2008-09 Men's Basketball Season Review
March 25, 2009
The LSUS Men's Basketball team completed the 2008-09 season with a 22-12 overall record after falling to the Mountain State Cougars, 86-74, in the first-round of the NAIA National Tournament last week. However, the Pilots continued their string of five straight championship seasons and made their fifth consecutive NAIA National Tournament appearance after winning their fourth straight GCAC Tournament title on March 10 versus Spring Hill College and receiving an automatic bid to the National Tournament.
LSUS was led in 2008-09 by GCAC All-Conference selections Chris Gatlin and Mike Pilgrim and GCAC Freshman of the Year Derrick Parker. Gatlin finished the season averaging a team-high 16.6 PPG, while shooting over 40% from the three-point line for the season and also garnering Honorable Mention All-America Honors. Pilgrim chipped in with 14 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, and he set the LSUS record for highest single-season field goal percentage at .642 (95-for-148). Parker led the team in rebounds with 259 (7.6 RPG), setting the school record for most rebounds in a season by a freshman.
Seniors Tyrone Hamilton and Clarke Jackson also contributed much to the Pilot’s program during their senior campaigns. Hamilton scored nearly 16 PPG, while dishing out over 5 assists per contest to lead the GCAC in that category. Jackson started in all 27 games played in his final season as a Pilot, scoring 8.5 PPG and shooting 38% from behind the arc.
Point guard Jared Stevenson capped off his junior year by being named the LSUS Men's Basketball Champion of Character and winning the Pattison Scholarship Award at the NAIA National Tournament Tip-off banquet. The award is given annually to just four student-athletes involved with NAIA Division 1 Men's Basketball, and as a part of the award, Jared has been given a $2,000 scholarship in which he plans to use to help pay for graduate school. He will graduate in May with a degree in accounting, and will pursue a Masters in Business and Administration next year as he completes his final season of eligibility for the Pilots.
Head Coach Chad McDowell continued to establish himself as one of the elite college coaches in the country, after leading the Pilots to 20-plus wins for the sixth consecutive season. McDowell recorded his 150th career win on Feb. 26 versus Belhaven and currently holds a 154-47 (.766) overall record. He is the winningest college basketball coach in the State of Louisiana over the past six years, and will be in the running for his sixth straight Louisiana Small College Coach of the Year award this spring.Although LSUS loses four seniors to graduation (Gatlin, Hamilton, Jackson and Chris Wafer), the Pilots will look to reload again this offseason and make a run at another championship season in 2009-10. Returning for the 2009-10 season are eight letter-winners, including two starters (Stevenson and Parker) off of the 2008-09 squad. With a solid nucleus returning and the addition of a few impact recruits, fans at The Dock should once again be excited about the future of LSUS Basketball.