Fazekas is going for a three-peat
Appeal Sports Writer
SALT LAKE CITY – When Nick Fazekas was being recruited by Utah, many compared him to ex-Ute great Keith Van Horn because of his slim build and sweet shooting touch.
Fazekas, who averaged 21.8 points and 10.8 rebounds a game last year, is shooting for his third straight conference MVP award which would match what Van Horn accomplished.
As expected, Fazekas was named the WAC Preseason Player of the Year by both the WAC coaches and WAC media.
“I didn’t know that,” Fazekas said when asked about the possibility of a third straight MVP. “It’s definitely something I would aspire to. Keith is a great player.
“I haven’t thought a whole lot about it (preseason MVP). People haven’t seen me play this year and they haven’t seen anybody else.”
The media and coaches agreed on the remainder on the preseason team.
New Mexico State forward Tyrone Nelson (17.8), Boise State guard Coby Karl (17.2), Fresno State swingman Quinton Hosley (18.6) and Utah State guard Jaycee Carroll (16.3) joined Fazekas on the first team.
The coaches also picked a second team, which included Nevada’s Marcelus Kemp, who averaged 15 a game, Fresno State guard Ja’Vance Coleman, New Mexico State guard Elijah Ingram, Hawai’i forward Ahmet Gueye and Hawai’i forward Matt Lojeski.
New Mexico State’s Fred Peete was selected by the media as the top newcomer in the conference. Peete transferred from Kansas State where he averaged 13 points a contest. He sat out last season at NMSU.
Peete said he left K-State because he was unhappy with the direction of the program.
“I wanted to go to a program where they were looking to win,” Peete said. “Kansas State wasn’t going to get to that level.”
• As expected, Nevada was selected as the preseason favorite to win its fourth straight conference title by both the media and the coaches.
In the media poll, Nevada collected 17 of a possible 23 first-place votes and 199 points. New Mexico State garnered six first-place votes and 183 points. Fresno State (151), Utah State (143), Hawai’i (112), Boise State (88), Louisiana Tech (80), San Jose State (54) and Idaho (25) comprised the remainder of the poll.
The Pack were picked by seven of the nine coaches and compiled 63 points. New Mexico State picked up the other two first-place votes and 57 total points.
Fresno State (49), Utah State (41), Hawai’i (40), Boise State (29), Louisiana Tech (19), San Jose State (16) and Idaho (10) finished out the voting by coaches.
• On the women’s side, the coaches tabbed Louisiana Tech’s Shan Moore as their pick for WAC Preseason Player of the Year. The media selected Ty Moore.
Ty Moore averaged 11 points and 9.3 rebounds a game in helping the Lady Techsters to a 26-5 record. Shan Moore averaged 10.8 points and 5 rebounds.
Both Moores were on the coaches’ first team. Fitzgerald, who was the top newcomer last year after averaging nearly 11 points a game, was joined by Hawaii’s Brittany Grice and Fresno State’s Chantella Perera.
The media team omitted Grice and went with her teammate Janevia Taylor instead.
Louisiana Tech garnered all 11 media votes and 99 points. The Lady Techsters are the five-time regular-season champions.
Fresno State (90), Hawai’i (64), Nevada (60), Boise State (54), San Jose State (53), New Mexico State (32), Idaho (29) and Utah State (22) rounded out the media voting.
The coaches’ voting was much closer, however.
The Lady Techsters received seven of nine first-place votes and 63 points. Fresno State received one first-place vote and 56 points, and Nevada also got a first-place vote and 48 points.
The first-place vote for Nevada shows the progress the Wolf Pack women have shown under Kim Gervasoni, who guided the team to 13 wins last year.
Hawai’i (41), Boise State (40), San Jose State (27), New Mexico State (24), Idaho (13) and Utah State (12) rounded out the coaches’ voting.
Gervasoni is upbeat about the upcoming season. She said that the team’s goal is to win the WAC championship, and that anything below third place would be a disappointment.