NJIT's Cooks, Liberty's Homesley & James Named to Lou Henson Award Watch List

NJIT's Cooks, Liberty's Homesley & James Named to Lou Henson Award Watch List

Lou Henson National Player of the Year Preseason Watch List

BOSTON, Mass. -- A trio of ASUN Conference Men's Basketball student-athletes were named to the Lou Henson National Player of the Year Preseason Award Watch List it was announced Wednesday. NJIT's Zach Cooks along with Liberty's tandem of Caleb Homesley and Scottie James were honored on the award watch list which annually recognizes the nation's top NCAA Division I mid-major player. 

Cooks, a Lawrenceville, Ga., native was named a unanimous selection to the All-ASUN team earlier this preseason. The junior guard ranked in the Top-15 nationally last season with 88 steals (7th) and 2.5 steals per game (12th). In addition to leading the ASUN on those categories, he was third in points per game (17.6). A Second Team All-Conference selection a year ago, Cooks also grabbed 4.8 rebounds and dished out 2.1 assists per game.

Homesley adds to his preseason awards as he was named the ASUN Preseason Player of the Year, while also being named First Team All-ASUN. Homesley had an exceptional junior season as he averaged 12.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists per contest. Homesley's played ramped up late in the season as the native of Indian Trail, N.C. averaged 13.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists per conference game, leading the Flames to a 14-2 record in the ASUN. On college basketball's biggest stage, Homesley rose to the occasion as he scored a career-high 30 points in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament, leading the Flames to a victory over Mississippi State.

James joins Homesley on the Lou Henson watch list after a stellar junior campaign where he was named to the NABC District 3 Second Team. The native of Tarpon Springs, Fla. was one of the best players in the ASUN last season, as he was named to ASUN First Team All-Conference after averaging a team-best 12.6 points, 8.6 rebounds and shooting 66.5 percent from the floor.

The award honors Henson, the former Illinois and New Mexico State coach who won 775 games in 41 seasons.  Henson is the winningest coach in Illinois basketball history with 423 victories. During his 21 seasons (1975-1996), Henson led the Fighting Illini to 16 postseason appearances, including 12 NCAA tournaments and a Final Four appearance in 1989. Past winners include Wofford's Fletcher Magee, and current NBA players Matthew Dellavedova and Kyle O'Quinn. Homesley and James were two of three players from the ASUN Conference to make the list as NJIT's Zach Cooks was named as well.

The ASUN Conference is an NCAA Division I league with nine member institutions committed to Building Winners for Life. The ASUN meets the challenge of maintaining the highest standards in academic and athletic achievement through a true balance between student and athlete. Six ASUN schools reside in Nielsen Top 50 national media markets, and all nine are in top 80 markets. The ASUN includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Liberty University, Lipscomb University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, University of North Alabama, University of North Florida and Stetson University. Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky., joins the ASUN for the 2020-21 academic year.