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Bucs' Forbes picked as SoCon coach of the year

Joe Avento • Mar 4, 2020 at 6:35 PM

JOHNSON CITY — The East Tennessee State basketball team won’t be in action again until Saturday, but the Bucs did a little celebrating on Wednesday.

Steve Forbes, ETSU’s fifth-year coach who led his team to a school record for regular-season victories, was announced as the Southern Conference’s coach of the year.

Forbes’ 27-4 team won the SoCon’s regular-season championship and is the No. 1 seed heading into this week’s conference tournament.

“You’re a reflection of your players and your staff,” Forbes said. “When you win an award like that, it’s saying you have a really good team and a really good staff, and I feel like I have the best of both.”

Forbes was informed of his award by his players, who presented him with a certificate before Wednesday’s practice. After a very brief celebration, he blew his whistle and yelled “Go stretch!”

Forbes actually won two awards, one voted on by the media and the other voted by the league’s coaches. They were his first coach of the year awards in the SoCon.

“It feels good to be recognized by your peers,” Forbes said. “These guys have had a heck of a year. I’ve always been a guy who’s voted for the team that won the league. You don’t have to do that. That’s just how I’ve done it.”

In his five seasons at ETSU, Forbes is averaging 25.4 wins, the third-highest mark in SoCon history.

Two of Forbes’ players, Bo Hodges and Tray Boyd, were all-conference picks.

Hodges, who ranks in the top 15 in the SoCon in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, shooting percentage and blocked shots, was a first-team selection by the coaches and a second-team pick by the media. He’s averaging 13.2 points per game.

Boyd is averaging a team-leading 13.6 points and was a first-team media pick and second team by the coaches.

Isaiah Miller of third-place UNC Greensboro was the player of the year and the defensive player of the year in both polls. Miller averages 17.8 points per game, ranking second in the SoCon to Josh Sharkey of Samford.

Joining Hodges on the coaches first team were Miller, Furman’s Jordan Lyons and the Western Carolina duo of Mason Faulkner and Carlos Dotson.

The coaches first team consisted of Boyd, Lyons, Miller, Dotson and Mercer’s Djordje Dimitrijevic.

The SoCon tournament starts Friday at Harrah’s Cherokee center in Asheville, North Carolina, with two play-in games. Samford takes on VMI at 5 p.m., and Wofford plays The Citadel at 7:30 p.m. ETSU gets the VMI-Samford winner on Saturday at noon in the quarterfinals. Second-seeded Furman gets the winner of the other play-in game.

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