Lovett named All-American, 4 receive All-Region honors

All four players are standing in front of a white backdrop.
From left are Eric Lovett, Sardaar Calhoun, Dravon Clayborn and Burone Edwards. (Missouri State-West Plains Photos)

Eric Lovett, a sophomore guard on the Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Basketball team, received third team All-American honors from the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Monday.

The list was announced Monday, April 8, on the NJCAA.org website by officials with the organization's Division I Men's Basketball Committee.

The 6-foot, 5-inch product from Jonesboro, Georgia, averaged 18 points, 5.3 rebounds and two assists per game this past season. He shot 48.9% from the field, 40.7% behind the arc and 79.2% from the charity stripe.

His effectiveness on the court, especially against Region 16 opponents, also earned him first team All-Region 16 honors this year.

"All of the recognition Eric is receiving is well deserved," Grizzly Basketball Head Coach Chris Popp said. "He has worked extremely hard to become a better player in his time here. A year ago, he worked his way off the bench and into a starting role. This season, he returned with a determined mentality."

Popp pointed out Lovett consistently performed throughout the season. He led the team in scoring, was second on the team in rebounding and assists, and he improved his percentages and production.

"Eric came here with an ability to score. He developed in other areas and was consistent with his effort. He got tough rebounds, took charges, and nobody ran the floor harder. He figured out how to affect the game without scoring," Popp said.

All-Region 16 selections

Lovett was joined on this year's All-Region 16 team by three Grizzly teammates: First team honoree Sardaar Calhoun, and second team honorees Dravon Clayborn and Burone Edwards.

Sardaar Calhoun

Calhoun, a 6-foot, 6-inch freshman guard from Tappahannock, Virginia, averaged 17.6 points, five rebounds and 1.4 assists per game this season. He shot 48.2% from the field, 39.7% from three-point range and 66.7% from the free throw line.

"Sardaar has had a great impact on our team and our program," Popp said. "He is a very talented scorer, finishing just behind Eric at 17.6 points per game. He earned this award on the court; however, his personality may have had just as much impact for us.

"Considering the schedule we played, the players he faced, it is impressive what he was able to accomplish as a freshman," Popp added. "He is very coachable and steadily improved throughout the year. I have no doubt his best basketball is ahead of him."

Burone Edwards

Edwards, a 6-foot, 7-inch sophomore forward from San Antonio, Texas, averaged 11.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. He shot 48% from the field, 37.5% behind the arc and 79.7% at the charity stripe.

"Burone has been huge for this program," Popp said. "As a two-year starter, he has been someone we counted on. Statistics only tell part of the story. He was our leading rebounder and improved his scoring from 8 points per game as a freshman to 11 this season.

"More importantly, he brought us versatility defensively, moved the ball and was a great teammate. He has been an important piece to our success the past two seasons," the coach added.

Dravon Clayborn

Clayborn, a 6-foot, 1-inch point guard from Chicago, Illinois, averaged 9.3 points and 6.7 assists per game. He shot 44.4% from the field, 32.8% from three-point range, and 71.8% from the free throw line.

"A lot was asked of Dravon this year. He was handed the ball as the starting point guard, and with it, was given an immense amount of responsibility," Popp said. "Dra led our team in assists at 6.8 and added 9 points per game to go with it. He is a tough competitor who led by that mentality," the coach added.

For more information about the Grizzly Basketball program, visit www.msuwpgrizzlies.com or call 417-255-7991.