ULL’s Elfrid Payton, Shawn Long earn NABC All-District honors

Staff Report

KANSAS CITY — Additional honors for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns basketball team came March 26 when Elfrid Payton and Shawn Long were named to the all-district 24 team by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.

Payton, a sophomore point guard, was a first team all-district honoree while Long, a former Morgan City High School standout, was named to the second team.

“This is a nice honor for both Elfrid and Shawn,” Louisiana head coach Bob Marlin said in a university news release. “In reviewing the season, we could see that the games in which we had success, these two were at their best and that shows how important they are to this program.

“I look forward to being able to work with them again next year,” Marlin added.

Payton, a 6-2, 170-pound point guard from Gretna, had a breakout year, averaging a team-best 15.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 2.4 steals per game. He was the only player in the country to average 15 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals per game this year, according to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Sports Information Department.

Payton finished the year leading the Sun Belt Conference in both steals and assists, ranking 12th nationally in steals and 38th in assists. He also was fourth in the league in scoring and 18th in rebounds.

A starter in all 33 games, Payton ranks third in school history with 80 steals this year while his 181 assists are fourth-best. With two full seasons to play, he already ranks 18th all-time with 117 steals and 278 assists.

“Elfrid just continued to get better and better as the season went on, and by the time we got to the league tournament, he was viewed as the best point guard in the conference,” Marlin said. “He has two seasons left to continue to grow and develop and help bring this program back to the postseason.”

Long, a 6-9, 243-pound forward, was the dominant big man inside this year for the Cajuns, averaging 15.5 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2 blocks per game. He ranks 12th nationally and second in the Sun Belt in rebounding and is fourth in the league and 60th in the nation in blocked shots.

With 337 rebounds, Long ranks sixth on the Louisiana single season list, while his 65 blocked shots are also sixth-best.

Long ranks sixth in the nation with 18 double-doubles and has scored 20 points or more in a game nine times. He leads all freshmen in the nation in rebounding and is ninth among freshmen in both scoring and blocks.

“Shawn started the season out by playing good basketball, and his game continued to develop as the year went on,” Marlin said. “As impressive as his numbers are this year, I don’t think that he has scratched the surface of his true potential. I look forward to watching him develop over the next three years.”

The NABC will announce its All-America team at the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four in Atlanta.

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