Clarksville, Ark.-Three University of the Ozarks men's basketball players received American Southwest Conference honors, announced by the league office on Monday. All-Conference awards are selected by vote of the 16 league head coaches.
Sophomore post Habeeb Kareem was named to the ASC All-East Division first team. Senior guards Josh Joyner and Brad Johnson were named honorable mention All-East division. Kareem, a 6-4, 250-pound native of Richmond, Texas, finished seventh in the conference in scoring (17.3), sixth in rebounding (7.8) and tenth in field goal percentage (53.9%) and free throw percentage (72.8%). He was the only player in the ASC to finish among the top ten in each of those four categories. Kareem led the team in scoring in 19 games and rebounding in 16 games. He finished the year with eight double-doubles and earned ASC Player of the Week honors twice. He scored in double figures in 25 of the 26 games. Kareem’s best performance of the season came against Concordia-Austin when he scored a career-high 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Kareem earned honorable mention All-East Division and All-East Freshman team honors last season. Joyner, a 6-3, 195-pound native of Little Rock, was among the top leaders on the team in numerous offensive categories. He finished second in scoring (11.7), rebounding (5.8), assists (2.6), steals (1.3) and free throw percentage (76.7%). His 76.7 shooting percentage from the free throw line ranked him ninth in the conference. He led the team in scoring in five games and rebounding eight times. He finishes his career at Ozarks ranked eighth in scoring (1,175), sixth in rebounding (568) and tenth in assists (244). He is one of only two players to rank among the top ten at Ozarks in each of those three categories. Joyner’s top performance of the season came against Mississippi College when he scored 17 points and grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds. Joyner earned honorable mention All-East Division honors a year ago. Johnson, a 5-10, 175-pound native of Ozark, finished second in the conference in steals (2.9), fifth in assists (4.1) and eighth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3). Johnson led the team in all of the aforementioned categories and minutes played (30.5) while averaging 6.5 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. He finishes his career as Ozarks’ all-time leader in steals (232) and finished second on the school’s all-time assists list (358), just two away from breaking the record. Johnson’s best game of the season came against UT-Tyler when he scored 12 points and dished out 11 assists. “These three are very deserving of this honor,” said head coach Matt O’Connor. “Habeeb does what he is supposed to do as far as getting inside and playing a power game down low. He knows how to get an angle and keep the ball away from the defense. His ability to use both hands sets him apart in this league. He scores a lot because of his good position inside. Josh had a solid season and was a little more well-rounded this year. He does a lot of the little things, but has also been willing to take a big shot or make a big play when we need it. He was much better defensively. One of the testaments of Josh’s career was that he was so reliable. He played a lot of minutes throughout his career without being injured. Brad’s ability to set the tone with his defense and his ability to push the ball made a big difference. He could penetrate and was able to bail us out because of his defensive play. Those are plays that are hard to measure, but he was a difference-maker in that area. He has a great knack for making steals by using his quick hands and feet.” The Eagles (14-12, 14-8) finished tied for second in the ASC East Division and made the playoffs for the second straight season. It was the third time in the past five years Ozarks earned a spot in post-season play. “We did a lot of good things this year,” said O’Connor. “With the exception of a few games here and there I was pretty pleased with the season. I really felt we took some steps forward. We made it really tough to play here at home and I thought we got some quality wins on the road, but we still need to be more consistent on the road. The senior class has had a real strong impact on the program. They were the main reason we had the school’s most conference wins, but I think their impact goes deeper than that. They have excellent attitudes across the board and that sets the tone for the whole program.”