Mar 4, 2012

Medlin makes the first team (as he damn well should have!)

All-WAC honors were announced Sunday, and for the most part, they got it right.

The all-WAC first team consisted of Deonte Burton, Wendell McKines, Vander Joaquim, Olek Czyz aaaaand.... Preston Freaking Medlin!!

Earning this honor is nothing short of totally deserved for a player who has been the heart and soul of Utah State basketball this season. If you call yourself an Aggie fan and don't love pretty much everything about Medlin's game, I can only wonder if there's any lead pipe big enough that could knock some sense into you. He plays hard, he plays team ball, he's a very good defender, a phenomenal scorer and above all, you can just tell he loves Aggie basketball like the rest of us.

He is only the second Aggie sophomore ever to earn first-team all-conference honors, joining Nate Harris, who was named to the Big West's first team in 2004. Harris went on the be first-team all-Big West in 2005 and first-team all-WAC in 2006 to become the only Aggie to be three-time first-teamer. Medlin now has the chance to be the second should he keep up the momentum of his game over the next two seasons.

As for the rest of the all-WAC team, everyone knew that Burton and McKines were locks for the first team, with Medlin essentially in that conversation too after USU's strong finish to climb back up to at least the top-half of the league.

From there, things were largely up in the air for the other two spots. Hawaii had a couple guys worthy of consideration, Kevin Olekaibe is a superstar deserving of first team honors, and for how thoroughly Nevada dominated the conference, you couldn't count out them getting two guys on the first team.

Joaquim still made it, despite Hawaii's sixth-place finish, and Nevada did indeed land another guy on the first team, even if it was one I didn't expect. Maybe I didn't see the Wolf Pack play enough this year, but I always kind of perceived Malik Story and Dario Hunt to be more of game-changers than Czyz. Each of them had pretty strong numbers with different strengths to each guy's game. I certainly wouldn't have predicted Story to only get honorable mention either, but oh well.

Coach of the Year to David Carter is one of the biggest no-brainers for this award that I've seen. He took a team that was 13-19 last year, didn't have any big time new recruits coming in to help either, and turned them into a 25-5 team. That is a stellar job.

Player of the Year to Deonte Burton is a tough one to swallow for Wendell McKines, but when a team wins the league by three games, chances are their best player will be named Player of the Year. The only exception to that in recent years was in 2010 when Luke Babbitt's numbers were so far superior to anyone on USU's team that the award had to go to him.

While McKines has the better numbers than Burton, it's not a big enough gap to offset the three wins in the standings, which is the statistic that matters most.


As rough of a start to the season as Brockeith Pane had, his play has steadily gotten better throughout the year. He fell a long way from being a candidate for Player of the Year, but I believe he was still deserving of the honorable mention honors he got.

Kyisean Reed landed on the all-newcomer team too, which it's hard to argue against. Had he been able to take over games more consistently, he might have found himself in the discussion for honorable mention too, but that could serve as one more goal for the future.

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