The Mountain West Conference announced its 2007-08 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 and defensive awards.
UNLV Head Coach Lon Kruger captured MWC Coach of the Year honors for the first time, while BYU’s Lee Cummard and New Mexico’s J.R. Giddens were named Co-Players of the Year. Additionally, Air Force’s Tim Anderson garnered Defensive Player of the Year accolades, Colorado State’s Marcus Walker was chosen as the Newcomer of the Year and San Diego State’s Billy White was tabbed the Freshman of the Year.
All nine Mountain West institutions were represented on the 15-member all-MWC teams. Regular-season champion BYU and San Diego State led the league with three all-conference selections apiece, highlighted by unanimous first-team honoree Cummard for the Cougars. UNLV and Utah also had multiple players chosen with two each, while Air Force, Colorado State, New Mexico, TCU and Wyoming had one apiece.
Five players were repeat all-conference selections. Trent Plaisted of BYU and Brandon Ewing of Wyoming are both third-time honorees, with Plaisted moving up to the first team after consecutive second-team selections, while Ewing is a second-team choice for the second straight year, following third-team accolades in 2005-06. Cummard makes the leap to the first team after receiving third-team kudos last season. UNLV’s Wink Adams was a first-team member this year after earning second-team honors in 2006-07, while Utah’s Luke Nevill moves up to the second team following a third-team appearance last year.
Kruger collected his first MWC coaching honor after guiding the Runnin’ Rebels to their second straight runner-up MWC finish (12-4) and back-to-back 20-win campaigns (23-7) for the first time since the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons.
Cummard, a 6-7, 185-pound junior guard/forward from Mesa, Ariz., led the Cougars to their second straight and fourth overall MWC regular-season title. He finished with the league’s second-best field goal shooting percentage in conference play, converting 54.8 percent of his attempts while averaging 15.5 points and 7.1 rebounds.
Giddens, a 6-5, 215-pound senior from Oklahoma City, Okla., helped the Lobos to their highest MWC finish (third) in three years while registering league-high averages of 18.3 points and 8.3 rebounds a game in conference action. He was the only student-athlete to register two 30-point outings in MWC play this season, including a career-high 36 against Wyoming.
Anderson, a 6-3, 180-pound senior guard from El Paso, Texas, led the Falcons and ranked second in the conference with 34 steals while averaging 37 minutes a game in league play. He also registered six blocks against MWC opponents.
Walker, a 6-0, 175-pound junior guard from Kansas City, Kan., ranked second in the league with an 18.1 scoring average in conference action. He topped the 20-point mark in eight of 16 MWC contests this season, including a run of six straight.
White, a 6-7, 190-pound forward from Las Vegas, Nev., led all freshmen in scoring (9.1 ppg) and rebounding (6.5 rpg) in conference action. He shot 62.9 percent from the field and recorded two double-doubles against league opponents.
2007-08 All-Mountain West Conference Men’s Basketball Team
(Selected by media and head coaches)
First-Team All-Mountain West
*Lee Cummard, BYU Jr. G/F 6-7 185 Mesa, Ariz. (Mesa HS)
**Trent Plaisted, BYU Jr. F/C 6-11 245 San Antonio, Texas (Clark HS)
J.R. Giddens, New Mexico Sr. G 6-5 215 Oklahoma City, Okla. (Univ. of Kansas)
Lorrenzo Wade, San Diego State Jr. F 6-6 228 Las Vegas, Nev. (Univ. of Louisville)
*Wink Adams, UNLV Jr. G 6-0 200 Houston, Texas (Gulf Shores Academy)
Second-Team All-Mountain West
Tim Anderson, Air Force Sr. G 6-3 180 El Paso, Texas (Franklin HS)
Marcus Walker, Colorado State Jr. G 6-0 175 Kansas City, Kan. (Indian Hills CC)
Johnnie Bryant, Utah Sr. G 6-0 180 Oakland, Calif. (Ohlone College)
*Luke Nevill, Utah Jr. C 7-1 265 Perth, Australia (Kell HS-Ga.)
**Brandon Ewing, Wyoming Jr. G 6-2 190 Chicago, Ill. (Julian HS)
Third-Team All-Mountain West
Jonathan Tavernari, BYU So. F 6-6 215 Sao Bernardo, Brazil (Bishop Gorman HS)
Ryan Amoroso, San Diego State Jr. F 6-8 272 Burnsville, Minn. (Marquette Univ.)
Billy White, San Diego State Fr. F 6-7 190 Las Vegas, Nev. (Green Valley HS)
Kevin Langford, TCU Jr. F 6-8 243 Fort Worth, Texas (Univ. of California)
Curtis Terry, UNLV Sr. G/F 6-5 205 University Place, Wash. (Curtis HS)
*Indicates number of previous all-conference selections
Chad Toppert, Jr., G, New Mexico
Joe Darger, Jr., F, UNLV
Rene Rougeau, Jr., G, UNLV
Brent Hackett, Sr., G, TCU
Daniel Faris, Jr., C, New Mexico
Co-Players of the Year: Lee Cummard, BYU; J.R. Giddens, New Mexico
Defensive Player of the Year: Tim Anderson, Air Force
Newcomer of the Year: Marcus Walker, Colorado State
Freshman of the Year: Billy White, San Diego State
Coach of the Year: Lon Kruger, UNLV