• Jake’s Preseason MWC Ballots

    Tue, July 20, 2010 by admin with 9 comments

    I’ve got only a couple more weeks left on the Air Force beat (more on that in a later post), but I plan to sprint hard toward the finish line.

    So I’ll be with Frank in Vegas next week to play blackja – I mean, provide you with all the information that comes out of the Mountain West Conference media days.

    Along with the commissioner’s State of the Conference address, one of the most anticipated aspects of the media days is the release of the preseason MWC poll and preseason All-MWC squad.

    I submitted my ballots today, which you can find below. As I’ve said in the past, preseason squads are kinda tricky. They’re part reward for past performance and part anticipation of future performance. Some value one more than the other. I try to go 50-50.

    Anyhow, without further ado, here’s what I submitted:

    Preseason MWC Poll
    1. TCU
    2. Utah
    3. Air Force
    4. BYU
    5. Wyoming
    6. San Diego State
    7. Colorado State
    8. UNLV
    9. New Mexico

    Preseason All-MWC
    Offense

    WR – Vincent Brown (San Diego State, Sr.)
    WR – Phillip Payne (UNLV, Jr.)
    OL – Matt Reynolds (BYU, Jr.)
    OL – Marcus Cannon (TCU, Sr.)
    OL – Jake Kirkpatrick (TCU, Sr.)
    OL – Caleb Schlauderaff (Utah, Sr.)
    OL – Zane Taylor (Utah, Sr.)
    TE – Alston Umuolo (San Diego State, Sr.)
    QB – Andy Dalton (TCU, Sr.)
    RB – Eddie Wide (Utah, Sr.)
    RB – Jared Tew (Air Force, Sr.)

    Defense
    DL – Wayne Daniels (TCU, Sr.)
    DL – Dave Kruger (Utah, So.)
    DL – Johnathan Rainey (New Mexico, Jr.)
    LB – Tank Carder (TCU, Jr.)
    LB – Mychal Sisson (Colorado State, Jr.)
    LB – Carmen Messina (New Mexico, Jr.)
    LB – Brian Hendricks (Wyoming, Jr.)
    DB – Anthony Wright Jr. (Air Force, Jr.)
    DB – Reggie Rembert (Air Force, Sr.)
    DB – Tejay Johnson (TCU, Sr.)
    DB – Andrew Rich (BYU, Sr.)

    Specialists
    P – Brian Stahovich (San Diego State, Jr.)
    K – Ross Evans (TCU, Jr.)
    KR – Jeremy Kerley (TCU, Sr.)

    Offensive Player of the Year: QB Andy Dalton (TCU, Sr.)
    Defensive Player of the Year: LB Tank Carder (TCU, Jr.)
    Special Teams Player of the Year: KR Jeremy Kerley (TCU, Sr.)

    As you can see, I went with three Air Force players on the first team.

    Rembert was a first-team all-conference selection last season, but it could be argued that Wright – who led the Falcons with seven picks – had the better season. I went with both of them, which might be a stretch, but it’s hard to pick one over the other. And I think they’ll form the MWC’s best corner tandem.

    I went with Tew because of how he ended the 2009 season, his potential (I think he can be both a workhorse and a big-play threat) and the fact there aren’t so many obvious standout tailbacks in the league that I thought I needed to select two of them.

    Here are some other Air Force players who could make a push for all-conference honors by the end of the season.

    Strong Contenders:
    -FS Jon Davis. Coaches have always raved about Davis’ potential, and he started to show what he could do last year. Look no further than his ridiculous pick-six against New Mexico (where he weaved through Lobos, absorbed a huge hit at the goal line and still managed to get into the end zone). He might be the best athlete on the team (he played a few basketball games for the prep school a few years ago), he has great instincts and he loves to hit. I predict a breakout year for him in 2010.

    -TB Asher Clark. After struggling in the middle of last season (he gained just 142 yards on 46 carries – 3.1 yards per carry – in games four through eightt), he finished strong (he had 481 on 67 carries – 7.2 yards per carry – and all seven of his touchdowns in the final five games of the campaign. With a healthy knee and the fact he’s not starting the year with thoughts of playing quarterback, he should get off to a better start in 2010.

