After his freshman season, University of Memphis guard Will Barton changed the way he approached college basketball. Last summer, he watched game film of the Tigers’ loss to Arizona in the second round of the NCAA tournament — over, and over, and over again.
He was one of the first players on the team to digest film every week, whether it was of Robert Morris or Georgetown. He fully invested himself into his sophomore campaign.
So in a development that surprised no one, Barton was named Conference USA Player of the Year Wednesday morning. The sophomore guard led the Tigers in scoring (18.7 points per game) and rebounding (8.1 per).
Barton joins Antonio Burks, Rodney Carney, and Chris Douglas-Roberts as the only Tigers to receive the honor. Earlier this week, Barton was named to the All-C-USA first team.
The Tigers play their first game of the C-USA Tournament tomorrow against either UTEP or Houston. Memphis lost to UTEP last month, 60-58, at home.
Southern Miss coach Larry Eustachy, who has led his team to a 24-win season, took home C-USA Coach of the Year honors.
Barton has been paramount to the Tigers’ success in C-USA, especially with the string of injuries from senior guard Charles Carmouche and freshman forward Adonis Thomas. The Tigers are 17-3 in their last 20 games and have won their conference games by an average of 17.9 points.
With his career-high 30 points against Tulsa, Barton became one of just nine Tigers to reach the 1,000-point plateau within two seasons.