Sepcial to The Register
Eastern Kentucky University men's basketball head coach A.W. Hamilton has been named the 2019-20 District 18 Coach of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).
Sophomore guard Jomaru Brown, meanwhile, was voted to the NABC All-District 18 First Team.
In his second season in Richmond, Hamilton led EKU to an impressive turnaround. After going 6-12 in the OVC in 2018-19, the Colonels went 12-6 this year, earning a No. 4 seed and reaching the semifinals of the OVC Tournament.
EKU's 12 conference wins this season are tied for the second-most in program history. The 2019-20 Colonels are one of only four EKU teams ever to win 12 or more OVC games, joining the 1964-65 (13), 2006-07 (13) and 2012-13 (12) squads.
Following a tough non-conference slate, Hamilton rallied EKU to a 9-2 conference start. It was the Colonels' best OVC start in 41 years.
Brown was voted first team All-OVC after ranking fourth in the OVC in scoring at 18.4 points-per-game. He also ranked third in the league in steals-per-game (1.9) and 12th in free throw percentage (75.1).
He poured in a career-high 41 points against in-state rival Western Kentucky on November 15.
That was the most points scored by an OVC player in a game this season. It is tied for the fourth-most points ever scored by a Colonel in a game.
Brown stepped up his game during OVC play. The 6-foot-2 guard averaged 20.2 points-per-game against conference competition, tied for second-highest in the league. He ranked second in steals-per-game (2.2), 14th in assists-per-game (3.2) and 14th in three-point field goal percentage (38.2) during the OVC schedule.
The native of Raleigh, N.C., posted 37 points, six rebounds and four assists to lead the Colonels to a key road win at Tennessee State on January 18. He was 18-of-19 from the free throw line in that victory. His 18 free throws are the most by an OVC player in a game this season.
A week later, Brown connected on a career-high six three-pointers and finished with 31 points in a road win at Tennessee Tech. He went for 19 points and a career-high nine assists in a road victory at rival Morehead State on February 13.
Brown scored his 1,000th career point in the regular season finale against Morehead State, an 80-76 victory at home.