A day after the media released its all-league honors, the Mountain West Conference announced its annual awards for men’s basketball.
The 11 head coaches vote on the conference awards and once again rewarded the team that finished first during the regular season. San Diego State forward Matt Mitchell was named the Player of the year, while Aztec head coach Brian Dutcher was the Coach of the Year.
Utah State center Neemias Queta earned Defensive Player of the Year and fellow Aggie Alphonso Anderson was tabbed the Sixth Man of the Year. Nevada’s Grant Sherfield was the Newcomer of the Year, with Wyoming’s Marcus Williams picking up Freshman of the Year accolades.
Two other Aggies also were recognized in forward Justin Bean and guard Marco Anthony. Bean was named to the Second Team, while Anthony made the Defensive Team, along with Queta.
The All-MW First Team consisted of Queta, Mitchell, Sherfield, Colorado State forward David Roddy and Boise State guard Derrick Alston, Jr. The Second Team was made up of Bean, BSU’s Abu Kigab, CSU’s Isaiah Stevens, Fresno State’s Orlando Robinson, SDSU’s Jordan Schakel and UNLV’s Bryce Hamilton. The Third Team consisted of Air Force’s A.J. Walker, Nevada’s Desmond Cambridge, New Mexico’s Makuach Maluach, UNLV’s David Jenkins and Williams. The all-Defensive Team included Queta, Anthony, Mitchell, SDSU’s Nathan Mensah and UNLV’s Cheikh Mbacke Diong. Honorable Mention players were CSU’s Adam Thistlewood, Mensah, Wyoming’s Hunter Maldonado and San Jose State’s Richard Washington.
Dutcher guided SDSU to a 14-3 mark in conference play and its second-straight MW regular-season title, eighth overall in program history. This Aztecs spent six weeks in the national polls and have a 2-0 record against nationally ranked teams.
SDSU enters the 2021 Air Force Reserve MW Men’s Basketball Championship with an 11-game win streak, which is tied for the fourth-longest streak in the nation.
Mitchell is the second Aztec in a row and fifth all-time to be named MW Player of the Year. The senior finished the regular season averaging 15.4 points and 6.3 rebounds in league action, while shooting 45.0 percent from the floor.
This is the second MW Defensive Player of the Year honor for Queta, who also collected the accolade in 2019. Queta led the MW in rebounds (197) and blocks (66). The junior is the only player in the league this season to average at least 10 rebounds per game in league play.
Williams finished the conference season with a team-leading 13.6 points per game, while shooting 40.2 percent from the field. The freshman recorded 12 double-figure scoring efforts, including a 28-point performance against Nevada.
Sherfield is the fourth Wolf Pack player in the last five seasons to be named the MW Newcomer of the Year. The sophomore averaged a league-leading 18.2 points and 6.6 assists per game in league play. Sherfield netted nine 20-point games during conference action.
Anderson appeared in all 19 MW games for the Aggies. He averaged 8.1 points and 2.8 boards per game off the bench, while shooting 43.3 percent from the floor. The senior scored a season-high 14 points in the first game against New Mexico.
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Queta led USU to the second seed of the MW Tournament for the third consecutive year and was the only player in the conference to average a double-double during league games, turning in 15.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per game, leading the MW on the glass. The junior also led the league in conference games in field goal percentage (.584) and blocks (3.5), ranked second in defensive rebounds per game (7.37), third in offensive rebounds per game (3.00), ninth in points per game (15.4), 11th in steals (1.2) and 12th in assists (2.8). Queta was at his best against the top teams in the league, averaging 26.5 points and 15.7 rebounds per game against San Diego State, Boise State, Colorado State and Nevada.
Over the last six games, Queta has recorded a double-double in each contest and is averaging 21.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, 2.8 blocks, 2.5 assists and 1.2 steals per game. On the year, Queta’s averages of 14.7 points, 9.9 rebounds, 3.0 blocks and 2.8 assists per game make him one of only two players in the NCAA since 1992-93 to average more than 14.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.0 blocks and 2.5 assists per game. Queta is the only player in MW history with that stat line. Queta is the only player in the nation this year with 65 or more assists and 65 or more blocks, totaling 70 dimes and 75 rejections on the year.
It is also the third consecutive year Queta has earned all-conference honors. He has been named to the MW Defensive Team every year at USU.
Anthony has proven to be one of the best defenders on the perimeter for the Aggies, showcasing his abilities recently against Nevada and Wyoming. In the two-game series against the Wolf Pack, Anthony held Sherfield to just 8.5 points per game (well below his season average of 18.9 points per game), 28.7 percent (6 of 21) shooting from the floor and forced a combined 12 turnovers. In the head-to-head matchup against Wyoming, Anthony held Williams to four points (well below his average of 15.9), 25.0 percent (2 of 8) shooting from the floor and forced four turnovers.
Anderson came off the bench for the Aggies over the first 15 games in conference play before being inserted into the starting lineup in each of the last four games. During league play, Anderson has scored in double figures seven times, including three of the last four games. Anderson is the first Aggie since Nate Harris to earn Sixth Man of the Year, as Harris earned the award when USU was part of the Big West during the 2003-04 season.
Bean finished his MW campaign with four straight double-doubles, averaging 11.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game in league play. Bean’s rebounding numbers ranked fifth in the MW, while he also ranked fourth in offensive rebounds per game (2.89), sixth in defensive rebounds per game (4.84) and seventh in steals (1.37).