Hampden-Sydney’s Hubbard makes Francis Award Watch List

Published 5:49 am Sunday, January 21, 2024

Next to winning a national title, the Clarence “Bevo” Francis Award is one of the biggest prizes in what’s called “small” college basketball. The prize is given out each year to the best player among NCAA Division II and Division III, the NAIA, USCAA and NCCAA. This time around, there’s a Hampden-Sydney Tiger on the Watch List. 

Anyone who’s followed the Tigers’ season so far could likely guess the name before we even announce it, as Davidson Hubbard has had a career year up to this point. The 6’5 senior forward, who hails from Charlotte, North Carolina, is the team leader in points (238), scoring average, field goals, field goal attempts, field goal percentage, rebounds (122), rebound average, offensive rebounds (30) and defensive rebounds (92). 

Hubbard has started all 16 games this season, averaging 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 28.9 minutes, while adding 13 steals and four blocks. He is shooting 51% (97-192) from the field, including 37% (26-70) on three-point field goals, and 82% (18-22) at the free throw line. As a result, he’s one of the final 100 to be named, out of thousands of players, to the Watch List. Then, over the next two months, the award committee will whittle that 100 down to 75, 50, 25 and eventually settle on one. 

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As for Hubbard’s chances, being the top scorer on the nation’s No. 1 team doesn’t hurt. Hampden-Sydney has gone 16-1 this year, 8-1 in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. And as his head coach, Caleb Kimbrough, pointed out earlier this year, it’s not a secret. Everyone knows he’s going to get the ball and even so, they still can’t stop him from scoring. 

“Davidson Hubbard, he’s our go-to guy,” Kimbrough said. “He knows that, the guys know that, the other team knows that. And he still goes out and gives it all every night on both ends of the court.” 

Francis Award criteria 

So how does the committee choose who gets the Bevo Francis Award? They go through a long list of things, including season statistics and individual achievements, along with awards, personal character and team achievements. As we mentioned before, the list will be narrowed to the Top 50 on Feb. 15 and the Top 25 on March 15, and the timing for the finalists and the award winner is yet to be determined.

The Top 100 Watch List also includes fellow ODAC players Tyler Dearman of No. 2 Guilford, Omari DeVeaux of No. 20 Virginia Wesleyan and Robert DiSibio of Washington and Lee, along with Jahn Hines of defending national champion Christopher Newport.

Breaking down Hubbard’s awards

This isn’t Hubbard’s first or even second award this season. In fact, he seems to be doing a great job of collecting them. 

So far this year, he’s been named the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) Division III National Player of the Week and the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Player of the Week, and to the D3hoops.com Team of the Week after averaging 21.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in two late December wins (at John Carroll, 12/19; Salisbury, 12/30). He was also named the Al Van Wie/Wooster Rotary Classic MVP after averaging 19.5 points and 12.5 rebounds in two wins against Widener and Rose-Hulman.