Aztecs Sweep Player of the Year and Coach of the Year Awards
By Ryan Schuler
March 8, 2012 (San Diego)--Everyone knew the San Diego State men’s and women’s basketball teams had great seasons. Both won regular-season titles and are No. 1 seeds heading into this week’s Mountain West Tournament in Las Vegas, Nev.
But when individual awards were handed out on Monday night, the Aztecs had even more to celebrate.
Sophomore guard Jamaal Franklin and junior guard Courtney Clements were both awarded conference player of the year, while Steve Fisher and Beth Burns were both named conference coach of the year.
Franklin, who was also named to the All-Mountain West first team, led the league in scoring (19.5), was second in free-throw percentage (.866), and was third in rebounding (9.9) and field-goal percentage (.463). He scored in double figures in all 13 conference games he played in, including his 35-point, 13-rebound performance on Saturday against TCU. Franklin is the first Aztec to win Mountain West Player of the Year since 2006.
After being named Mountain West Newcomer of the Year and receiving honorable mention in 2010-11, Clements earned her first first-team selection and player of the year honors. Clements ranked first in the MW in points (17.90 and free-throw percentage (.952). She scored at least 20 points in eight MW contests, also a league-high.
This is Fisher’s second consecutive Mountain West Coach-of-the-Year award. Despite losing four starters and six letterwinners off last season’s Sweet 16 team, Fisher finished this season with a 10-4 conference record and a second consecutive MW regular-season title. Fisher has also led the Aztecs to two consecutive MW Tournament championships.
Burns, who led the Aztecs to an outright league regular-season title and a 22-6 overall record, claimed her fifth conference coach of the year award. The Aztecs finish 13-1 at home, despite entering this year coming off a 12-17 record last season and having six new players on the 13-player roster.
Aside from Franklin being named first-team all-conference, several other Aztecs were named to all-conference teams. Junior guard Chase Tapley earned a spot on the All-MW second team, while senior forward Tim Shelton and sophomore Xavier Thames earned honorable mentions. Shelton was also an all-defensive team selection.
For the women’s team, junior guard Chelsea Hopkins joined Clements as a unanimous first-team selection. Junior center Malia Nahinu was named to a third-team selection, sophomore guard Kiyana Stamps was an honorable mention selection and senior center Kalena Tutt was named to the conference’s all-defensive squad.
The men’s team will take on No. 8 seed Boise State at noon on Thursday.