AFA's Scottie, CSU's Carvacho named All-Mountain West

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LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The Mountain West announced today its 2018-19 men’s basketball awards. The Conference’s 11 head coaches voted on the All-Conference teams as well as coach, player, freshman, newcomer, sixth man and defensive accolades.

Utah State’s head coach Craig Smith earned MW Steve Fisher Coach of the Year honors, while Aggies junior guard Sam Merrill has been named Player of the Year and teammate, center Neemias Queta, garnered Defensive Player and Freshman of the Year honors. This marks the 12th time in the league’s history that a school has boasted both the coach and player of the year in the same season. Fresno State’s Braxton Huggins was named the Newcomer of the year, while Nevada’s Jazz Johnson was tabbed as the Sixth Man of the Year.

Smith, who is in his first-year as head coach for the Aggies, led Utah State to 15 Conference victories, marking the most wins for the program since joining the MW prior to the 2013-14 season, as well as tied for the third-most in MW history. Utah State was picked ninth in the preseason poll released in October. The Stephen, Minnesota, native has won more games than any first-year head coach in school history, securing the best win-percentage and the most total wins for any Division I head coach in his first year with their respective program this season. Smith becomes the first Utah State head coach to capture MW Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year honors.

Merrill, a guard from Bountiful, Utah, led the Mountain West with a 22.0 points per game average during league play. The 6-foot-5 junior scored at least 30 points on three occasions, including a career high 38 points in the regular-season finale against Colorado State, leading the Aggies to a share of the regular-season title. Merrill, who also tallied 4.4 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game in Conference action, is the first Utah State student-athlete to earn the MW Player of the Year award.

Queta, who earned both MW Defensive Player and Freshman of the Year awards, led the Mountain West in blocked shots, averaging 2.4 per game (44 total). In all games, the native of Barreiro, Portugal, set a program record with 73 blocks. The 6-foot-11 center also added his name to the Mountain West record book, tallying six blocked shots against Fresno State on Jan. 9, the most all-time by a freshman. Queta finished the regular season ranked fourth in rebound in Conference games, pulling down 9.7 rebounds per contest.

Huggins, who transferred to Fresno State after playing three years at New Mexico State, emerged as one of the top point guards in the MW, leading the Conference in 3-pointers made per contest (3.8) and third in scoring (19.8 ppg). The senior guard also tallied 4.3 rebounds per contest, leading the Bulldogs to the No. 3 seed in the 2019 Air Force Reserve MW Men’s Basketball Championship.

Johnson averaged 10.2 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game in MW play. The native of Lake Oswego, Oregon, is the first Wolf Pack player to earn Sixth Man of the Year honors.

Superlatives
Player of the Year: Sam Merrill, Jr., G, Utah State
Defensive Player of the Year: Neemias Queta, Fr., C, Utah State
Newcomer of the Year: Braxton Huggins, Sr., G, Fresno State
Sixth Man of the Year: Jazz Johnson, Jr., G, Nevada
Freshman of the Year: Neemias Queta, Fr., C, Utah State
Steve Fisher Coach of the Year: Craig Smith, Utah State

First-Team

Nico Carvacho, Jr., F/C, Colorado State

Deshon Taylor, Sr., G, Fresno State

Jordan Caroline, Sr., G/F, Nevada

Caleb Martin, Sr., G, Nevada

Sam Merrill, Jr., G, Utah State

Second-Team

Braxton Huggins, Sr., G, Fresno State

Jalen McDaniels, So., F, San Diego State

Devin Watson, Sr., G, San Diego State

Neemias Queta, Fr., C, Utah State

Justin James, Sr., G, Wyoming

Third-Team

Lavelle Scottie, Jr., F, Air Force

Justinian Jessup, Jr., G, Boise State

Cody Martin, Sr., G, Nevada

Anthony Mathis, Sr., G, New Mexico

Kris Clyburn, Sr., G, UNLV

Honorable Mention Selections

Ryan Swan, Jr., F, Air Force

Derrick Alston, So., G, Boise State

J.D. Paige, Sr., G, Colorado State

Nate Grimes, Fr., F, Fresno State

All-Defense Team

Nico Carvacho, Jr., F/C, Colorado State

J.D. Paige, Sr., G, Colorado State

Deshon Taylor, Sr., G, Fresno State

Jordan Caroline, Sr., F, Nevada

Caleb Martin, Sr., G, Nevada

Cody Martin, Sr., G, Nevada

Jeremy Hemsley, Sr., G, San Diego State

Kris Clyburn, Sr., G, UNLV

Neemias Queta, Fr., C Utah State