he got the ball with five seconds to go and didn't panic. He brought it the length of the floor and got it off before the buzzer. He's really done a good job in the two years we've had him."
Sargent finished the regular season fifth in scoring (16.0) and fourth in steals (1.7). He was a First Team selection last season after leading the PBC in scoring and finishing second in steals.
"I'm very happy for him," said Leeder. "He had another great year for us. He shot the ball at a higher percentage overall, he increased his assists and decreased his turnovers. He was a very efficient all-around player this year."
One name missing from the two teams was Chris Rawls, who was fourth in scoring and field-goal percentage and third in rebounding.
"Yeah, the problem is when you're finishing down toward the bottom to get two guys on the all-league team," said Leeder. "Chris is deserving as well, but it's hard to get two guys when you don't have success in the league."
The Hurricanes are playing in the conference tournament Wednesday at 7 p.m. against seventh-seeded Clayton State, a team GSW beat both times during the regular season - 85-83 in overtime in Morrow and 65-61 at home.
Leeder said they match up better with a team as the Lakers, which are more defensive-minded.
"We've got to make sure we shoot the ball well tomorrow," he said. "They're very good defensively; they're much more defensive-oriented than offensive. Really good offenses give us problems. If we make shots early and get off to a good start, we can try to make it competitive. These guys won the conference tournament last year, and they have a lot of guys back who had success in the tournament. We want to make sure we're competitive."