    K Erik Soderberg. In 2009, his first year as a starter, Soderberg made 38-of-40 extra points and 22-of-30 field goals, including a long of 50 yards, en route to second-team all-league honors. He should be even better this season.

    Other Contenders:
    -G A.J. Wallerstein. If the Falcons’ brand new offensive line comes together and Air Force’s ground game continues to be strong, it likely will have a lot to do with Wallerstein. He got his feet wet in 2008 and last season played considerable snaps as part of a rotation at guard. Big, athletic and very, very smart, he could be a good one for the Falcons.

    -DE Rick Ricketts. He’ll be the leader up front as the Falcons’ lone returning starter on the defensive line. He’s undersized, but he plays with a relentless intensity and has a bit of crazy in him on the field (in a good way). He also always seems to be around the ball and has shown an ability to make plays. Working against him – there are a bunch of quality defensive linemen in the league and Ricketts isn’t a big name in the league heading into the season.

    -OLB Andre Morris Jr. Morris has talent, size and experience. This could be the year he puts it all together and goes from good to great.

    Keep an Eye on:
    -TE Chaz Demerath. Made just five catches for 25 yards last season, and Air Force tight ends had just 11 catches total. But I feel like the tight end will become a bigger part of the offense. It has to, right? And having a more experienced quarterback delivering the ball should help. Demerath’s an athletic kid and there aren’t a whole lot of touted tight ends in the MWC.

    -WR-Z/Ret Jonathan Warzeka. Showed his ability as a returner with the kickoff return for a touchdown in the Armed Forces Bowl. Always has had potential. Now that he’s a junior, he should make a substantial leap.

    -WR-Z Kyle Halderman. Missed more than half of last season with a broken collarbone. But he showed big-play potential as a sophomore.

    -All the LBs coming off injury. Among them are senior inside linebacker Ken Lamendola, senior outside linebacker Pat Hennessey and sophomore outside linebacker Alex Means. All could have big seasons … if they’re healthy.

    Long Shots:
    -WR-X Kevin Fogler. A long shot because Fogler won’t get the opportunity to catch nearly as many passes as the talented receivers at San Diego State, BYU and UNLV. But he’s become a bona fide big-play receiver. Last season he grabbed 25 passes for 567 yards and five touchdowns.

    -QB Tim Jefferson. So many good QBs in the league this year. And Jefferson probably won’t have the stats. But if he runs like he did as a freshman and passes like he did in the Armed Forces Bowl, he could force his way into contention.

    -NG Ryan Gardner. Coaches gave him high marks for his work during spring practices attempting to fill the shoes of Ben Garland.

    With that, I want to hear what readers think. Who should have been on the first team that I left off my ballot? Which Air Force players do you think will make their way onto all-conference? What do you think of the preseason poll? Is Air Force too high, too low or just about right?

  • First Look: New Mexico

    Fri, July 2, 2010 by admin with no comments

    This is Part 11 of my “First Look” series, in which I take a quick peek at each of the Air Force football team’s 2010 opponents. We move this week to the Falcons’ Week 11 opponent – New Mexico.

    Here are links to the First Looks at the Falcons’ first 10 opponents: Northwestern State, BYU, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Navy, Colorado State, San Diego State, TCU, Utah and Army.

    NEW MEXICO
    Coach: Mike Locksley
    2009 Record: 1-11 (1-7, 8th place in the Mountain West Conference)
    2009 vs. AF: Air Force 37, New Mexico 13
    2009 in a Sentence: A disaster on and off the field for first-year coach Locksley (who was suspended for an altercation with an assistant and accused of sexual harassment, age discrimination and retaliation after firing an administrative assistant) and the Lobos, who edged Colorado State to avoid a winless season.
    Off/Def Starters Back: 6/6
    Roster Report: With the graduation of Donovan Porterie, New Mexico is one of only three MWC teams that won’t have a returning starting quarterback.

