NORFOLK, Va., – North Carolina Central senior forward Jibri Blount has been named the 2019-20 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Player of the Year, the conference announced Friday. Howard’s Wayne Bristol, Jr. is the Rookie of the Year, while Cletrell Pope from Bethune-Cookman has earned Defensive Player of the Year honors. North Carolina A&T State acting head coach Willie Jones has been selected the MEAC Coach of the Year.
All awards were voted on by the conference’s head men’s basketball coaches and sports information directors.
Blount, a 6-foot-7 senior forward from Pittsburgh, Pa., is one of the most prolific scorers in the MEAC, averaging 20.0 points per game in conference play and 19.3 points in all games this season. He has scored in double figures in 27 games this season, scoring 20 points or more 13 times. No slouch on defense, either, Blount leads the MEAC in both scoring and steals per game.
Additionally, Blount was selected as the MEAC Player of the Week five times and Defensive Player of the Week once. He has had three 30-point performances, with a high of 33 against Delaware State and Mid-Atlantic Christian this season.
Bristol, Jr., a 6-foot-6 freshman guard from Upper Marlboro, Md., is on pace to become one of the better players to ever wear a Bison uniform. He earned MEAC Rookie of the Week honors three times this season, more than any other player. Bristol is shooting 41 percent from the floor while averaging 11.6 points per game and 4.0 rebounds. He started in 25 of his team’s 30 regular-season games.
Pope, a 6-foot-9 junior forward from Northport, Ala., becomes the first player since Norfolk State’s Kyle O’Quinn to earn back-to-back MEAC Defensive Player of the Year honors. He is currently second in the nation in offensive rebounds per game and is third in total rebounds per game (11th in total rebounds). He is one of two players averaging a double-double in the MEAC with 14.2 points and 11.9 rebounds per game, and he is ranked 12th in the nation in double-doubles with 16 this season. Additionally, he has earned MEAC Defensive Player of the Week honors eight times this season and MEAC Player of the Week honors twice. Pope is the fourth player in the last five years from Bethune-Cookman to win the MEAC Defensive Player of the Year award.
After taking the helm, Jones has led North Carolina A&T State to a 12-4 record in league play and a second straight second-place finish, as the Aggies finished the regular season 16-15 overall. Jones coached the Aggies a 13-4 mark since taking over as acting head coach. North Carolina A&T State finished the regular season winning seven out of its last 10 games as the Aggies head into the 2020 MEAC Tournament as the second seed. Two of Jones’ players earned All-MEAC First Team honors, with another on the All-Rookie Team.
Joining Blount and Pope on the 2019-20 All-MEAC First Team are North Carolina A&T State’s Ronald Jackson and Kameron Langley, and Norfolk State’s Jermaine Bishop.
The 2019-20 regular-season champions, first-team honorees and other award winners, including Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Coach of the Year, will be recognized in pre-game presentations prior to the honorees’ first games in tournament play. Tournament play begins Tuesday, March 10, and runs through Saturday, March 14, at the Scope Arena in Norfolk, Va.