The Mountain West Conference reveals award winners for the 2009-2010 season tomorrow. In preview I will show the conference’s preseason predictions, as well as the players that I think are most deserving of awards.
Here are the conference’s preseason predictions:
With the regular season being over, we can easily see where the predictions were accurate or otherwise. Here are the final standings:
1. New Mexico (28-3/14-2)
2. BYU (28-4/13-3)
3. UNLV (23-7/11-5)
4. San Diego State (22-8/11-5)
5. Colorado State (16-14/7-9)
6. Utah (14-16/7-9)
7. TCU (13-18/5-11)
8. Wyoming (10-20/3-13)
9. Air Force (9-20/1-15)
The predictions had two glaring deficiencies in UNM and CSU but were fairly accurate otherwise. Nobody can blame preseason predictors for not having New Mexico at the top of this list when coach Alford says himself that he didn’t expect it. As for Colorado State, well Tim Miles has done an outstanding job with that basketball team… I have been watching The Mtn. too much.
It is a forgone conclusion these days that the Mountain West will give co-Player of the Year awards if it is even close to prevent anybody from being upset by the choice. This year it was Jimmer’s award to lose, which many think he did, but the call is close enough that it will likely be split between Fredette and Hobson this year. Hobson is 5th in points, 2nd in rebounding and third in assists in the league. Fredette is first in scoring and second in assists, with the best free-throw and 3-pt percentages.
Hobson and Fredette are both first-team locks, but who will the other three be? Tre’Von Willis and Roman Martinez are likely to be the next two, with great stats (Willis: 17.7, 4.1, 3.6 Martinez: 14.1, 6.3, 1.4) and the fact that they led two of the best teams in the conference. That leaves one spot to decide between Dairese Gary, Kawhi Leonard, Ronnie Moss and Jackson Emery.
Here are the arguments for the four candidates:
Gary and Emery have strong arguments for their key roles on largely successful teams. Any Lobo fan knows that Gary has been huge for New Mexico in closing out games and getting them where they are now. Emery has been a big part of BYU’s run and has better overall stats than Gary.
Ronnie Moss has been a great scorer and is the leading assist man in the conference, but his team hasn’t been successful and he leads the league in turnovers. Leonard, has also been a great scorer, and is the leading rebounder in the conference.
I think it comes down to Emery and Leonard, with Emery getting the nod for the following reason: Leonard will be freshman of the year, and I give Emery defensive player of the year over Foster. First-team doesn’t take into account what year a player is, or shouldn’t at least, while defense is taken into account. Emery leads the league in steals with 2.7 per game and still contributes on the offensive end with 12.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and one of the best 3-pt percentages in the league.
The second team starts with Leonard, Moss and Gary. The remaining two spots come down to Afam Muojeke, Zvonko Buljan, Malcolm Thomas, Andy Ogide, Carlon Brown and Tyler Haws. I say Buljan and Malcolm Thomas for being able to score and rebound better than most players in the league.
My third team consists of Muojeke, Ogide, Haws, Brown and Grant Parker. I am not sure how the league will deal with Tavernari not being good enough to be on any of the three teams (other than by giving him the 6th man award, but with his stats (10.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg, and 1.6 apg) I don’t see how he gets in ahead of any of the other players. Muojeke is the third best scorer in the league, Ogide posts a 12 and 7 night in an night out, Brown averages 12.6, 4.2 and 2.5, and Parker averages 12.9 and 4.5. This leaves Tyler Haws. On one hand, if the conference chose Tavernari over Haws, there wouldn’t be an outcry because BYU fans would rather see their senior get it than their freshman, but Haws scored 11.4 a game to go along with 4.4 rebounds per game, 50% shooting and 90% free-throw shooting.
There is no need to discuss winners for freshman of the year and newcomer of the year, as Leonard and Hobson have already locked up those categories respectively. Dorian Green and Tyler Haws have been fantastic freshman, but were unfortunate to enter the league the same year as Kawhi Leonard.
The Mountain West Conference traditionally likes inside presences for defensive player of the year. David Foster was the fifth best shot-blocker in the nation this year, but Jackson Emery had the fifth most steals in nation this year. Given that Emery plays more minutes than Foster and that steals are a turnover every time, when a block isn’t, I say Emery deserves the award.
Steve Alford should get his second consecutive MWC Coach of the Year award tomorrow. Tim Miles turned a team who was predicted eighth in the league into a team who finished fifth. Good job Tim, but not good enough. Alford’s team was predicted fifth in the conference and will end the year in the top eight in the nation and did it all with one senior. Maybe Alford and Martinez should split the award.