On the heels of the program’s first-ever outright Atlantic Sun Conference regular season championship, Belmont University men’s basketball was well represented on the list of Atlantic Sun postseason awards released Tuesday. Senior Justin Hare (Cleveland, Tenn.) was named First Team All-Atlantic Sun, junior Shane Dansby (Pegram, Tenn.) was named Second Team All-Atlantic Sun, freshman Jordan Campbell (Indianapolis, Ind.) was named to the Atlantic Sun All-Freshman Team, and head coach Rick Byrd was named Atlantic Sun Conference Coach of the Year.
Hare adds to his impressive portfolio of collegiate accomplishments – both on court and off. The Cleveland, Tenn. native leads the Bruins in scoring at 15.0 points per game. This season, the 6-2 guard fortified his credentials as a clutch performer by sinking the game-winning shot in Belmont’s 85-83 victory at Alabama Nov. 19. All told, Hare in the final seconds has provided the game-winning or game-tying shot 14 times over his career. Moreover, the unassuming leader is a two-time Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament MVP.
Having earned First Team All-Atlantic Sun honors a year ago as well, Hare joins former Bruin standouts Adam Mark and Adam Sonn as the only players in Belmont history to receive multiple first team all-conference recognition. Hare also is a two-time Academic All-American.
“Justin’s first team selection as a senior simply adds to his collection of awards as Belmont’s premier Division I player,” Belmont head coach Rick Byrd said. “He has obviously been a huge part of our success over the past three seasons. His clutch play throughout his career inspires confidence in his teammates in late game situations. It will not be the same taking the court without Justin next season.”
Dansby emerged as one of Belmont’s most dependable offensive options. The 6-4 swingman was twice Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Week and was named to the Chattanooga All-Tournament Team. The Murray State transfer delivered against the league’s top teams, providing career-high 28 point performances against Jacksonville and East Tennessee State. He ranks among the Atlantic Sun leaders in scoring, rebounding, and field goal percentage.
“It is great to see Shane rewarded for his terrific year,” Byrd said. “Without the offensive output in the post of the past several years, he stepped in and became a force both inside and outside. Without this kind of season from Shane, we could not have been conference champions.”
Campbell asserted himself early in the non-conference season and became a trusted staple in the Bruin rotation. The Indianapolis, Ind. native scored a career-high 21 points at Samford Nov. 15 on just seven field goal attempts. He also recorded his first career double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds vs. Florida Gulf Coast Feb. 2. Campbell ranks among the Atlantic Sun leaders in rebounding and steals.
“Jordan’s versatility was essential to our team’s success throughout the year,” Byrd said. “His ability to defend, rebound, pass, and score inside or out made him a guy that was hard to keep off the court. On one of our teams with less depth, Jordan would have been a starter and 30 minutes plus kind of player. We are excited about his future.”
Byrd also adds to an already distinguished coaching career. With 538 career victories, Byrd is one of 16 active NCAA Division I head coaches with 500 or more career victories. A six-time district or conference coach of the year from the program’s NAIA days, this is Byrd’s first Atlantic Sun Conference Coach of the Year honor.