NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Middle Tennessee’s Nick King was voted Tennessee Sports Writers Association Men’s Basketball Player of the Year while Tennessee’s Rick Barnes earned TSWA Coach of the Year, as announced this week by the organization.
King averaged 21.0 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists for the Blue Raiders, posting 32 double-digit scoring games with 19 contests of 20-plus points on his way to Conference USA Player and Newcomer of the Year honors. The Memphis, Tenn., native was voted Third Team All-American by USA Today, the first All-America accolades in Middle Tennessee men’s basketball history.
The senior forward recorded 11 double-doubles and was the only player in Conference USA to rank in the Top 5 in the league in scoring and rebounding. He was a finalist for the Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year and was on the Lute Olson Award Watch List. King broke the single-season scoring record for the Blue Raiders with 694 points, shattering a 31-year old mark by 71 points. He ranked 28th nationally in scoring and 14th in total field goals made (259).
Barnes led the Vols to a share of the regular season SEC Championship and reached the SEC Tournament championship game with a club picked 13th by many in the preseason. Tennessee finished the year 26-9 overall, 10-5 in conference play, earning the program’s first trip to the NCAA Tournament in four years. UT ranked in the AP Top 25 for 14 straight weeks during the 2017-18 campaign, reaching as high as No. 13.
Barnes was voted SEC Coach of the Year by the AP and league coaches and earned Coach of the Year honors for NABC District 21 and USBWA District IV. He was selected as a finalist for the Werner Ladder Naismith Trophy for Men's College Coach of the Year and given the Athletes in Action Coach Wooden "Keys to Life" Award.
King and Barnes will be honored during the annual TSWA Hall of Fame dinner and banquet at Cumberland University on Thursday, July 12.