KiAndre Gaddy tabbed WAC Defensive Player of the Year to lead trio of Texans earning postseason honors


STEPHENVILLE — After a record-breaking 2023-24 regular season, a trio of Texans were chosen for WAC postseason honors highlighted by KiAndre Gaddy’s WAC Defensive Player of the Year honor and Jakorie Smith’s first team selection, the league office announced on Monday.
After a 23-9 regular season with a 16-4 record in WAC games, three different Texan players earned a total of five awards for the program. Only UT Arlington garnered more conference accolades with seven total. The Texans and GCU Lopes boasted the second-most in the league with five selections.
 Gaddy’s honor also earned him a selection to the WAC All-Defensive Team. With the recognition, Tarleton becomes just the third school to have a recipient of the award. Gaddy and Emmanuel Innocenti were each tabbed to the WAC All-Defensive team, marking the third consecutive season the Texans had at least one player earn the selection. The Purple and White are the second team in the last four seasons to have two players named to the All-Defensive team in the same year.
The senior was one of the best in the conference at blocking shots this season. In the Texans’ second league game, Gaddy registered seven blocks in Wisdom Gym against UTRGV. His massive performance was the most in a WAC game since 2018 and tied for the 18th most in any game in the nation this season. His single-game performance is the second-best tally in Tarleton program history, second to only Vincent Bridgewater’s eight-block performance in 2003.
The Dallas, Texas native notched the second most blocks in league play, averaging 1.95 per contest. His 1.62 blocks per game mark in all games this season finished fourth in the WAC and tied for 63rd in the nation with 2022-23 All-American honorable mention Kyle Filipowski of Duke. Gaddy also led the team in total rebounds, pulling down 217 over the course of the entire season and 134 in conference play. He ranked eighth in rebounds overall, and 11th in league action.
Gaddy was a dominant force on the offensive glass as well, pulling down 119 offensive rebounds this season, the sixth most in Tarleton State program history. He led the WAC in overall and conference games in offensive boards per game. The NAIA transfer is tenth in the nation averaging 3.84 per game. On the defensive end, he pulled down 63 in conference games and 98 in all games.
Smith earns the first All-WAC first team selection for Tarleton State since joining the conference in 2020. The senior was one of the best scorers in the league this season and made a living making clutch shots. The Utica, Miss., native finished fifth in scoring in conference games (16.45 PPG) with the seventh highest field-goal percentage among qualifiers (41.3-percent). Smith lived or died with the three-ball, knocking down a team-best 58  this season with 39 coming in conference play. His 39 league made triples was the sixth most in the WAC. On the road at Seattle, Smith was on fire, sinking five of his six three-point attempts en route to his 24-point first half performance, tying the Texans’ record for triples made in a WAC game.
As an elite scorer, Smith finished the season scoring 10 or more in 12 of his last 14 contests. In total he scored in double figures in 22 games this season. Additionally, he notched 20 or more in nine games. In conference play, Smith scored 10 or more in 16 of the 20 contests. The shooter netted a Tarleton D1-era record 34 points in its second game of the season against FIU. He was named the MVP of the SoCal Challenge Sand Division following a 28-point performance in the first game, the most in the opening round in the tournament’s three years of existence. That effort also led to his first career selection as WAC Player of the Week, being the first of four Texans to earn the Weekly Honor this season.
Overall, Smith ranked in the top ten in five different statistical categories in league play. On the offensive side in addition to scoring, field goal percentage and three pointers made, Smith also touted the seventh best free throw percentage in the league (81.8). On the defensive side, his 1.85 steals per game in conference bouts tied for the fourth most this season.
Innocenti rounds out the trio with a pair of selections in his first collegiate season. Innocenti was tabbed to both the WAC All-Defensive and All-Freshman teams. The freshman from Ranzanico, Italy, was known for his defensive prowess all season. He finished second in the WAC in steals with 1.9 per game. He was also a menace on the defensive glass, securing 5.45 defensive boards per game in conference play, the fifth most in the league. He paced the team throughout the entire season with 166 defensive rebounds and was second to Smith who tallied 54 steals.

The standout freshman topped the WAC and was one of the nation’s best in several categories. Among freshmen, he led the WAC in total steals (53), and defensive rebounds per game (5.35). Nationally, Innocenti’s 53 steals ranks eighth in the nation amongst freshmen and his 5.35 defensive boards per game was fourth. In conference games, he led the WAC in defensive rebounds per game, was second in steals and minutes per game. His perfect three-for-three performance from three-point range against Seattle U was tied for the second-best shooting night by all players in the league.
The Texans earned the second seed in this week’s WAC Tournament in Las Vegas, Nev., and will compete in their second consecutive WAC Tournament. Tarleton will open play in the semifinals on Friday night at 10:30 pm CT / 8:30 pm PT in a nationally televised game on ESPNU.
All WAC Awards
WAC Player of the Year: Tyon Grant-Foster, G/F, Grand Canyon
WAC Defensive Player of the Year: KiAndre Gaddy, F, Tarleton State
WAC Freshman of the Year: Makaih Williams, G, UT Arlington
WAC Sixth Player of the Year: Phillip Russell, G, UT Arlington
WAC All-Conference First Team
Tyon Grant-Foster, G/F, Grand Canyon
Gabe McGlothan, F, Grand Canyon
Cameron Tyson, G, Seattle U
Jakorie Smith, F, Tarleton State
DaJuan Gordon, G, UT Arlington
WAC All-Conference Second Team
Ali Abdou Dibba, G, Abilene Christian
Dominique Daniels Jr., G, California Baptist
Ray Harrison, G, Grand Canyon
Alex Schumacher, G, Seattle U
Shemar Wilson, F, UT Arlington
WAC All-Defensive Team
Collin Moore, G, Grand Canyon
KiAndre Gaddy, F, Tarleton State
Emmanuel Innocenti, F, Tarleton State
DaJuan Gordon, G, UT Arlington
Shemar Wilson, F, UT Arlington
WAC All-Freshman Team
Braden Housley, G, Southern Utah
Emmanuel Innocenti, F, Tarleton State
Makaih Williams, G, UT Arlington
Aric Demings, G, Utah Tech
Osiris Grady, F, Utah Valley

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