NMSU's Moore earns league honor

Junior James Moore, a 6-8, forward from Dolton, Ill. was named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year and a first team all-Sun Belt selection, announced by the Sun Belt Conference office Wednesday afternoon, March 5th. Moore is the first Aggie men's basketball player in school history to win a conference Player of the Year award and only the second player under head coach Lou Henson to receive the honor in his 39 years of coaching

A six-game hiatus did not slow down James Moore. The New Mexico State forward missed the start of the Aggies basketball season for academic reasons, but when he finally took to the court, the 6-foot-8 junior more than made up for lost time. Wednesday he was honored for his play when the Sun Belt Conference named him the Player of the Year. The Dolton, Ill., native was also tabbed as a first-time All-Sun Belt selection.

Moore " the first mens basketball player in school history to win a conference Player of the Year award "was humble when reached for comment. "It feels great," said the player, who along with his teammates, left for Bowling Green, Ky., today where the league tournament is scheduled to start Friday.

"But right now I just want to win a (conference) championship and get to the NCAA Tournament. Im thankful, but there is more to do." The honor marked just the second time in head coach Lou Hensons 39-year career that one of his players received such an award.

"There are many outstanding players in the Sun Belt Conference this season and I think the conference is as strong as it has ever been," Henson said. "For James to be selected is really an outstanding accomplishment. He has been dedicated to his team this season and shown great leadership. If you do the things James has done this year you can see why he has been named Player of the Year.

" Along with post Chris Jackson, Moore sat out the teams first six games. But when he returned to the court, he showed very little, if any, rust. In 21 outings this season, Moore has scored an average of 19.2 points per game, numbers that were good enough to lead both the Sun Belt Conference and NMSU.

His 60 percent shooting percentage is also tops in the league and ranks him 15th in the nation. Moore became the Aggies all-time leader in blocks for a career (he has 142) and the 22nd member of the Aggies 1,000 point club (he has 1,207 points).

Moore also ranks in the top-10 in the Sun Belt Conference in field goal percentage (.596, 3rd place), rebounds (6.4, 8th), free-throw percentage (.829, 8th), steals (38, 7th), blocks (44, 2nd), and defensive rebounding (97, 8th). In conference games, Moore is in the top-10 in seven different statistical categories including scoring (19.1, 2nd), field goal percentage (.566, 4th), blocks (29, 2nd), steals (28, 3rd), free-throw percentage (.848, 8th), defensive rebounding (66, 9th) and rebounding (6.1, 9th).

Moore and the Aggies are the second seed from the Sun Belts Western Division and are scheduled to face the winner of the North Texas-Arkansas-Little Rock showdown Sunday at 7 p.m.

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