Mountain West Conference Announces 2008-09 Men's Basketball All-Conference Awards
March 9, 2009
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -The Mountain West Conference announced its 2008-09 men's basketball awards today. The league's nine men's head coaches, along with a selected media panel, picked the all-conference teams, as well as the coach, player, newcomer, freshman, sixth man and defensive awards.
New Mexico head coach Steve Alford captured MWC Coach of the Year honors for the first time, while Utah's Luke Nevill was named both the Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. Additionally, TCU's Zvonko Buljan garnered Newcomer of the Year accolades, Wyoming's Afam Muojeke was chosen as the Freshman of the Year and Utah's Shaun Green received the Sixth Man of the Year award.
Eight of the nine Mountain West institutions were represented on the 15-member all-MWC teams. BYU and San Diego State led the league with three all-conference selections apiece. New Mexico, UNLV and Utah also had multiple players chosen with two each, while Colorado State, TCU and Wyoming had one apiece.
Eight players were repeat all-Conference selections this season. Wyoming's Brandon Ewing is the first four-time all-MWC honoree in the league's 10-year history, earning first-team accolades after consecutive second-team kudos in 2006-07 and 2007-08, and a third-team selection in 2005-06. BYU's Lee Cummard is a first-team honoree for the second straight year after receiving third-team honors in 2006-07, while Nevill moves up to the first team following a second-team appearance last year and a third-team selection in 2006-07. UNLV's Wink Adams is a second-team member this year after earning first-team honors last season and second-team kudos in 2006-07. San Diego State's Lorrenzo Wade received second-team accolades this season following a first-team selection a year ago, while TCU's Kevin Langford moved up to the second team from a third-team nod in 2007-08. Colorado State's Marcus Walker is a third-team choice after garnering second-team honors last season, while BYU's Jonathan Tavernari is a third-team pick for the second straight year.
Alford collected his first MWC coaching honor after guiding the Lobos to a share of the regular-season crown and second straight 20-win campaign.
Nevill, a 7-2, 265-pound senior center, is the first individual to receive both the MWC Player and Defensive Player of the Year awards in the same season. The Perth, Australia, product averaged 16.7 points per game in Conference play and was the league's top rebounder and shot blocker in league action, averaging 9.6 boards and 3.1 blocks per game while leading the Utes to a share of their fifth MWC regular-season crown. His 50 blocks in MWC games ranks as the third-most in a single season.
Buljan, a 6-9, 220-pound junior center from Split, Croatia, averaged 12.6 points per game in Conference play and was the league's second-leading rebounder with an 8.9 average on the glass. He scored in double figures in 12 of 16 MWC outings, adding eight double-digit rebounding efforts to finish with an MWC-best seven double-doubles against league opponents.
Muojeke, a 6-7, 201-pound forward from Jamaica Queens, N.Y., was the league's top freshman scorer and rebounder, averaging 12.4 points and 6.3 boards in Conference play. He was the only freshman ranked among the league's scoring leaders and one of only two in the rebounding category.
Green, a 6-8, 220-pound senior forward, averaged 10.6 points and 5.3 rebounds off the bench for the Utes in Conference play. In addition to ranking sixth and seventh, respectively, in 3-point field goal shooting (.416) and average (2.3 pg), the Salt Lake City native was also among the MWC's top shot-blockers, ranking sixth with a 1.0 average against league opponents.