Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns senior JaKeenan Gant was named for the second consecutive year as a finalist for the Lefty Driesell Award, as the 2019 list was announced on Monday by CollegeInsider.com.
The award is presented annually to the top defensive player in college basketball.
Gant, a first-team All-Sun Belt Conference performer and the league’s Defensive Player of the Year, led the conference in both rebounds (8.7) and blocked shots (2.6) during the season while finishing as the lone Division I player in the country to average 20 points with eight rebounds and 2.6 blocks.
The 6-foot-8 forward finished third in the league in scoring, averaging 20.5 points per game for the Ragin’ Cajuns, and was second in field goal percentage (.543). Gant averaged 23.1 points per game in Sun Belt Conference games – third among all SBC players – while finishing second in the league in field goal percentage (.562) and pacing the conference in both rebounds (9.2) and blocked shots (2.2).
The award is named after Lefty Driesell who won 786 games in 41 years at Davidson, Maryland, James Madison and Georgia State. He ranks eighth on the NCAA career Division I coaches victories list and his teams at each stop were known for playing tenacious defense. From 1969-1986 at Maryland, his teams posted a 348-159 record, won two Atlantic Coast Conference regular season titles and one tournament title.
Driesell also led Davidson, Georgia State and James Madison to the NCAA tournament, making him one of three coaches to reach the NCAAs with four different programs. His teams won a total of 16 regular season championships and six tournament championships.
The recipient of the 2019 Lefty Driesell award will be announced on April 5 at the College Insider Awards Event, in Minneapolis, site of the 2019 NCAA Division I Basketball Championship.