Ashley Houts, Georgia’s 5-foot-6 point guard, was named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year in a vote of the league’s coaches. Her “Breakfast Club” was at Dade County High School in northwest Georgia, where she joined her teammates at the perennial prep power for 5:45 a.m. weight lifting and afternoon shooting three days a week in the offseason.
On the days the Breakfast Club didn’t meet, Houts was in the gym by herself shooting at 6 a.m. virtually every day, for four seasons.
“It’s just something I’ve always done, get up when the sun comes up and start orking.,” Houts said. “I’m glad it’s carried over to college.”
Lady Bulldog forward Tasha Humphrey (team-leading 16.1 points, 7.9 rebounds per game) was named first-team All-SEC on Tuesday, and Christy Marshall and Angel Robinson were named, along with Houts, to the All-Freshman team. It’s the first time in SEC history that three teammates have been named to the eight-person all-freshman team in the same year.
Marshall also was named the league’s co-Sixth Woman of the Year. Senior guard Cori Chambers was named second-team All-SEC.
Houts’ work ethic has helped her this year, as she leads the SEC in minutes played (33.4). She has played at least 32 minutes in every SEC game and played 37 or more in 12 of 15. She leads all conference freshmen in assists (3.7 per game), steals (2.7 per game) and assist-to-turnover ration (1.23).
“It seems like every time someone on our basketball team is asked, ‘Who impresses you?’ they say Ashley,” Georgia coach Andy Landers said. “It’s because she’s out here early every day and out here after practice every day. It’s her commitment to working and getting better. That’s who she is, that’s what she’s about. I think she feels the need to do that, but I think she enjoys doing that even more. It’s a joy for her to be out there.”
After learning of her award Tuesday, Houts deflected attention from herself and onto Georgia’s postseason, which starts Friday in the SEC Tournament in Duluth. The No. 11 Lady Bulldogs (24-5, 11-3 SEC) are the tournament’s No. 2 seed and will play the winner of Thursday’s Kentucky-Arkansas game at The Arena at Gwinnett Center.
“It’s a great honor, but the focus right now is this team and the postseason and just trying to go as far as we can go,” she said.