Shykeim Phillips named to CAA All-Rookie Team

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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT/UNCW) - Freshman point guard Shykeim Phillips has been named to the Colonial Athletic Association’s All-Rookie Team following an outstanding debut with the UNCW men’s basketball team.

Phillips, a graduate of South Central High School in Winterville, N.C., was recognized early Friday when league officials announced the season’s honorees on the eve of the 2020 Hercules Tires CAA Men’s Basketball Championship in Washington, D.C.

“We brought Shykeim in to be a backup as a freshman and due to our circumstances, he was thrust into the starting role,” said Rob Burke, UNCW’s interim head coach. “He’s handled it in a first-class manner and proven that he can be a big-time guard in the CAA.

“Shykeim’s poise and ability to take care of the ball have been major factors in our five wins in conference play. He’s been steady since day one. He never gets sped up, handles pressure and is still able to score the basketball.”

Phillips, who was named CAA Rookie of the Week three times during the regular campaign, made the first start of his career vs. N.C. Wesleyan on Nov. 19 and scored 19 points. He wound up opening 23 of the 29 games he appeared in during the season, missing only the first two games of February with concussion symptoms.

The slippery playmaker averaged 9.5 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.3 rebounds, shooting 47 percent from the floor and 72.4 percent at the free throw line.

Phillips reached double figures in scoring 15 times, including the last four contests, and poured in a career-high 20 points on Feb. 27 vs. Drexel, UNCW’s first-round opponent in the CAA Tournament.

Overall, Phillips paced the team in scoring four times and led or shared the team high for assists on nine occasions.

Phillips becomes UNCW’s 13th recipient of the honor, following Joe Cherry (1989), Bryan Withers (1989), Darren Moore (1993), Billy Donlon (1996), Oleg Kojenets (1997), Brett Blizzard (2000), John Goldsberry (2003), Chad Tomko (2008), Adam Smith (2011), Jordon Talley (2015), C.J. Bryce (2016) and Kai Toews (2019).

The No. 9-seeded Seahawks and No. 8 Drexel open the CAA Tournament on Saturday with a 4 p.m. matchup at the Sports & Entertainment Arena.