In our second series of postseason awards, we are giving out individual and team awards, ranging from Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, Best Offense, and much more.
The team at MWCConnection filled out their ballots and the player, coach, or team that appeared the most in the respective category was picked for that award.
There were a lot of deserving players and selections for the awards, but this is what the team decided on. Here are the MWCConnection team’s selection for the postseason awards:
Player of the Year: Bryce Hamilton
Hamilton returned to UNLV after entering his name in the NBA Draft process and transfer portal. He led the Mountain West in scoring with 21.8 PPG on the season. He hit 43% of his shots and 34.6% from 3-point range. Hamilton scored a career-high 42 points on the road against Colorado State, it was one of six 30-plus scoring games for Hamilton.
Defensive Player of the Year: Nathan Mensah
Mensah helped San Diego State have the best defense in the Mountain West. Mensah recorded 69 total blocks, averaging 2.2 per game. He made it challenging for opponents to drive in the paint as he went up against plenty of top post players in the Mountain West.
Freshman of the Year: Tyson Degenhart
The 6-foot-7 freshman from Spokane, WA, appeared in all 34 games for Boise State and made 28 starts. He averaged 9.9 PPG and averaged 27.9 minutes played. Degenhart saw his role increase throughout the season after playing just a handful of minutes the first six games of the season. Degenhart scored a career-high 23 points against San Jose State Feb. 5.
Newcomer of the Year: Matt Bradley
Bradley came in and helped fill the void San Diego State had on offense after it graduated three of its top scorers from last year’s team. The Cal transfer averaged 17 PPG and shot 44.3% from the field and 41.6% from 3-point range. Bradley was second on the team in rebounding with 5.4 RPG.
Sixth Man of the Year: John Tonje
With a dynamic duo leading Colorado State, Tonje came off the bench and was a nice complementary piece to the Rams’ duo and proved to be a legitimate third scoring option. Tonje was the Rams’ third-leading scorer with 9.4 PPG, shot 47.8% from the field and 82% from the free-throw line in 25.4 minutes averaged per game this season.
Coach of the Year: Leon Rice
Rice led the Broncos to their first Mountain West tournament championship, a regular-season title, and a 27-7 record. This will be the first NCAA Tournament appearance for the Broncos since 2015 and this will be the first time the Broncos will not be in the First Four since 2008. Rice had to manage to replace Boise State’s top player, Derrick Alston Jr., but the Broncos did not miss a beat and had one of the best seasons in program history.
Best Offense: Colorado State
The Rams averaged 73.7 PPG and had an eight-point margin compared to their average points scored and points allowed. As a team, the Rams shot 48.5% from the field, 35.8% from 3-point range, and 77.4% from the free throw line, all tops in the Mountain West.
Best Defense: San Diego State
The Aztecs had the best defense in the Mountain West, averaging 57.7 PPG for its opponents. They held opponents to 38.2% shooting, they were the only team in the Mountain West to hold opponents in the 30% range. Opponents shot 30.4% from 3-point range and the Aztecs blocked 146 total shots.
Best Bench: Colorado State
The Rams counted on 10 different players to play at least 12 or more minutes per game. Seven different players played in all 30 games for the Rams, with those 10 different players playing at least 23 games.