    According to The Albuquerque Journal, sophomore B.R. Holbrook emerged during spring practice from a group that also included junior Brad Gruner and senior Tate Smith to become “the clear No. 1 candidate” to replace Porterie.

    But a pair of incoming freshmen, Tarean Austin and Stump Godfrey, should push for playing time. Godfrey was the Texas 3A Offensive Player of the Year last season after throwing for 3,581 yards with 42 touchdowns and six interceptions and rushing for 848 yards and another 22 scores. Austin threw for 2,132 yards with 20 touchdowns and six picks.

    New Mexico has a pair of backs who started games last year in sophomore Demond Dennis and junior James Wright. The explosive Dennis gained a team-high 427 rushing yards and 659 all-purpose yards in 2009. Wright, who is a more powerful runner but still has swiftness, should be familiar to Air Force fans – he had 126 yards and two scores on just five carries in last season’s game against the Falcons.

    New Mexico lost two of its top three receivers but returns sophomore Ty Kirk, who led all MWC freshmen with 427 receiving yards last season. Also back is sophomore tight end Lucas Reed, who caught 17 passes for 212 yards and earned freshman All-American honors.

    There are question marks up front, where the Lobos lost three starters, including Erik Cook, a first-team All-MWC selection last season. Junior Byron Bell, who started every game at left tackle in 2009 and was a freshman All-American in 2010, leads the returners.

    New Mexico should be strong up front on the defensive side of the ball. The Lobos return both starting defensive ends (Jaymar Latchison and Johnathan Rainey, a second-team All-MWC selection in 2009), who combined for 14 sacks last season, and one starting defensive tackle (Peter Gardner). And one of their incoming freshmen, 6-foot-3, 265-pound Calvin Smith, could make an immediate impact.

    Also back is linebacker Carmen Messina, who led the nation in tackles in 2009 with 13.5 per game, and corners Nathan Enriquez and Anthony Hooks.

    Fast Fact: I’ll turn this over to my man Greg Archuleta of The Albuquerque Journal. Here’s a portion of a piece he wrote back in January:

    Locksley points to the team’s improvement over its last five games of the season.

    “We improved in almost every statistical category,” he says.

    The Lobos averaged 14.9 points per game through the first seven weeks, 18.4 in the last five. They averaged 295 yards on offense before, 343.8 after. Defensively they gave up an average of 429.3 yards in games 1-7 and 393 in the final five. Their third-down conversion percentage on offense was just more than 24 in the seven games and 36.8 in the final five.

    Bear in mind, also, that UNM played three ranked teams in the final five weeks and none in the first seven.

    So, yes, that is progress.

    What Caught My Eye: According to the Lobos’ spring practice guide, Locksley “identified several key aspects of Lobo football that he expects to see developed” during the spring. They included the rushing offense and defense, the turnover battle and third-down conversions.

    New Mexico was dreadful in those categories in 2009. And they really are important categories. Below are the Lobos’ stats (and overall ranking among 120 NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision squads) in those categories, juxtaposed with Air Force’s.

    Category                    New Mexico                         Air Force
    Rushing offense       100.3 yds/game (110th)       283.5 yds/game (3rd)
    Rushing defense      165.0 yds/game (83rd)         134.0 yds/game (47th)
    Turnover margin      Minus-0.5/game (T-97th)    Plus-1.69/game (1st)
    3rd-down convers    30.1 percent (117th)             44.3 percent (24th)

    Jake’s Way Too Early Line vs. Air Force: Air Force, minus-14.5. New Mexico improved in the final few games of last season and posted its lone victory (29-27 over Colorado State) in its penultimate game. Air Force gets the Lobos late (in the Falcons’ second-to-last regular season game), but even if New Mexico continues to improve, the Falcons should be clear favorites.

    Final Thought: New Mexico couldn’t run the ball or stop the run in 2009. If it can’t do either in 2010, it’ll be another long season. Locksley promises a “more physical” team up front. We’ll see.

