TRIO OF SKYHAWKS EARN ALL-OVC MEN'S BASKETBALL ACCOLADES
February 28, 2017
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – The 2016-17 All-Ohio Valley Conference men’s basketball teams were released today, as the University of Tennessee at Martin accounted for three honorees on the prestigious list. The league’s head coaches and sports information directors voted Jacolby Mobley to the All-OVC first team, Javier Martinez to the All-OVC second team and Matthew Butler to the OVC All-Newcomer squad.
The Skyhawks’ three honorees were the most of any team in the OVC. Mobley becomes just the sixth different player in UT Martin history to achieve All-OVC first team status while Martinez is the ninth different Skyhawk to earn a spot on the All-OVC second team. Butler is the 10th UT Martin player to snag the title of an OVC All-Newcomer.
A senior guard out of Starkville, Miss., Mobley materialized into one of the league’s most dynamic players. The 6-0, 160-pound sharpshooter led the conference in three-point field goals made (3.3 per game) while also ranking fourth in the league in points per game (19.4) and minutes played (35.4 per game). He increased his scoring average in conference play, tossing in 21.4 points per outing while guiding the Skyhawks in scoring in 10 of their 16 league games.
Mobley scored at least 25 points on eight different occasions in 2016-17, including a career-best 36 points (on 12-of-17 shooting) in the victory at Austin Peay on Jan. 26. He also supplied 33 points in the home win over Murray State last Saturday while knocking down the game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer to lift UT Martin to a road win at Atlantic 10 member Duquesne on Nov. 23. Despite the fact that he missed five games in December because of an injury, his 83 three-pointers rank 10th in Skyhawk single-season history. He brought home adidas OVC Player of the Week accolades twice (Jan. 30 and Feb. 27).
Martinez quite simply developed into one of the most complete frontcourt players in the OVC during his senior campaign. The forward from St. Croix, Virgin Islands ranks fifth in the country with a .677 field goal percentage while also compiling 8.6 rebounds per game – the third-highest total in the league. He was even better against OVC opponents, as he averaged a double-double of 14.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. In conference play, his rebounding total led the league while also ranking atop the OVC in field goal percentage (.727, 101-for-139) and free throw percentage (.917, 33-of-36).
Ten of Martinez’s 12 double-doubles occurred in OVC play, which ranked as the most in the league. The 6-7, 210-pound phenom became the first player in UT Martin’s Division-I era (since 1992) to record a 20/20 game, hauling in 22 points and a career-best 21 rebounds at Tennessee Tech on Feb. 1. He also accumulated a career-high 27 points (on 12-of-16 shooting) in only 26 minutes in a home win against Bethune-Cookman on Dec. 17 and was named the adidas OVC Player of the Week on Feb. 6.
Butler seized the starting spot at point guard and immediately grew into one of the league’s top floor generals. The Rhode Island transfer was the only Skyhawk to start in all 31 games, ranking fifth in the OVC in three-point field goals made (2.5 per game) and 10th in assists (3.7 per game). He also ranks eighth in the NCAA in minutes played (1,100) after leading the nation in that category throughout the season.
A 6-2, 185-pound Memphis native, Butler’s UT Martin career started out with a 25-point effort in a near-upset road win at Ole Miss, a game where he knocked down seven 3-pointers. He also scored 30 of his career-best 35 points in the first half in a home win over Boyce College on Dec. 4 while pumping in 31 points – including the go-ahead bucket with eight seconds left in overtime – in a home victory over Morehead State on Dec. 31. He averaged 13.8 points per game and was a model of consistency on the offensive end, scoring at least nine points in 30 out of his 31 games.
That trio helped the Skyhawks claim their second straight OVC West division championship and achieve a 20-win season for the third season in a row, a feat that had never been done at UT Martin. The Skyhawks earned the No. 2 seed in this week’s OVC Basketball Championships and will play their first game in the tournament semifinals on Friday, March 3 at 9 p.m.