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Johnson, Fortenberry earn all-SLC honors

Jasmine Tate

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The Lions basketball team has continued a tradition of excellence throughout the last 10 years with All-Conference recognition and appearances in the annual Southland Conference Basketball Tournament.
Senior forward Roosevelt Johnson and graduate guard Brandon Fortenberry were named to the 2012-13 Southland All-Conference team.  
“It’s a great accomplishment for both of them and reflects well on our team,” said head coach Jim Yarbrough. “It means that we are one of the better teams in the Southland Conference and have the talent in our players to prove it. I am excited for both of them.”
Overcoming the challenges of injuries as a senior, Fortenberry returned to the roster this season and led the team in assists and steals averaging 13.9 points per game.
“Brandon Fortenberry was not a surprise,” added Yarbrough. “I would’ve been disappointed if he had not made the team. I’m glad the other coaches agreed and saw what I see in him. It’s great that he got this exposure. Unfortunately our season has come to an end, but it’s evident that they have a great deal of respect for our program and our players.”
Right behind Fortenberry, Johnson scored an average 10.7 points per game, a consistent 8.4 rebounds and was selected third team All-Conference.
“We were unsure if he would make it, but we are glad that he was able to make the third team,” said Yarbrough. “I hope if he wants to continue to play he has the opportunity to.”
With his first-team selection, Fortenberry was given the opportunity to compete in the conference tournament in Texas and advanced to the quarterfinals versus McNeese State.
“When you go into a game with an athlete like Brandon, there is every need to compete,” said Yarbrough. “When they know they will have to slow down a player like Brandon, they not only use the energy to play with Brandon but play off of Brandon. It gives you a good weapon to play in any game, that’s for sure.”
Brandon wrapped up his season with the Lions and brought the team noteworthy recognition. After a hard-fought battle of the conference tournament, the team came up short. The Lions will look to replace the roles and positions he filled in the 2013-14 roster.
“He’s been so valuable in so many categories in Southeastern history,” said Yarbrough. “He handles the ball, plays great defense. He’s a great passer, shooter and defensive player. Hopefully we’ll find a way to replace him in each of those categories. I’m delighted that I had another year with him. Last year after his injury, we were unsure if he would be able to come back as strong as he did.  I’m glad that we had one more year with him.”
Although the Lions are not looking forward to replacing the players, they are hoping for growth in the current players on the roster and looking forward to gaining talent in recruits.
“You never really replace someone like Brandon. It’s hard to replace the good ones. That’s for sure,” Yarbrough said. “We have a few prospects and a staff that will do a good job recruiting. We’ll also work to develop the guys that we have on the team now. Hopefully they will be able to step up and do some good things for us in the future.”
 

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