Pair of Northwestern State guards earn national recognition

Backcourt stability has been a hallmark of the Northwestern State men’s basketball program, and two Demon guards earned honors Wednesday to illustrate that stability.

Rising seniors John Norvel and C.J. Jones were selected to the National Association of Basketball Coaches Honors Court, which recognizes student-athletes with a cumulative 3.2 GPA or higher and are upperclassmen.

Norvel posted a 3.39 GPA in health and exercise science, while Jones has accumulated a 3.38 GPA in child and family studies.

“Both of these guys come from great homes where the parents stressed education and hard work,” said NSU head coach Mike McConathy, who graduates players at a 90 percent rate in his 21 seasons on the Demons sidelines. “All of those things make the difference in young people being successful, and these guys have been active in their academic and athletics pursuits.

“John has a great heart and competes at a high level, making hustle plays and doing the little things nobody sees that helps us win games. We’ve asked C.J. to play a lot of minutes for us, and he understands the concept of what we’re trying to do. He’s a big reason why we made our run at the end of the season (7-3 in last 10 games) because of the stability he offers at point guard.”

Norvel is making his second straight appearance on the team, serving as a key role player who has made 58 appearances in the last two seasons.

Jones has been the primary starting point guard in his three seasons as a Demon, making 62 starts. The Monroe native was selected to the Southland Conference All-Academic Second Team in March.

Under McConathy, the Demons have placed at least one player on the Honors Court for five of the last six seasons with four of those seasons featuring two student-athletes on the team.

The news is another positive involving the program’s academic achievements, following a 967 Academic Progress Rate score in May that ranked third among Division I programs in Louisiana.

PHOTO CREDITS: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services for mug shots
Gary Hardamon/NSU Photographic Services for action shots