One of the most successful seasons in the 95-year history of Arkansas Tech men’s basketball yielded more postseason awards this week when Mark Downey was named NCAA Division II South Region coach of the year and Brandon Friedel earned a spot on the all-region team from the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).
Downey (photographed, top right), who is 77-43 in four seasons as the Wonder Boys head coach, led Arkansas Tech to a school-record 30 wins and the first Gulf South Conference West Division regular season title in school history.
The Wonder Boys (30-2) were ranked No. 1 in the nation in seven of the 15 regular season polls by the NABC. Their six-week run atop the poll in January and February was the longest consecutive stay at No. 1 for any men’s basketball team in GSC history.
Arkansas Tech went on to win the GSC Tournament title for a second consecutive year. The Wonder Boys earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Division II Tournament and hosted the NCAA Division II South Regional for men’s basketball for the first time ever.
Friedel (photographed, bottom right), a 6-foot-3 senior guard from Victoria, Texas, was a key component in all of it.
He was the GSC West Division player of the year and a member of the All-GSC West Division team.
Friedel averaged 15.0 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game during his senior season. He was also named to the all-tournament teams at the GSC Tournament and the NCAA Division II South Regional.
He finished his career ranked fifth in Arkansas Tech history in career 3-pointers made (233).
Friedel completed his four-year career with 1,152 points, which ranks 23rd in Arkansas Tech men’s basketball history. Only 30 Wonder Boys have ever scored 1,000 or more points in a career.