  • Willis’ Trouble Adds to MWC’s Difficult Summer

    Wed, June 30, 2010 by admin with 3 comments

    UNLV guard Tre’Von Willis – the second-leading scorer in the Mountain West Conference during the 2009-10 season and the Runnin’ Rebels’ best player – was arrested on Tuesday on multiple charges, including domestic battery by strangulation. Here’s the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s story.

    If Willis is guilty, he could be suspended or kicked off the team at UNLV, adding to an already rough offseason for the MWC.

    New Mexico’s Darington Hobson, the league’s 2009-10 Player of the Year, decided to skip his senior year to enter the NBA Draft (he was chosen in the second round by the Milwaukee Bucks), and the Lobos decided not to renew 6-foot-9 forward Will Brown’s scholarship; BYU guard Michael Loyd Jr. left the school; four underclassmen left Utah, including their top two scorers from last season – Carlon Brown, who transferred to Colorado, and talented shooter Marshall Henderson; and Willis’ teammate, 6-8 forward Matt Shaw, was given a one-year suspension for failing a drug test.

    But while the loss of all that talent is bad news for the MWC, it’s good news for a struggling Air Force program trying to become relevant again in the league.

  • A Shout-Out for the Mountain West Conference

    Wed, March 24, 2010 by admin with 4 comments

    But not in a good way.

    ESPN.com columnist Pat Forde named the winners and losers of the first four days of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

    Not surprisingly, the Mountain West Conference earned “loser” status. Here’s what Forde wrote:

    Loser: Mountain West Conference. Four teams entered, none remains. And neither New Mexico nor BYU came close to winning its second-round game.

    As Gazette columnist David Ramsey pointed out in his blog earlier this week, it’s not the first time the league has fallen flat in The Big Dance. MWC teams are 10-26 all-time, none has moved past the Sweet 16 and only two have made it that far. Yikes.

    All season long we hear MWC coaches tell us how strong the league is and how it doesn’t get the respect it deserves. Forgive us for rolling our eyes when those claims are made next year.

  • BYU Survives, Ends Streak

    Thu, March 18, 2010 by admin with no comments

    The Mountain West Conference wanted to earn some respect in the NCAA Tournament this year.

    BYU got the league off to a good start.

    Barely.

    The Cougars beat Florida, 99-92, in double overtime. The Gators had the final possession of regulation and the first overtime but could not hit a game-winner. BYU’s victory ended a seven-game losing streak in the first round of the tournament.

    San Diego State, UNLV and New Mexico all still play today.

  • Saturday Morning Links

    Sat, March 13, 2010 by admin with 5 comments

    Greetings from Washington, DC.

    I didn’t get a links post up yesterday because of internet troubles/traveling. So here’s my story on the Air Force men’s basketball team’s 75-69 loss to New Mexico on Thursday in the Mountain West Conference Tournament quarterfinals. The Falcons played well – especially a pair of freshmen guards, Michael Lyons and Todd Fletcher. Both really came of age in the MWC Tournament.

    I wrote for today’s edition of The Gazette about the momentum and positive feelings the Air Force men’s basketball team should carry into the offseason. And, how, unfortunately, the Falcons carried a bunch of momentum and optimism into last season’s offseason (and, obviously, didn’t carry it through to 2009-10).

    But could things be different next year? I explore.

    One thing I didn’t fit in the article was an interesting comment from junior guard Evan Washington. He was asked what Air Force had to do to return to the winning ways of 2003-07.

    “You know, I think it’s just gonna be a mindset,” Washington said. “When I was a freshman, when I was at the prep school, you know, everybody here had a mindset that you don’t lose, especially at home,” he said. “That’s going to be something that we have to get back. We started to develop towards the end of the year. When times got tough, we would persevere through it. We wanted to win. We had the mindset we were in the game to win, not to lose. I think we’re just going to have to get that back for the future.”

