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Appalachian State Men’s Basketball Earn Multiple District Awards

After helping the App State men’s basketball team to one of the best seasons in program history and an NIT berth, Donovan Gregory and Tre’Von Spillers were named All-District 23 while head coach Dustin Kerns was named the District 23 Coach of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) on Tuesday.

Spillers was named NABC All-District first team, while Gregory was named to the second team. They are App State’s seventh and eighth NABC All-District honorees in program history with Spillers becoming the fourth first-team selection. Kerns is the Mountaineers’ first District Coach of the Year.

Gregory and Spillers were also named All-Sun Belt first team while Kerns was named the Sun Belt Coach of the Year. (https://goapp.st/SBCHonors)

In his first season in the High Country, Spillers was a force down low for App State as he finished second on the team in scoring and led the team in rebounding. The junior college transfer who hails from Charleston, S.C., led the team with 24 double-digit scoring games and scored in double figures in all but four Sun Belt Conference games. An efficient scorer, he enters the NIT with the third-best field-goal percentage in the Sun Belt and the 20th-best in the nation at 60 percent.

Spillers recorded 11 double-doubles this season, the most by a Mountaineer since Charles Payton had 14 in 1980-81. Entering Wednesday’s NIT first-round game at Wake Forest, Spillers is one of five players in the Sun Belt to be in the top 20 in both points per game and rebounds per game. His current 8.8 rebounding average would be the highest by a Mountaineer in a season since Chad McClendon averaged 10.1 in 1994-95.

Gregory led the Mountaineers in scoring in the regular season, averaging 13.2 points in his fifth year at App State. He heads into the postseason with 1,521 points, 681 rebounds, 407 assists, 194 steals and 60 blocks. No other active Sun Belt player has totals that high in all five of those statistical categories. Gregory became the all-time winningest player in program history after the team beat South Alabama on Jan. 4. Heading into the postseason, he has played in 89 App State wins.

The Charlotte, N.C., native became just the 12th player in program history to eclipse 1,500 career points after his 22-point performance against Georgia Southern in the Sun Belt Tournament quarterfinals. For the year, he tallied three 20-point games, including a career-best 24 points in the Mountaineers’ thrilling double-overtime win over Toledo on Feb. 10. He also scored the game-winning basket in the Mountaineers’ overtime road victory at Georgia Southern on Feb. 3.

Kerns has guided the Mountaineers to a program-record 27 wins, which led to the Mountaineers claiming their first outright regular season conference title in 45 years. App State won a program-record 16 Sun Belt games this season, while also securing the highest winning percentage in conference play in program history at .889.

Kerns led the Mountaineers to three wins over current NCAA Tournament teams, which included a win over SEC Tournament champion Auburn on Dec. 3. The Mountaineers were the only team in the country that went undefeated in both Quad 1 and Quad 2 games in the regular season (3-0).

Statistically, App State was one of the best teams in the Sun Belt in Kerns’ fifth year. Defensively, the Mountaineers finished in the top 10 in NCAA Division I in blocks (first), blocks per game (first), field-goal percentage defense (fourth), fouls per game (third) and rebounds per game (fifth). Offensively, App State had the fourth-highest scoring offense in the Sun Belt, which was its highest ranking under Kerns.

App State will hit the floor for its first NIT appearance since 2007 on Wednesday. Tipoff against Wake Forest is set for 8 p.m. and can be streamed on ESPN+. Tickets still remain.

NABC All-District 23 Teams

First Team
Austin Crowley, Southern Miss
Terrence Edwards Jr. – James Madison
Christyon Eugene – Troy
Kobe Julien – Louisiana
Tre’Von Spillers – App State

Second Team
Obinna Anochili-Killen – Marshall
T.J. Bickerstaff – James Madison
Caleb Fields – Arkansas State
Donovan Gregory – App State
Joh Ojiako – Coastal Carolina

Coach of the Year
Dustin Kerns – App State