Ja Morant was honored Thursday as the recipient of the 2019 Ohio Valley Conference Male Athlete of the Year Award.41636
Morant, from Dalzell, S.C., was the obvious choice for the award after he had a stellar sophomore season for the men's basketball team with the Murray State Racers.
He's the 11th MSU winner of the award and all have come from men's basketball, including recent winners Jonathan Stark (2017-18), Cameron Payne (2014-15) and Isaiah Canaan (2011-12). Gary Hooker (1979-80) was MSU's first to win the award. Jeff Martin (1987-88 & 1988-89) and Popeye Jones (1990-91 & 1991-92) are the only Racers to win the award back-to-back.
The award is given to the OVC male student-athlete who is deemed the top player in the League each year. The award is voted on by the Conference's athletics directors and sports information directors.
Morant's run at Murray State lasted 65 games before he declared for the NBA Draft which happens June 20. If the draft falls the way many pundits expect, the Memphis Grizzlies will take Morant as the second pick.
In two seasons at Murray State, Morant helped the Racers win back-to-back Ohio Valley Conference championships, OVC Tournament championships and NCAA Tournament appearances. The Racers went 54-11 overall and 32-4 in the OVC. After beating Marquette in March in the NCAA Tournament, the Racers finished 29th in the final Associated Press poll.
Morant was a 13-time All-America selection and was the OVC's first consensus All-America since 1971. He finished the season with 331 assists, the sixth-most in NCAA single-season history and easily new records at MSU and in the OVC. He also set the MSU single-season scoring mark with 808 points. He averaged 24.5 points and 10.0 assists/game making him the first player to average 20/10 in a season since the NCAA began started officially recognizing assists in 1983-84.
All-Time Murray State - OVC Male Athlete of the Year Award Winners
1979-80 -- Gary Hooker
1987-88 -- Jeff Martin
1988-89 -- Jeff Martin
1990-91 -- Popeye Jones
1991-92 -- Popeye Jones
1994-95 -- Marcus Brown
1997-98 -- De'Teri Mayes
2011-12 -- Isaiah Canaan
2014-15 -- Cameron Payne
2017-18 -- Jonathan Stark
2018-19 –- Ja Morant