Watson, Craig lead USM into tourney
Wednesday, March 12, 2014 1:00 PM
HATTIESBURG - Southern Miss senior guard Neil Watson and senior forward Michael Craig were named All-Conference USA in a vote by the league's 12 coaches and various media, the league office announced Monday morning.
Watson was named to the first team, while Craig earned third team honors.
"I'm so happy for both Neil and Mike," said Southern Miss head coach Donnie Tyndall. "They were both very deserving of this honor. I think both would say that this award would not have been possible without their team."
Watson becomes the third Golden Eagle to earn First Team honors, joining Gary Flowers in 2011 and Dwayne Davis last year.
Watson leads the Golden Eagles with 10.8 points. He leads Conference USA and is fourth in the country in free throw percentage, connecting on 93.3-percent. He is also second in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.3), eighth in assists (4.1) and ninth in steals (1.6).
The senior has scored in double-figures in 17 games and has led the team in scoring eight times. He has also led the team in assists 21 times.
With a career-high 28 points at Old Dominion, Watson became the 36th member of the 1,000-point club. He also became just the second player in school history with 1,000 points, 450 assists, 250 rebounds and 150 steals. He is the school record holder in free throw percentage (.855), second in assists (155), third in three-pointers (153) and fourth in steals (152).
Watson also earned second team All-Conference honors in 2012, becoming the fifth Golden Eagle to earn All-CUSA twice.
Craig is second on the team in scoring, averaging 10.7 points. He also leads the team and is 10th in the league in rebounding, pulling down 7.2 boards per game. Craig is also seventh in C-USA in field goal percentage (.576).
The Phoenix, Ariz., native has scored in double-figures a team-high 21 times, while leading the team in scoring six times. He also has led Southern Miss in rebounding a team-high 18 times. The senior has recorded seven double-doubles on the year.
Watson is joined on the first team by Florida Atlantic's Pablo Bertone, as well as Chad Frazier of UAB, Shawn Jones of Middle Tennessee and Louisiana Tech's Kenneth Smith.
The second team consists of UTEP's Vince Hunter and Julian Washburn, Tymell Murphy of FIU, East Carolina's Akeem Richmond, and James Woodard of Tulsa.
Craig is joined on the third team by UTEP's John Bohannon, Kareem Canty of Marshall, Ales Hamilton of Louisiana Tech and Pierria Henry of Charlotte.
Southern Miss opens the 2014 Conference USA Tournament this Thursday, March 13, as the No. 4 seed. They will face the winner of No. 5 UTEP and No. 12 East Carolina or No. 13 UTSA in the Quarterfinals at 7 p.m. in El Paso, Texas.