    Switching to the ice, Air Force defeated Army, 3-0, at Cadet Ice Arena last night in the first game of their best-of-three Atlantic hockey Association quarterfinal series. As Brian Gomez points out in the linked article, the Falcons know how to win in the postseason. That and a hot goalie (Andrew Volkening) could make for another run deep into the postseason.

  • New Mexico 75, Air Force 69 – Rapid Reaction

    Thu, March 11, 2010 by admin with 4 comments

    Too bad there aren’t a few more weeks left in the season.

    Because it would be interesting to see if Air Force could keep performing like it did the last two days, when it played arguably its two best games of the 2009-10 campaign.

    This afternoon, they pushed the No. 8 team in the country throughout a physical, intense, emotional and often contentious game. This Falcons team was not the same team that we all watched most of the 2009-10 season.

    “I think towards the end of the season we started to click,” junior forward Tom Fow said. “We started to get things, have that passion, have that personal pride, you know, that we weren’t going to lay down for anybody.”

    Not surprisingly, the Falcons shot the ball extremely well this afternoon. In part because they attacked the rim and got some back-door layins, they went 27-of-50 from the field.

    Don’t want to say shooting is everything with this team, but consider this: Air Force’s four best shooting performances against conference foes are below. Those four coincide with Air Force’s only two victories against league foes this season and their two other top performances this season (both against New Mexico).

    Date – Opponent – Percentage
    Today – New Mexico – 54.0
    2/20 – New Mexico – 51.2
    Wed. – Wyoming – 47.9
    1/30 – Wyoming – 45.1

    That says a lot.

    But perhaps even more important than the shooting the last two days was the passion, emotion and energy with which the Falcons played. As I wrote yesterday, even the bench was into it.

    Again, I wonder where that energy was the rest of the season. And I wish the Falcons had a few more weeks to play with it.

    Other Notes:
    -I Tweeted this before the game: That was like a road game for Air Force. A ton of Lobo fans in the crowd at the Thomas & Mack.

    “New Mexico, they brought The Pit with them to the conference tournament,” Fow said.

    Air Force got a lift from the fans of other teams who were in attendance (they clearly wanted to see the upset). But the Lobos had the majority of the voices at Thomas & Mack.

    -I’ve wondered about some of Air Force coach Jeff Reynolds’ substitution patterns throughout the season. But I’ve got to say that he did an excellent job with juggling the lineup on Thursday. With a team that had just finished a game 21 hours earlier, Reynolds got good rest for his key players and found good combinations with his reserves. That was a key reason his team was in the game.

    -New Mexico junior guard Darington Hobson is a tremendous talent, and I voted for him as the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year. He was, without question, the best player in the league this year. And I think his versatile game and long, athletic body could make him a very good pro.

    So he’s too good a player for that preening, trash-talking, chest-pounding, punkish act he often displays during games.

    (Quick side note: Tomorrow is my birthday, and I already feel like old man. When I write sentences like the one before the parentheses, I feel like even more of an old grouch. Oh well.)

    Anyhow, if I was a New Mexico fan, I’d love his emotion. But I’d be concerned about how A) he got a technical foul for pounding his chest and celebrating after a bucket in the second half; B) how he seemed to get into it with Reynolds heading into a timeout (Reynolds and Hobson talked after the game and shared a hug); and C) how he got in the face of teammate Chad Adams late in the first half. Hobson came up with a steal and drove the court. He eventually got to the hoop and was called for a charge. He then yelled at Adams as if the foul was all Adams’ fault for not filling a lane.

    To Hobson’s credit, he gave a thoughtful response when he was asked if he can grow his passion “without encountering the negative side of that.” And he took responsibility for the tech.

    “Yeah, that’s one of the things I’ve been working on, trying to work on down the stretch,” Hobson said. “You know, it cost us two points during the game. I apologize for that. But you know, that’s just something I still have to work on. I’m an emotional player, and I show a lot of emotion when I play.”

    -One last thing:

    I wrote for tomorrow’s paper about the outstanding play of Air Force freshmen Michael Lyons and Todd Fletcher. Those two – and the rest of the freshmen on Air Force’s team – won’t be able to kick their feet up and get some rest now that the season’s over.

