"Watch number 0, if you want to become a better basketball player, just watch Thomas Walkup." That's what I've told my 15-year-old son and that's what I would tell any coach or parent.  "Just watch how Walkup plays the game."The 6'4" junior on the SFA Basketball team is not the quickest nor the fastest player in the Southland Conference.  He's not the most athletic nor does he have the purest shot in the conference...but he is the best player in the Southland Conference. On Monday, Thomas Walkup was named the league's Player of the Year.  He was also named to the Southland Conference's All-Defensive Team.

So, how did Walkup attain the league's top honor?  Nobody has a bigger heart than Tom, and that gives him the 'out'.  Walkup will 'out'work, 'out'tough, 'out'think, and in the end 'out'play every opponent on the basketball court.  His work ethic both on and off the court is unmatched. That's why at the end of the game, Walkup is usually leading the team in points and rebounds.

Thomas Walkup takes 'beast mode' to a whole new level. He's as strong as an ox, but he will also be the first to offer words of encouragement to teammates or a hand up to a fallen adversary.  He believes in himself, his team, his coaches, his family, and he believes that the Bible is the ultimate playbook.

On or off the court, Walkup is the consummate role model.  Emulate how he approaches basketball and life and you'll be on the right path.

Last year, SFA's Jacob Parker was named the conference's Player of the Year.  This year, he was named to the All-Southland Conference Second Team.  However, don't for a second think that there was a drop off in Parker's play from a year ago.  Opponents targeted him this year with double and triple teams because they saw him take control of games last year.  Parker unselfishly endured the punishment game after game so that other players on the team could put their talents on display.  Still, Parker was one of the top scorers and rebounders on the team, and once again, an All-Conference Player.

Coach Brad Underwood was awarded the league's Coach of the Year honor for the 2nd straight year.  In his two years at the SFA helm, Underwood has compiled a cumulative record of 59-7 becoming the all-time winningest second year coach in NCAA Division I history, surpassing the 58 victories of UNC's Bill Guthridge from 1997-99, while his .894 winning percentage is tops all-time among second year head coaches.