Duarte named Panhandle Conference Player of the Year

Duarte named Panhandle Conference Player of the Year


NICEVILLE — There was no wrong choice between Chris Duarte and Javion Hamlet.

The Oregon-bound Duarte was NWF State's leading scorer, a double-double threat averaging 19.4 points and 7.3 rebounds a night.

Hamlet was NWF State's leading assists man, the glue guy dishing out 6.9 assists per game to accent 17.3 points.

In the end, the league's coaches awarded the Panhandle Conference Player of the Year to Duarte.

As consolation, Hamlet was named Panhandle Conference Newcomer of the Year.

Meanwhile UTEP-bound sophomore Eric Vila joined the duo on the First Team and teammates Noah Morgan, Trey Diggs, Tyrie Jackson and Kayne Henry were selected to the Second Team.

Duarte follows in a line of winners that includes NWF State alums Andres Feliz, Jeromy Rodriguez, Shadell Millinghaus and Benji Bell.

He lit up the scoring column with a 57-percent clip from the floor and 43-percent clip from beyond the arc. Meanwhile the 6-foot-6 sophomore was a force defensively, averaging 1.2 steals and 1.1 blocks a night.

Hamlet, a 6-3 sophomore who led the Raiders with 31.1 minutes a night, also shot lights-out, hitting 59 percent of his shots and 41 percent from beyond the arc to accent a steal a night.

Vila, meanwhile, earned his first-team nod after averaging 11.4 points (50 percent shooting) and 7.3 rebounds a night, including a stretch in the Panhandle where the 6-11 sophomore posted six straight double-doubles.

Morgan, a 6-5 sophomore, is averaging 9.1 points (51 percent), three rebounds and 1.4 treys, while 6-5 Niceville alumnus Diggs is posting 8.1 points, 2.2 treys and 2.9 rebound a night.

Jackson, a 6-1 sophomore bound for East Carolina University, is averaging eight points, three rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.3 steals per game, while 6-7 sophomore Henry is averaging 6.1 points and 2.6 rebounds.

Set to defend their Region 8 title, the Raiders (22-4) open the FCSAA tournament against an opponent yet to be determined Wednesday in Ocala.