IRVING, Texas (SMU/C-USA) – SMU senior forward Papa Dia and junior forward Robert Nyakundi were named to the 2011 All-Conference USA Team. Dia is a first-team selection and a finalist for Player of the Year while Nyakundi was selected to the third team. The two helped SMU to its highest win total (17) since 2002-03 as well as its most wins (8) in Conference USA and best seed (No. 7) in the C-USA Championship.
This is the second year season SMU has had multiple All-Conference selections. Dia and Derek Williams were third-team honorees last season. Dia is the first Mustang to earn first-team honors since Quinton Ross in 2002-03. SMU faces No. 10-seed Rice in the first round of the Buick C-USA Championship on Wednesday at 9 p.m. CT / 8 p.m. MT.
Papa Dia was a preseason All-Conference USA selection and has been named Player of the Week three times. He is averaging 18.5 points (4th C-USA), 9.0 rebounds (3rd C-USA) and 2.2 blocks (1st C-USA) while shooting 58.2 percent (1st C-USA, 17th NCAA) from the field and 78.7 percent at the free throw line (10th C-USA). He also has 13 double-doubles, which is second in the league. In Conference USA games, Dia finished second in the league in scoring (20.0), second in rebounds (9.6), first in blocked shots (2.9) and first in field goal percentage (.559). He has scored at least 20 points 14 times this season and had at least 8 rebounds 24 times. Dia is 14th at SMU in career points (1353), fifth in rebounds (847), fifth in blocked shots (132) and 10th in field goal percentage (51.7).
Robert Nyakundi earned his first all-conference accolades. He is ninth in C-USA in scoring (15.1) while leading Conference USA in 3-point percentage (.489) and 3-point field goals per game (2.9). His 3-point percentage is third nationally. Nyakundi set the Conference USA record by hitting 54.3 percent (44-81) from 3-point range in league play. His 88 3-pointers this year are already an SMU season record and his 174 career threes rank fourth at SMU. The Mustangs now have three honorees as Collin Mangrum was named to the Conference USA All-Academic Team on Friday.