March 12, 2015

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) SMU guard Nic Moore, who led the Mustangs to the American Athletic Conference regular-season title, was named the conference's player of the year on Thursday.

Temple coach Fran Dunphy, whose Owls finished the regular season at 22-9, received the league's coach of the year award and UConn freshman Daniel Hamilton was voted rookie of the year by the league's coaches.

Moore averaged 14.4 points and 5.2 assists per game. He led the league in 3-point and free throw shooting as well as free throw percentage. He hit 43 percent of his 3-pointers and 87.5 percent of his foul shots.

Moore said his goal this season was not to win awards, but to make sure SMU did not have a repeat of last season, when the team missed the NCAA Tournament and lost in the title game of the NIT.

''I knew coming into this season that it had to be a different mindset,'' Moore said. ''If we wanted to achieve great things, I was going to have to be on my `A' game.''

Dunphy, whose team finished 9-22 a year ago, could earn his 500th win as a head coach when the fourth-seeded Owls face fifth-seeded Memphis (18-13) on Friday.

Dunphy accepted his coaching award in the memory of Wil Smith, a girls' basketball coach at The Berkshire School in Sheffield, Massachusetts, who died of colon cancer last month at 46.

Dunphy met Smith at a coaching clinic. He told a story of how Smith would make the 4 1/2-hour drive to Philadelphia for chemotherapy. Dunphy tried to get Smith a free room at a local support center, but Smith told him he didn't want to take the spot because someone else might need it more.

''Nobody should be as lucky as we are as college basketball coaches, no one,'' he said. ''For me to meet Wil Smith, that topped off my college basketball career.''

UConn's Hamilton averaged 10.8 points and 7.6 rebounds while playing both swingman and power forward for the Huskies (17-13).

He joins UConn sophomore center Amida Brimah, who was named the conference's defensive player of the year earlier this week after blocking 101 shots this season.

''The future of this program is real bright for us,'' Hamilton said.

Their teammate Pat Lenehan was named the scholar-athlete of the year. Lenehan, who has a 4.0 grade-point average majoring in molecular and cell biology, is deciding where to attend medical school next year after being accepted to Harvard, Columbia, Duke, Johns Hopkins and others.

Two other SMU players also picked up awards. Forward Markus Kennedy was named the conference's sixth man of the year and center Yanick Moreira was named the conference's most improved player.

Memphis forward Shaq Goodwin was chosen as the winner of the league's sportsmanship award.

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