The Catoosa County News
Stephens, Alexis earn Socon hoop awards for Mocs
Following a solid season on the court, Chattanooga Mocs men’s basketball graduate student Jake Stephens and freshman Sam Alexis earned All-southern Conference laurels after the league office announced its postseason winners.
Stephens, who was forced to miss the final 11 games of the regular season due to injury, was named to the All-socon first team (media) and the All-socon second team (coaches) following his strong start to the season. Alexis, who was Stephens’ understudy this year, earned a spot on the Socon All-freshman Team as voted on by league coaches.
Stephens earned the first team (media) honor for the second straight season after finding himself on both first team lists following his 2021-22 season at VMI. It marks his fourth and fifth all-time Socon postseason awards after finding a spot on the second team (media) in 2020-21.
The Socon Preseason Player of the Year, Stephens missed the final 11 games of the regular season after suffering an injury against Furman on Jan. 18. At the time of the injury, Stephens was averaging 21.8 points, 10.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.4 blocks per game, which not only led the Socon, but ranked among NCAA Division I’s best.
Stephens became one of just two players in NCAA DI basketball over the last 30-plus years to achieve 1,800 career points, 900 career rebounds, 300 career assists and 200 career blocks, while he became just the 23rd player in the past 25 seasons to notch 1,800 points, 900 rebounds and 200 blocks in a career.
He posted double-digit points in 19 of the 20 games he played in the regular season, notched 10 games with 20 or more points, and had four games with 30 or more. He recorded back-to-back 30+ point, 10+ rebound games against VMI and Western Carolina this season to become just the first player in NCAA DI since 2019 to accomplish the feat.
In addition, he posted 11 double-doubles in his 20 games played. His 32 points and 20 rebounds during an overtime loss to Belmont on Dec. 18 was the first ever 30/20 game in UTC history and the first 20/20 game in the DI era of UTC basketball (1977-present).
Alexis appeared in 28 games as a true freshman with the Mocs this season and averaged 12.6 minutes of floor time. He averaged 6.0 points and 4.5 rebounds inside conference play this season while shooting 52.4 percent (33 of 63) from the floor during that span.
The Apopka, Fla., native arrived on the scene with a huge breakout performance on national television during a win over Mercer on Feb. 11. Alexis dropped 26 points on 10 of 14 shooting, including a 4 of 6 mark from deep, while adding in six rebounds and a steal to help lift UTC to the victory.
He recorded five or more rebounds 15 different times this season, including the final 10 games of the regular season. Of his 116 total rebounds in the regular season, Alexis snagged 47 on the offensive side of the glass, which checks out a high 40.5 percent rate.