Zabetakis honored by Gulf South Conference

Michael Zabetakis has cleared the first cut in his shot for the 2021 Gulf South Conference Commissioner’s Trophy.

Special to the Times-Georgian

Michael Zabetakis cleared the first cut in his shot for the 2021 Gulf South Conference Commissioner’s Trophy.

The University of West Georgia men’s basketball standout is one of five finalists still standing for the prestigious award on the men’s side, as league officials announced on Tuesday afternoon that the junior guard was selected to the GSC Top Ten.

The overall male and female winners were announced on Thursday after Times-Georgian press time.

The Commissioner’s Trophy, which recognizes a student-athlete’s athletic, academic and extracurricular achievement, is the highest individual honor that the league presents each year. Each member school nominates one male and female representative for the award. Senior Nadia Davila of the women’s track and field team was UWG’s female nominee.

Joining Zabetakis on the Top Ten for the men’s side are Andrew Elkins (soccer; Auburn Montgomery), Maxi Galizzi (soccer; Christian Brothers), Brishen House (cross country; Valdosta State) and Sam Orf (basketball; Alabama-Huntsville).

Zabetakis started all 20 games he played in this past winter after missing the first two due to injury, helping engineer the Wolves’ run to the NCAA Tournament, where they registered their first NCAA Tournament victory since the 2014-15 campaign in a 79-75 thriller over rival Valdosta State.

The junior from Cumming earned First-Team All-GSC East accolades, landed a spot on the GSC All-Tournament Team and was a NABC Second-Team All-District selection.

Shooting 49% from the floor and 50% from 3-point range for the season, Zabetakis led the Wolves at 15.1 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.

In the classroom, the marketing major posted a 3.38 GPA, earning selection to the GSC Winter All-Academic Team in April.

Zabetakis spearheaded the UWG men’s basketball team’s Pen Pal program, which reaches out to local school children as part of the team’s community service. He also helped lead the Wolves’ efforts working the Roopville Hornet 5K.

Zabetakis is only the fourth Top Ten men’s selection for West Georgia since the conference made the transition from Top Eight to Top Ten in 2005. The league began presenting the award in 1975 on the men’s side and 1983 for the women.

West Georgia has had three male Commissioner’s Trophy winners in its history — Cade Marlowe (baseball) in 2019, Lonnie Edwards (basketball) in 1998 and Lance Reinhardt (basketball) in 1993.