Nevada basketball earns postseason honors
LAS VEGAS — The Mountain West announced its 2016-17 men’s basketball awards Tuesday following a vote of the 11 head coaches, and regular-season champ Nevada had four players honored.
Marcus Marshall was a first-team and Newcomer of the Year selection, and teammates Cam Oliver, D.J. Fenner and Jordan Caroline were all second-team members. Oliver also was named to the MW all-defensive team.
Marshall, who transferred to Nevada from Missouri State, was third in the league averaging 19.3 points per game. The senior guard shot 42.3 percent from the field while finishing third in the Mountain West with 3.9 assists per game. Marshall was also one of the league’s most dangerous players from beyond the arc, leading the conference with 3.2 makes per game while shooting 39.9 percent from deep, eighth in the Mountain West.
Oliver averaged nearly 2 1/2 blocks a game and averaged 15.7 points a contest. Fenner scored at a 14.6 clip and averaged three rebounds while Caroline averaged 14.5 and 9.2.
Colorado State head coach Larry Eustachy earned MW Coach of the Year honors, while Colorado State’s Gian Clavell was selected as Player of the Year. It’s the 10th time in the league’s history a school has boasted the Coach of the Year and Player of the Year in the same year. For the third year in a row, a San Diego State Aztec was named the Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year as Dakarai Allen took home this year’s honor following consecutive Defensive Player of the Year honors by Skylar Spencer in 2014-15 and 2015-16. Utah State’s Koby McEwen was recognized as Freshman of the Year, while Wyoming’s Justin James was named the Sixth Man of the Year.
Eustachy led the Rams, who were picked to finish seventh in the Mountain West preseason poll, to 13 Mountain West victories, tying a program record, as well as a school-best second-place finish. In Eustachy’s fifth season in Fort Collins, the Rams also set school records with five consecutive road conference wins and seven straight conference wins overall.
Clavell, a 6-foot-4 guard, led the conference in both minutes played (37.6 per game) and scoring (21.2 points per game). In addition to his scoring prowess, Clavell ranked seventh in the Mountain West with 6.9 rebounds per game and second in both steals (1.8 per game) and 3-point field goals (3.1 per game). From distance, Clavell was seventh in the conference, connecting on 40.9 percent of his attempts. The Puerto Rico native was a mark of consistency, scoring in double figures in all 18 conference games, including two games of more than 30 points.
Allen, a San Diego State senior, took home the conference’s top defensive honor as the anchor for the league’s best defensive team. It marks the third consecutive year the Aztecs have boasted both the league’s best defensive team and the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year. The 6-foot-5 guard finished fourth in league play with 1.3 steals per game, while finishing second on the team with 14 blocks during the 18-game league slate.
McEwen, a freshman from Toronto, Canada, led all MW freshmen and was second on the team with a 15.4 points per game average in league play. As the Aggies lead guard, McEwen also finished second on the team with 5.2 rebounds per game, while pacing the team with 3 assists per game. The 6-foot-4 guard proved to be a marksman from deep, connecting on 42.5 percent of his 3-point attempts, good for the third-best mark in the conference.
James, a sophomore guard from Port Saint Lucie, Fla., earned the league’s top reserve honor after averaging a team-best 14.7 points and 5.1 rebounds per game in league play. The 6-foot-7 guard was one of the MW’s most efficient players, shooting 46 percent from the field and 46.9 percent from 3-point distance.