RENO - As expected, Nevada swept the men's major postseason basketball awards voted on by the Western Athletic Conference head coaches.
Mark Fox, who guided the Wolf Pack to a WAC-best 16-2 record and 24 regular-season wins, captured the Don Haskins Coach of the Year award.
Sophomore Nick Fazekas, who led the WAC with a 21.8 scoring average and was third in rebounding at 10.8 per game, was named the Player of the Year. He follows in the footsteps of former teammate Kirk Snyder, who won the award last year.
Point guard Ramon Sessions was named Freshman of the Year after averaging 9.2 points, 3.7 assists and 1.7 steals per contest. Sessions also was selected to the WAC All-Newcomer squad along with teammate Mo Charlo, a JC transfer from Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Calif. Charlo averaged 9 points a game.
Senior center Kevinn Pinkney averaged 12.4 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, earning second-team honors. Pinkney was selected to the WAC defensive squad, as was teammate Jermaine Washington.
Fox was quick to credit the players and the assistant coaches David Carter, Josh Newman and Dedrique Taylor for his award.
"I don't care about this, I really don't," Fox said. "Without question this is a program award. The coach of the year goes to the staff and players. It doesn't go to the head coach. A lot of people make this possible. I have great assistant coaches.
"I'm pleased for the kids. They have been terrific. I wanted the players to win some awards. I wanted them to be recognized."
When coaches talked midway through the season about potential POY candidates, Fazekas' name was mentioned by every coach.
"I thought he was the best player coming into the season," Fox said of the 6-foot-11 forward. "There were a lot of good players, but he had a terrific year."
Fazekas tied or led the team in scoring in 25 of the 29 games, and scored in double figures all 29 games. He scored 20 or more points in 18 of the 29 contests.
"I felt like I should have won it, but I was a little worried about it last night (Saturday)," Fazekas said. "Oh yeah, so far I've accomplished everything I wanted to do, but we want to win the WAC tournament and go far, hopefully farther than we did last year, in the NCAAs.
"My dad and I always talk about consistency. I always put up consistent numbers, and I thought I came on strong at the end of the season with my rebounding."
Sessions' award was no surprise. The former South Carolina 3A Player of the Year took control of the team from the first day of practice and demonstrated poise beyond his years. His no-look passes have thrilled the Lawlor Faithful the entire season.
Sessions was a late qualifier, and there are many schools probably kicking themselves for not waiting on the talented 6-3 freshman. He had a career-best 23 points, five rebounds and three assists in a key win over Boise State back on Feb. 10 that helped the Pack erase a 15-point second-half deficit.
Charlo has scored 8, 8, 17, 8 and 14 in his last five games. His 17-point effort against Fresno State was huge, as he and Fazekas played well in the second half to beat the Bulldogs.
Pinkney is the most underrated player in the WAC. Time and again, he turned in solid defensive efforts against top post players like Louisiana Tech's Paul Millsap and Tulsa's Anthony Price.
MCGUIRE WINS HONOR
Nevada freshman Meghan McGuire, who averaged 13.4 points per contest, was named to WAC women's All-Freshman squad.
McGuire shot 39 percent from the floor and grabbed 3.9 rebounds per game. She was the only Wolf Pack woman to average double figures.
n Darrell Moody can be reached at email@example.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281