Hopson earns first team all-WAC honors
Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations
          Release: 03/08/2009
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DENVER Junior guard Mac Hopson earned first team all-Western Athletic Conference and all-Newcomer team honors as the 2008-09 WAC men’s basketball postseason award winners were announced today as selected by the league’s nine head coaches.

 

Hopson is Idaho’s second all-WAC selection and the first honored as a first team all-conference selection since Gordon Scott during the 1999-2000 season in the Big West. He is the second-straight Vandal to earn all-Newcomer honors as Jordan Brooks earned the award last season.

 

“We all are very excited for Mac Hopson,” Idaho coach Don Verlin said. “He is very deserving of the honors after having an unbelievable season. He was a key member of our team and played an important role in the success we earned throughout the WAC season.”

 

Hopson helped Idaho to a third-place finish by averaging 16.8 points, 5.7 assists, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.9 steals in 16 WAC contests. The junior ranked first in the conference for steals and assists, fourth for assist/turnover ratio (1.9), and sixth for points. He shot 43-percent from the floor and 44-percent from beyond the arc and earned WAC Player of the Week honors once during the conference season.

 

The first team is led by Utah State senior forward Gary Wilkinson who also was voted the WAC's Player of the Year. Wilkinson is the second-straight Aggie to earn Player of the Year honors as USU's Jaycee Carroll earned the award last season. Wilkinson led Utah State in both scoring and rebounding, averaging 17.4 points and 6.2 rebounds per game in WAC play. The senior led USU to its second-straight WAC regular season crown. Nevada's Luke Babbitt and Armon Johnson, Idaho's Mac Hopson and New Mexico State's Jahmar Young were also first team selections.

 

Wilkinson was the only repeat all-WAC honoree from last season. Wilkinson earned second team all-WAC honors last year.

 

The all-WAC second-teamers this year were Boise State's Mark Sanchez, Fresno State's Sylvester Seay, Hawai'i's Roderick Flemings, Louisiana Tech's Kyle Gibson and Utah State's Jared Quayle. All five are new to the all-WAC team this season.

 

Nevada forward Luke Babbitt became the second-straight Wolf Pack player to earn the WAC's Freshman of the Year award. In 16 conference games, Babbitt averaged 17.3 points per contest and 7.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 46.6 percent from the field.

 

Utah State head coach Stew Morrill earned his first Don Haskins Coach of the Year honor by leading the Aggies to a second-straight regular season WAC title. In his 11th year with Utah State, Morrill led the Aggies to a 14-2 conference record.  He also led his Aggies to a second-straight undefeated season at home, where the team holds the nation's second-best home win streak at 34 games.

 

Those named to the WAC's all-defensive team were Boise State's Ike Okoye and Anthony Thomas, Hawai'i's Kareem Nitoto, Louisiana Tech's Magnum Rolle and Nevada's Lyndale Burleseon.

 

Selected to the WAC's all-newcomer team were Hawai'i's Flemings, Idaho's Hopson, Louisiana Tech's Rolle, Nevada's Babbitt and Utah State's Quayle.

 

The 2009 WAC Tournament will be held March 10-14, at the Lawlor Events Center in Reno, Nev. The men's teams will compete March 10, 12-14. ESPNU will carry two men's quarterfinal games, including the noon and 2:30 p.m. PT games on Thursday, March 12. ESPN2 will show the men's semifinal game on Friday, March 13 at 9:00 p.m. (PT) and the men's championship game on Saturday, March 14 at 7:00 p.m. PT. All of the games not televised by ESPN will be available on WAC.tv.

 

 

2008-09 WAC Men's Basketball Postseason Award Winners

 

All-Conference First Team

Mac Hopson, Idaho, G, 6-2, 195, Jr., Portland, Ore. (Washington State)

Luke Babbitt, Nevada, F, 6-9, 225, Fr., Reno, Nev. (Galena HS)

Armon Johnson, Nevada, G, 6-3, 195, So., Reno, Nev (Hug HS)

Jahmar Young, New Mexico State, G, 6-5, 180, So., Baltimore, Md. (Laurinberg Prep)

Gary Wilkinson, Utah State, F, 6-9, 240, Sr., South Jordan, Utah (Salt Lake CC)

 

All-Conference Second Team

Mark Sanchez, Boise State, F, 6-7, 235, Sr., Tucson, Ariz. (Pima CC)

Sylvester Seay, Fresno State, Fr, 6-9, 220, Jr., San Bernardino, Calif. (Arizona State)

Roderick Flemings, Hawai'i, F, 6-7, 210, Jr., Dallas, Texas (Weatherford College)

Kyle Gibson, Louisiana Tech, G, 6-5, 205, Jr., Los Angeles, Calif. (Dorsey HS)

Jared Quayle, Utah State, G, 6-1, 180, Jr., Perry, Utah (Western Wyoming CC)

 

All-Defensive Team

Ike Okoye, Boise State, F, 6-9, 230, Jr., Sacramento, Calif. (Wyoming)

Anthony Thomas, Boise State, G, 6-0, 199, Jr., Masnfield, Texas (Mansfield Summitt HS)

Kareem Nitoto, Hawai'i, G, 6-2, 185, So., Berkley, Calif. (San Leandro HS)

Magnum Rolle, Louisiana Tech, C/F, 6-11, 220, Jr., Freeport, Bahamas (LSU)

Lyndale Burleson, Nevada, G, 6-3, 190, Sr., Seattle, Wash. (Franklin HS)

 

All-Newcomer Team

Roderick Flemings, Hawai'i, F, 6-7, 210, Jr., Dallas, Texas (Weatherford College)

Mac Hopson, Idaho, G, 6-2, 195, Jr., Portland, Ore. (Washington State)

Magnum Rolle, Louisiana Tech, C/F, 6-11, 220, Jr., Freeport, Bahamas (LSU)

Luke Babbitt, Nevada, F, 6-9, 225, Fr., Reno, Nev. (Galena HS)

Jared Quayle, Utah State, G, 6-1, 180, Jr., Perry, Utah (Western Wyoming CC)

 

Player of the Year: Gary Wilkinson, Utah State

Freshman of the Year: Luke Babbitt, Nevada

Don Haskins Coach of the Year: Stew Morrill, Utah State

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