    Air Force was set to jump on a plane tonight and head back to the academy so the players could participate in “Recognition,” which essentially is a rite of passage for the freshmen.

    It starts today and includes physical training, room and uniform inspections, quizzes about academy and military heritage – you name it. Think rushing a fraternity without the booze and embarrassing hazing techniques. (“It’d probably be enough to scare you and your friends,” Lt. Gen. Michael Gould, the academy’s superintendent, told me after today’s game).

    It runs through Saturday night when the freshmen are awarded the Prop and Wings insignia. That signifies the fourth classmen are officially part of the Cadet Wing.

    Heading back to the academy after a heartbreaking loss would be tough enough. Having to join in this difficult process probably makes it much tougher.

    Best of luck to the frosh.

  • Thursday Morning Links

    Thu, March 11, 2010 by admin with no comments

    Air Force lived to play another day by beating Wyoming, 59-40, in yesterday’s Mountain West Conference Tournament play-in game. The Falcons got a terrific performance from freshman guard Michael Lyons. And they got a game-high 15 points from senior forward/center Grant Parker. Gazette columnist David Ramsey praised Parker’s play, and the class he’s shown all season, in his blog: http://daveramseysez.freedomblogging.com.

    With the victory, Air Force advanced to the quarterfinals. In a little less than an hour, they’ll face top-seeded New Mexico, the nation’s eighth-ranked team. Here are my 3 Things to Watch in the game.

    Also, Air Force’s ice hockey team begins its playoff run tomorrow night against Army. Gazette hockey writer Joe Paisley has 3 Things to Watch in the best-of-three American Hockey Association quarterfinal series.

  • Air Force 59, Wyoming 40 – Rapid Reaction

    Wed, March 10, 2010 by admin with no comments

    So where was this team all season?

    The Falcons played with energy and emotion and – gasp – actually seemed to be having fun out there today.

    You could tell by the body language of the players that they were not going to lose this game. Even the guys on the bench – they were on their feet and cheering and celebrating. It was nice to see.

    An obvious reason the Falcons won was they actually hit some shots – something they did rarely in Mountain West Conference regular season play.

    But a bigger reason was defense. Air Force players were flying out to the perimeter to contest Wyoming’s 3-point shots. They were attacking passing lanes and going after errant passes. They were sliding their feet and making it tough for the Cowboys to get into the lane.

    In short, they were just playing nasty defense. The kind of defense Air Force used to play on a night-in, night-out basis.

    “We were really well prepared,” senior forward/center Grant Parker said. “We knew what they were going to do pretty much every single play. We knew their options and what they could possibly run. … I thought energy was a big thing tonight.”

    I asked Air Force coach Jeff Reynolds if his team had its best defensive performance of the season against the Cowboys.

    “I think there were stretches that we were very solid,” he said. “You know, (Wyoming freshman guard) Desmar (Jackson) is so good at getting into the lane. I thought (Air Force senior guard) Avery Merriex came off the bench and did an outstanding job of forcing him to go side to side versus to the basket. I thought Mike McLain did a really good job, as well as Grant.”

    Other Notes:
    -The Cowboys had a lot to do with their demise.

    Playing without starting point guard JayDee Luster, the Cowboys made 13 turnovers and hit just 2-of-16 3-pointers and just 8-of-19 shots from the foul line. Ouch.

    On Wyoming’s second possession of the second half, Desmar Jackson tossed a pass to Ryan Dermody on the right wing. Dermody reached for it with one hand, but it slipped off the hand and out of bounds. It just wasn’t the Cowboys’ day.

    -Speaking of Jackson, he is a talented kid. Especially as a scorer. So smooth and deceptively quick. He just has a knack for getting through traffic, contorting his body and finding a way to force in shots. He’ll be fun to watch in the coming seasons.

