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Grammer School

Covering UNM Lobos and Mountain West Conference hoops and more2014-2015 Schedule/Results | Roster

Geoff Grammer’s All-Mountain West postseason ballot

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Nothing brings on the hate like posting your all-league ballot. It’s even worse than posting my largely meaningless Associated Press Top 25 ballot each week. Nevertheless, I post this ballot for your amusement.

The official All-Mountain West honors will be announced Monday. Some of the 22 media members selected to vote post their ballots, and I’ll tweet or retweet links to those as I see them. The 22 media votes comprise 50 percent of the league voting while the 11 coaches comprise the other 50 percent of the vote. Don’t count on any coaches making their ballots public. Transparency in things like this, frankly, isn’t in their best interest, so I understand.

And if interested in seeing just how wrong the league’s media, and I in particular, were back in October, I’m also linking the preseason media poll (HERE) and my preseason ballot (HERE).

Mountain West Player of the Year

F Cameron Bairstow, Sr., New Mexico

Coach of the Year

Steve Fisher, San Diego State

All Mountain West — First Team

G Xavier Thames, Sr., San Diego State
G Kendall Williams, Sr., New Mexico
G Deonte Burton, Sr., Nevada
F Cameron Bairstow, Sr., New Mexico
F Larry Nance Jr., Jr., Wyoming

All Mountain West — Second Team

G Tyler Johnson, Sr., Fresno State
G Daniel Bejarano, Jr., Colorado State
F Khem Birch, Jr., UNLV
F Ryan Watkins, Sr., Boise State
C Alex Kirk, Jr., New Mexico

All Mountain West — Third Team

G Derrick Marks, Jr., Boise State
G/F Anthony Drmic, Jr., Boise State
F Winston Shepard, So., San Diego State
F J.J. Avila, Jr., Colorado State
F Roscoe Smith, Jr., UNLV

Defensive Player of the Year

F Larry Nance Jr., Jr., Wyoming

All-Defensive Team

G Xavier Thames, Sr., San Diego State
F Larry Nance Jr., Jr., Wyoming
F Khem Birch, Jr., UNLV
F Skylar Spencer, F, San Diego State
C Alex Kirk, Jr., New Mexico

Newcomer of the Year

F J.J. Avila, Jr., Colorado State

Freshman of the Year

G/F Paul Watson, Fr., Fresno State

Sixth Man of the Year

F Dwayne Polee II, Jr., San Diego State

And some random thoughts on some of my choices above…

• First off, a couple players I think would have been on my fourth team if there was one and maybe get some votes from others around the league, include a guy like Cole Huff from Nevada (he’d be on any most improved list the league put together and will be in line to be an all-league candidate next year for sure). From the same AAU program as former Lobo Tony Snell, I think Huff’s got the same quiet, all-business makeup that will make him one of the league’s best, soon. Two other guys I had a hard time leaving off was Air Force guard Tre’ Coggins and Utah State post Jarred Shaw.

• Player of the Year was easy for me. Cam Bairstow was the best player in the league. I’m not one who subscribes to the notion that the best player on the best team needs to win this award (see my highly-criticized pick by local fans of Colorado State’s Colton Iverson a season ago over eventual winner Kendall Williams of UNM).

• Picking Sixth Man of the Year was going to be tough until the 11:39 point of the second half of Saturday night’s title game in San Diego. That’s when Dwayne Polee II, already in contention for the award in my mind, checked in and was placed on top of the 1-3-1 zone defense the Aztecs rode down the stretch to a league title, dethroning the two-time champion Lobos. Of course being fifth in league play in steals despite being a non-starter helps his case, too.

• Unlike Player of the Year, I tend to think Coach of the Year does generally, though not always, need to go to the coach of the championship team. Steve Fisher was a no-brainer in my mind, but not because they were picked fourth in the preseason poll and outperformed that. The preseason poll was obviously wrong, so I don’t think using that now to justify a vote would be right. I also don’t think that handcuffs a coach whose team is picked to win the league in the preseason. Craig Neal, even though his team received 23 of 24 first place votes in the preseason, still proved to have an outstanding debut as a first-time head coach. Had the Lobos won Saturday night, he would have received my vote. If you base it solely on outperforming preseason polls, Dave Carter at Nevada would get the award. I think Rodney Terry did well down the stretch, but as improved as Fresno State was, their 1-7 start in league play is part of the equation, too.

• Finally, my thoughts on Wyoming’s Larry Nance Jr. being included despite not playing since being injured for the year on Feb. 18: Basically, he did enough in my mind to justify his inclusion. While he didn’t play in the required 75 percent of his team’s games for his statistics to appear on the league’s official statistical leader board (he played in 72 percent of Wyoming’s league games before his ACL tear), there is no doubt he proved his value prior.

So there you go. Rip it to shreds and feel free to email me at ggrammer@abqjournal.com or on Twitter @GeoffGrammer. I’ll post the official league awards on Monday when they’re announced.

Now, time for the conference tournament.

LOBO LINKS: Geoff Grammer’s blog | Schedule/Results | Roster

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