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Men’s college basketball: Louisiana Tech’s Hester finalist for national coaching award

by Russell Hedges

By Kane McGuire, Louisiana Tech Associate Athletic Director/Strategic Communications

On the same day as being named NABC District 11 Coach of the Year, Louisiana Tech’s Talvin Hester was also named one of 25 finalists for the Ben Jobe Award, an award presented annually to the top minority head coach in Division I college basketball.

Hester led LA Tech to a 22-10 overall record in his second season at the helm, a 7-win improvement from year one with the Bulldogs.

LA Tech recorded a 12-4 CUSA record, finishing second in the league. The Bulldogs, who went 8-7 in road games, were 6-2 in league contests away from home which was the best winning percentage in 11 years.

They ranked as the top CUSA in both NET rankings (99) and KenPom (95) while sporting one of the best defenses in the country. The Bulldogs ranked seventh in field goal percentage defense, allowing teams to shoot just 39.1 percent (lowest in program history since the 1957-58 season). 

LA Tech held 20 teams under 40 percent shooting this season, tied for the second most in the nation. They also ranked 16th in the country in scoring defense, holding their opponents to 64.5 points per game.

Four Bulldogs ended up being named All-Conference USA, marking the first time since 1985 the program has had four all-conference honorees in the same season. One of those was Isaiah Crawford who became the third player in program history to be named CUSA Player of the Year. The forward also earned CUSA Defensive Player of the Year honors while his frontcourt teammate Daniel Batcho was voted CUSA Newcomer of the Year.

The Ben Jobe award is named in honor of one of the most iconic coaches in the history of basketball at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He is best known as the head coach of Southern University, a position he held for 12 seasons. He was also head coach at Alabama A&M, Alabama State, Talladega, Tuskegee, and South Carolina State.

The recipient of the annual award is determined by a 10-member voting committee, which consists of current and former head coaches, as well as two senior staff members of collegeinsider.com.

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2024 Ben Jobe Award Finalists

Amir Abdur-Rahim, South Florida
Tony Barbee, Central Michigan
Kenny Blakeney, Howard
Alvin Brooks, Lamar
Craig Claxton, Hofstra
Donald Copeland, Wagner
Hubert Davis, North Carolina
Corey Gipson, Austin Peay
Justin Gray, Western Carolina
Talvin Hester, Louisiana Tech
Donte’ Jackson, Grambling
Kevin Johnson, Southern
James Jones, Yale
Mike Jones, UNCG
Robert Jones, Norfolk State
Erik Martin, South Carolina State
Bashir Mason, Saint Peter’s
Lamont Paris, South Carolina
Tevon Saddler, Nicholls
Kelvin Sampson, Houston
Patrick Sellers, Central Connecticut
Shaka Smart, Marquette
K.T. Turner, UT Arlington
Drew Valentine, Loyola Chicago
Darrell Walker, Little Rock

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