Cleveland, Hansen Receive MWC Awards

BYU coach Steve Cleveland was named Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year by the leagu'e coaches and media. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

Steve Cleveland Named Coach of the Year; Travis Hansen Co-Defensive Player of the Year

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. -- The Mountain West Conference announced its 2002-03 men's basketball awards today. The league's eight men's head coaches along with a selected media panel picked the all-conference teams, coach, player, freshman and defensive awards.

BYU's head coach Steve Cleveland captured Coach of the Year honors, while Ruben Douglas of New Mexico was selected the Player of the Year. Freshman of the Year honors went to Evan Burns of San Diego State, while UNLV's Marcus Banks and BYU's Travis Hansen were named co-Defensive Players of the Year.

Four of Cleveland's players joined him in being honored by the MWC media and coaches. BYU's lone senior Hansen was selected to the All-MWC First Team, while juniors Mark Bigelow and Rafael Araujo were voted to the All-MWC Third Team and sophomore Jared Jensen receiving honorable mention.

Hansen joined New Mexico's Ruben Douglas as the only consensus first-team selections. Regular season co-champion Utah led the league with four all-conference selections. BYU had the second-most honorees with three, followed by UNLV and Wyoming with two and New Mexico, San Diego State, Colorado State and Air Force with one. Douglas was the only repeat first-team honoree from last season. This is the first time in the four-year history of the league that all eight institutions are represented on the three all-conference teams and that the first-team was comprised of all seniors.

Steve Cleveland led BYU to a 22-7 overall record and 11-3 league mark as it captured its second regular-season conference title in four years. It was also the Cougars third 20-plus win season in Cleveland's six years at the helm. The 2002-03 Cougars became the just the third Mountain West team to win five conference road games and 11 total league contests in a single-season (along with Utah and Wyoming). Cleveland is the first BYU coach to garner coach of the year honors since Roger Reid in 1991-92.

New Mexico senior guard Ruben Douglas was selected as Player of the Year despite the Lobos 10-17 overall record and seventh-place finish in the league with a 4-10 mark. Douglas led the league with an MWC record 32.1 points per game in conference play this season while shooting 40.3 percent from the field and 45.7 percent from the three-point line. He also ranked third in rebounding with 7.2 rebounds per game. In all games, he currently leads the in scoring with a 28.3 points per game average, while grabbing 6.4 rebounds per game and shooting 40.2 percent from the field. Douglas, a first-team NABC District 13 selection, has scored 20 or more points 25 times this season, which is a school record, and scored 30 or more points 11 times. Douglas is the first Lobo since Clayton Shields in 1997-98 to be named conference player of the year.

Senior guard Marcus Banks of UNLV and senior guard Travis Hansen of BYU were named co-Defensive Players of the Year. Banks captures Defensive Player of the Year honors for the second straight season after leading the league with 31 steals in conference play and a 2.21 per game average. In all games, Banks leads the conference and ranks fifth nationally with a 2.82 steals per game average and is one of three players in the country to have recorded eight or more steals in two different games this season. Banks recorded a league-high nine games with four or more steals this season. Hansen had 15 steals (1.07 spg), nine blocks (0.64 bpg) and averaged 3.07 defensive rebounds per game in league play. He was named conference player of the week Mar. 10 for his defensive effort as the Cougars went 3-0 in the final week of play and secured a share of the league title.

Freshman of the Year honors went to San Diego State's Evan Burns. Burns, a forward from Los Angeles, Calif. (Fairfax HS) is the league scoring leader among freshman at 10.2 points per game. He also ranks second in rebounding (4.9 rpg), field goal percentage (.524), steals (0.93) and is fourth in assists (1.14). Burns was the only freshman to be named player of the week this season, capturing the honor the week of March 3. He posted six double-digit scoring games during league play, including the last four, and recorded a double-double with a career-high 31 points and a career-high 13 rebounds in the Aztec victory over New Mexico Feb. 24.

All-Mountain West Conference First-Team Honorees:

BYU senior guard Travis Hansen was selected first-team All-MWC for the first time in his career after being named to the second-team in 2001-02. Hansen leads the Cougars in scoring and ranks fourth in the league (conference games only) with a 17.8 points per game average. A first-team NABC District 13 selection this season, Hansen led BYU in scoring in nine of 14 league games and scored 18 or more points in seven games.