    -Play of the day, by far: Freshman guard Todd Fletcher’s drive to the hoop with about 3:26 to play. Wyoming was pressing, but the Falcons beat it, and Fletcher got the ball and took it across halfcourt. Instead of pulling it out and running clock, however, Fletcher saw a lane and exploited it. He went all the way to the rim and scored as he was fouled. He then hit the ensuing free throw to complete a 3-point play that finished off the Cowboys.

    “I made my diagonal cut. I just hear Evan in the background saying, ‘Go, go, attack,’” Fletcher said. “Their big guy was backing up. I had to make a layup. I went in, got hit. Coach says always keep your eyes on the rim and I did and it went in.”

    -I mentioned this in my notebook that will appear in tomorrow’s paper, but I wanted to send give props here on the blog. How ‘bout Ryan Gonzales – senior offensive tackle on the Air Force football team – winning the fan shootout during a break in the action in the first half?

    Gonzales hit a free throw, a 3-pointer and a halfcourt shot to win the competition. And he needed just two tries on the free throw and 3 and four on the halfcourt shot.

    There apparently are some ballers on the football team, including free safety Jon Davis (who played some for the prep school hoops team a few years ago), receiver Kevin Fogler, quarterback Tim Jefferson, receiver Kyle Halderman, outside linebackers Patrick Hennessey and Andre Morris Jr. and some others.

    -Quick, quick, quick turnaround for Air Force. The Falcons will have about 21 hours from the end of their game against Wyoming to tip-off of tomorrow’s game against New Mexico. Until then.

  • Air Force Mostly Absent from All-MWC

    Mon, March 8, 2010 by admin with no comments

    For the second season in a row, Air Force was the only program in the nine-team Mountain West Conference not to have a player make first-, second- or third-team All-MWC.

    Evan Washington was the only Falcon to earn any recognition. The junior guard, who ranked second in the league in minutes per game (33.9) and averaged 10.4 points and a team-high 4.7 rebounds this season, was an honorable mention selection.

    The league’s coaches and selected members of the media vote for the teams and submit ballots with 15 players (five on each team).

    Prior to last season, Air Force had placed at least one player on the first, second or third teams for seven consecutive seasons.

    First Team
    G Jimmer Fredette (BYU, Jr.)
    G Tre’Von Willis (UNLV, Jr.)
    G Dairese Gary (New Mexico, Jr.)
    G/F Darington Hobson (New Mexico, Jr.)
    F Kawhi Leonard (San Diego State, Fr.)

    Second Team
    G Ronnie Moss (TCU, Soph.)
    G Jackson Emery (BYU, Jr.)
    F Andy Ogide (Colorado State, Jr.)
    F Roman Martinez (New Mexico, Sr.)
    F Malcolm Thomas (San Diego State, Jr.)

    Third Team
    G Tyler Haws (BYU, Fr.)
    G Desmar Jackson (Wyoming, Fr.)
    G Carlon Brown (Utah, Jr.)
    G/F Chace Stanback (UNLV, So.)
    G/F Jonathan Tavernari (BYU, Sr.)

    Honorable Mention
    Jr. G Evan Washington (Air Force), So. G Phillip McDonald (New Mexico), Jr. G D.J. Gay (San Diego State), Jr. F Billy White (San Diego State), Sr. F/C Zvonko Buljan (TCU), So. G Oscar Bellfield (UNLV), Sr. G Luka Drca (Utah), Fr. G Marshall Henderson (Utah).

    All-Defensive Team
    G Jackson Emery (BYU, Jr.)
    G Dairese Gary (New Mexico, Jr.)
    G Tre’Von Willis (UNLV, Jr.)
    G/F Chace Stanback (UNLV, Soph.)
    C David Foster (Utah, Soph.)

    Player of the Year
    G Darington Hobson (New Mexico, Jr.)

    Defensive Player of the Year
    C David Foster (Utah, Soph.)

    Freshman of the Year
    F Kawhi Leonard (San Diego State, Fr.)

    Newcomer of the Year
    G Darington Hobson (New Mexico, Jr.)

    Sixth Man of the Year
    F Jonathan Tavernari (BYU, Sr.)

    Coach of the Year
    Steve Alford (New Mexico)