DALLAS – For the second consecutive year, WKU Hilltopper Basketball senior center Jamarion Sharp has been named the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year, the league announced Tuesday morning.
Additionally, junior guard Dayvion McKnight was named All-Conference Second Team.
Sharp earned third-team honors and an All-Defensive Team nod. Sixth-year senior guard Emmanuel Akot was named All-Conference Honorable Mention.
Sharp becomes the sixth player in C-USA history to earn Defensive Player of the Year honors in back-to-back seasons. This is the fourth time in the last five seasons that a Hilltopper has claimed Defensive Player of the Year as Bassey won the award in 2019 and 2021.
The 7-foot-5 center currently leads the nation in both total blocks (127) and blocks per game (4.2). His average is more than what 84% of Division I teams are averaging while his 127 total blocks are more than what 83% of Division I programs have logged as a team.
Sharp is fourth in the league in rebounds, averaging 7.5 boards per game along with 7.3 points. He’s shooting 62.9% from the field in his 28.7 minutes per game. He was named to the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year watch list, one of only four repeats on the list from 2022.
Sharp’s spot on the C-USA All-Defensive Team gives WKU six selections for that honor in the last five seasons. It’s Sharp’s first all-conference selection in his Hilltopper career.
McKnight was named all-conference for the second consecutive year as he earned First-Team honors in 2022.
McKnight is averaging 16.6 points per game while shooting 45.6% from the floor. He is fifth in the conference in scoring and third in field goal percentage. Additionally, he’s knocked down 125 free throws in the regular season, shooting 83.9% from the charity stripe.
The Shelbyville, Ky., native leads the Hilltoppers in assists at 3.7 per game, good for sixth-most in the league. McKnight is the only player in the country this season to have two games of at least 32 points, three assists, four rebounds and two steals.
In the last two seasons, McKnight has started in all 63 of WKU’s contests, scoring at least 10 points in 54 of those. Just this year, he has nine games of 20 or more points.
WKU (16-15) will play in the first round of the Conference USA Championship on Wednesday evening at 5:30 p.m. CT.