Wyoming senior guard Donta Richardson was a third-team All-MWC selection in 2001-02 after transferring from Sheridan Junior College in Wyoming. A second-team NABC District 13 selection this season, Richardson led the Cowboys in scoring and ranked third in the MWC with an 18.9 average. In MWC games, he ranked third in the league in scoring averaging with 17.8 points per game. He also ranked seventh in free throw percentage (.815) and eighth in steals (1.24 spg).

Senior forward/center Uche Nsonwu-Amadi of Wyoming is a MWC first-team selection this season after being named to the second-team last season and to the all-newcomer team in 2000-01. Nsonwu-Amadi led the league in rebounding in both conference (9.0 ppg) and overall (9.7 ppg) games. He also ranks eighth in field goal percentage (.526) and 13th in scoring (13.9) in conference play. Nsonwu-Amadi had a conference-high 11 double-doubles this season, including four in conference play. The second-team NABC District 13 selection also recorded 13 double-figure rebound games and four contests with 20 or more points this season.

UNLV senior guard Marcus Banks was a second-team selection last year and becomes the first player in MWC history to garner an individual award for the second straight season after being named the league's Defensive Player of the Year in 2001-02 and 2002-03. He leads the league in both overall and conference games in assists (5.50/5.21 apg) and steals (2.82/2.21 spg) and ranks second in scoring (20.5/22.9 ppg). Banks posted six 30-plus scoring games this season and had 15 with 20 or more points. He was selected as one of 15 finalists for the Oscar Robertson Trophy (the USBWA's Player of the Year) and was named to the NABC All-District 15 first-team. Banks was also the only player in the league to win the MWC Player of the Week award three times this season.

2002-03 All-Mountain West Conference Men's Basketball Team

(selected by head coaches & selected media panel)

Coach of the Year -- Steve Cleveland, BYU

Player of the Year -- Ruben Douglas, New Mexico

Freshmen of the Year -- Evan Burns, San Diego State

Co-Defensive Players of the Year -- Travis Hansen, BYU and Marcus Banks, UNLV

First-Team All-Mountain West

Ruben Douglas, New Mexico, 6-5, 200, Sr., G, Altadena, Calif. (Univ. of Arizona)

Travis Hansen, BYU, 6-6, 210, Sr., F, Orem, Utah (Utah Valley State College)

Marcus Banks, UNLV, 6-2, 200, Sr., G, Las Vegas, Nev. (Dixie College)

Uche Nsonwu-Amadi, Wyoming, 6-10, 260, Sr., F/C, Enugu, Nigeria (Indian Hills CC)

Donta Richardson, Wyoming, 6-2, 170, Sr., G, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sheridan CC)

Second-Team All-Mountain West

Tony Bland, San Diego State, 6-5, 192, Sr., G, Los Angeles, Calif. (Syracuse)

Tim Frost, Utah, 6-10, 234, Jr., C, Klamath Falls, Ore. (Portland)

Marc Jackson, Utah, 6-1, 185, So., G, Salt Lake City, Utah (Olympus)

Britton Johnsen, Utah, 6-9, 213, Sr., F, Murray, Utah (Murray HS)

Dalron Johnson, UNLV, 6-10, 215, Sr., Los Angeles, Calif. (Verbum Dei HS)

Third-Team All-Mountain West

Rafael Araujo, BYU, 6-11, 260, Jr., C, Sao Pualo, Brazil (Ariz. Western College)

Mark Bigelow, BYU, 6-7, 190, Jr., F, Olympia, Wash. (Olympia HS)

Nick Jacobson, Utah, 6-4, 198, Jr., G, Fargo, N.D. (Roseville HS, Minn.)

Tim Keller, Air Force, G, 6-3, 180, So., G, Austin, Texas (USAFA Prep)

Matt Nelson, Colorado State, 7-0, 240, So., C, Morton Grove, Ill. (Niles North)

Honorable Mention:

Air Force -- Joel Gerlach (Jr., F)

BYU -- Jared Jensen (So., F)

CSU -- Andy Birley (Sr., G); Brian Greene (Sr., F), Michael Morris (Fr., G)

New Mexico -- Mark Walters (Fr., G)

SDSU -- Evan Burns (Fr., F); Mike Mackell (Sr., F); Deandre Moore (Sr., G)

Utah -- Trace Caton (Sr., F)

Wyoming -- Jay Straight (So., G)