Eagles set to open MEAC tourney vs. Aggies
N.C. Central coach LeVelle Moton comes off like a guy with no idea of what to expect from his team against rival N.C. A&T today when it begins play in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament.
But those in the know believe the Eagles’ fourth-year skipper has his fingers positioned to push all of the right buttons.
Moton is among 20 finalists for the Ben Jobe National Coach of the Year award, given annually to the top minority coach in NCAA Division I men’s basketball. That puts him in the same company as former Duke player and current Harvard coach Tommy Amaker and Virginia Commonwealth coach Shaka Smart.
Norfolk State coach Anthony Evans is on that short list, too, and Moton could match wits with him in the championship game of the MEAC Tournament if the Eagles and Spartans can hang around until Saturday.
NCCU lost just one game in the MEAC, and the Eagles already beat A&T twice this season, but Moton recently said his team has issues with putting opponents out of their misery once they have them down.
A&T beat Florida A&M on Tuesday night, setting up tonight’s postseason version of the Aggie-Eagle game (8 p.m., NCCUEaglePride.com).
NCCU has two first-team all-conference performers in Stanton Kidd and Jeremy Ingram.
Ingram finished the regular season second in the MEAC in scoring with 15.9 points per game, while Kidd’s 14.5 points put him third in the league in scoring.
A&T’s Austin Witter was the MEAC’s defensive player of the year.
Moton, who was a high-scoring guard for NCCU and is in the school’s sports hall of fame, led the Eagles (22-8, 15-1 MEAC) to their first season of more than 20 wins for the first time since he was a freshman in 1992.
The namesake of the Ben Jobe Award is regarded as an icon among historically black colleges and universities, having coached at Southern University, Alabama A&M, Alabama State, Talladega, Tuskegee and S.C. State.
The 2013 Ben Jobe Award recipient will be announced at the CollegeInsider.com awards banquet in Atlanta, where this season’s NCAA national champion will be crowned.