Three Dolphins earn preseason all-conference honors

Three of JU’s four returning starters were named to the Atlantic Sun Conference preseason all-conference team released on Wednesday.

Senior point guard Ben Smith headlines the trio by being the unanimous selection by the league coaches for A-Sun Preseason “Player of the Year,” the first Dolphin to earn the honor.

Smith is joined by senior forward Lehmon Colbert and junior forward Ayron Hardy on the preseason honor roll.

“All three of these young men are deserving of this honor,” said JU head coach Cliff Warren. “But it is also a tribute to their teammates for we accomplished last season. As leaders on this team, they know they can’t rest on this – they have to work each day to get better to make our team better.”

Smith and Colbert enter the final seasons having already joined the elite 1,000-point club, with Smith ranking 13th with 1,319 points and Colbert tied for 19th with 1,122. Hardy joins the senior duo after being named A-Sun Defensive “Player of the Year” last season.

Last season, Smith led the team in scoring (16.9 ppg), assists (4.0 apg) and steals (2.2 spg). While already a member of the 1,000-point club, Smith is also listed among the school’s all-time leaders in free throws made (412 - 2nd), steals (164 – 6th), assists (395 – 4th) and 3-pointers made (139 – 5th). He has put up 20 points or more in a game 16 times in his career, going for at least double digits 64 times in his 92 games as a Dolphin.

Colbert has been a force on both ends of the court in his career at JU, ranking among the top two on the team in rebounds each of his first three seasons. He has recorded six double-doubles in his career, putting up double figures in scoring in 21 of the final 26 games last season.

Hardy was named the league’s top defender after being the only player in the A-Sun to rank in the top 10 in the league for rebounds, steals and blocks.

Joining the JU trio on the all-conference team was Mercer’s James Florence and Daniel Emerson, Lipscomb’s Adnan Hodzic, Campbell’s Jonathan Rodriguez, USC Upstate’s Nick Schneiders, Stetson’s A.J. Smith and ETSU’s Mike Smith.