(Photo by Gonzaga)
The West Coast Conference's postseason awards will be announced on Tuesday, and although media members don't have a vote, I like to share my would-be ballot on an annual basis. Stats noted were accumulated during conference play only.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Nigel Williams-Goss, Gonzaga: The transfer from Washington was the straw that stirred the drink for the outright WCC champs. NWG averaged 17.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game, which led Gonzaga in all three categories. He was also the WCC's best free throw shooter, at 92.4 percent, and ranked in the top 10 in field goal percentage, while leading the conference in steals, and ranking third in assist-to-turnover ratio. BYU center Eric Mika (2nd in points per game, 1st in rebounds per game, 1st in blocked shots per game) comes in a close second on this one.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Dane Pineau, Saint Mary's: The inside anchor of the nation's 2nd-ranked scoring defense, Pineau is an exemplary post defender, ranking in the top 10 in steals and blocked shots, in addition to being a proficient rebounder. Gonzaga's Johnathan Williams and BYU's Eric Mika also make very strong cases for this award.
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
Nigel Williams-Goss, Gonzaga: In a league that opts for a newcomer category over a freshman designation, NWG takes the honors as a transfer in from the Pac-12.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Mark Few, Gonzaga: 16 WCC regular-season championships in the last 17 years, and 18 in the last 20 (including 15 outright titles). NCAA tournament appearances in every season as the Zags' head coach. Nation's number-one ranking for the last month, until a loss to BYU. Always reloading instead of rebuilding, despite a steady stream of talent to the NBA.
ALL-CONFERENCE FIRST TEAM (10 players, listed alphabetically)
Jared Brownridge, Santa Clara: 3rd in the nation in active career scoring, Brownridge is 4th on the WCC career scoring list. This season, he led the league in three-pointers made per game, and was top-five in points per game. He played the second-most minutes of any WCC player.
TJ Haws, BYU: Ranked in the top 10 in scoring, assists per game, free throw percentage and three-point field goal percentage, Haws took over at point guard with the late-season injury to L.J. Rose. Haws was instrumental in the Cougars' win at No. 1 Gonzaga, going deep with a number of key treys.
Przemek Karnowski. Gonzaga: Zags' man-in-the-middle was an imposing force, averaging 13 points per game on a league-leading 65 percent shooting. Top 15 in scoring and blocked shots, his mere presence discouraged many a paint venturer.
Jock Landale, Saint Mary's: 4th in points per game, 2nd in rebounds per game, 4th in field goal percentage, 7th in blocked shots. Landale was greatly improved from season-to-season, and helped the Gaels remain one of the most efficient offensive teams in the country.
Eric Mika, BYU: A three-time WCC Player of the Week, and the NCAA's national Player of the Week after the Cougars' win in Spokane, Mika was a prodigious scorer and rebounder, who also led the conference in shot blocks. His first season since returning from an LDS mission was among the best campaigns ever produced by a BYU big man.
Lamond Murray, Jr., Pepperdine: The go-to-guy for an up-and-down Waves' squad, Murray was a mid-range master, and led the conference in scoring at 21.6 points per game. Top 15 in both rebounding and field goal percentage, he was 5th in free throw percentage and top 10 in steals.
Emmett Naar, Saint Mary's: Averaged 10 points and five assists per game (2nd in the league in apg), while shooting 90 percent from the stripe; finished 5th in three-point field goal percentage, and 5th in assist-to-turnover ratio. One-half of the Gaels' steady backcourt duo, alongside Joe Rahon.
Joe Rahon, Saint Mary's: The league leader in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio, this valuable senior is the conductor of the Gaels' slow-tempo train, who picked his spots as the league leader in minutes played. Top 10 in steals per game, Rahon's scoring numbers never dazzled, but he keys Randy Bennett's attack with a steady hand.
Johnathan Williams, Gonzaga: A versatile defender, with a great work rate. Williams averaged 11 points and eight rebounds per game, while finishing 2nd to Karnowski in field goal percentage. Top 10 in blocked shots, he was 2nd to Mika in defensive rebounds.
Nigel Williams-Goss, Gonzaga: see above.
ALL-CONFERENCE SECOND TEAM
Elijah Bryant, BYU
Zach Collins, Gonzaga
K.J. Feagin, Santa Clara
Calvin Hermanson, Saint Mary's
Dane Pineau, Saint Mary's
Also considered: Brett Bailey, San Diego; Ronnie Boyce, San Francisco; Brandon Brown, LMU; Nick Emery, BYU; Olin Carter III, San Diego; Yoeli Childs, BYU; Nate Kratch, Santa Clara; Jeremy Major, Pepperdine; Jordan Mathews, Gonzaga; Josh Perkins, Gonzaga; Nate Renfro, San Francisco; Chris Reyes, Pepperdine; Anthony Townes, Pacific; Buay Tuach, LMU.
Zach Collins, Gonzaga
Yoeli Childs, BYU
Juwan Gray, San Diego
TJ Haws, BYU
Jordan Ratinho, San Francisco