Despite playing the last half of the season with a broken finger, Chris Commons played well enough to earn respect around the league.
The USC Aiken senior forward was named Peach Belt Conference Player of the Year on Tuesday in a vote of conference coaches. Commons became the fifth player to win in consecutive seasons. Last season, Commons shared the award with Augusta State forward Tyrekus "A.J." Bowman.
"I think it speaks volumes about the coaches who voted for him," Pacers coach Vince Alexander said. "When you look at Chris Commons on the floor, he goes out and plays the same every night."
Commons, who was out of town Tuesday because of a family emergency, has helped lead the Pacers to a 21-6 overall record and No. 17 national ranking. He was second in the league in scoring with 17.4 points per game and 12th in rebounding with 6.1 per contest. He was also third in blocked shots.
A senior from Toledo, Ohio, Commons is fourth on USC Aiken's career scoring list with 1,146 points in only 48 games.
"He'll rebound, block shots and score," Alexander said. "I think the coaches see not only a good player, but a good person as well."
Commons was one of five players named to the conference's first team, along with Augusta State's Ben Madgen and Garret Siler, Armstrong Atlantic State's Dwight Tolbert and Georgia College & State's Shaun Keaton.
Madgen led the league in scoring (18.7), 3-point field-goal percentage (.439) and was second in free-throw percentage (.858).
Siler led the league in field-goal percentage (.786) and blocks (74), was second in rebounding (8.0) and fourth in scoring (16.3).
Madgen and Siler also helped lead the fifth-ranked Jaguars to their second regular-season conference title in three years.
USC Aiken, which finished runner-up, placed two players on the second team - guard Javonte Clanton and forward Josh Dollard. Augusta State forward Fred Brathwaite was named to the third team.
Georgia College & State's Terry Sellers was named conference coach of the year. Georgia Southwestern's Evan Mobley was named freshman of the year.
Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Player of the year
Who: Chris Commons (USC Aiken)
Points per game: 17.4
Rebounds per game: 6.1
Field goal pct.: .538